Heavy competition in the retail market means retail managers have to continually get creative to draw in customers and boost sales. Whether you're targeting customers or employees, contests are fun, creative ways to increase your profits. The more creative and original you get with your contests, the more likely you are to attract participation. So, don't be afraid to push the limits by combining contest ideas or adding a new twist to a classic contest.
Raise the stakes for employees who sell products by offering a prize to the winner or winners who complete a certain goal. For instance, Realtor.org (the website for Realtor Magazine) advocates an "everybody wins" situation, in which a contest is made for every department. If the stocking team unloads so many boxes, the floor employees greet so many customers and the register operators make so many impulse sales, each group is rewarded. RetailContrarian.com offers a similar idea with "Holiday Squares," a game played during the holidays involving a board that features different products; the first employee (or all employees) who sells a product from each square wins a prize. No matter which type of game you choose, you're rewarding your employees for doing better work and getting more results, which means they're more likely to make those good results a reality.
Instead of relay races, have your employees run retail races. Realtor.org offers one fast-paced selling idea--the first person each day to complete a goal gets a prize. This also works well for retail. If you know you're going to have a busy shopping day--for instance, Black Friday--offer a prize to the first person who can make an up sale. Realtor.org's contest ran for a month. If you do this, you'll increase competition and employee motivation.
In Realtor.org's list of 10 contest ideas for realtors, several included teams, and one included popping balloons. In a retail environment, team work is a great way to get everyone involved in a contest. It can also reinforce the idea that the sales team is really just that--a team. Contests that unite workers into several teams--or one large team pitted against another store--can leave your employees feeling a sense of camaraderie and pride, especially if they win. These games also involve strategy, which is a characteristic that a good salesperson always wants to develop. Paired with team work, surprises--like popping a balloon to get a prize--can motivate workers to get excited about their jobs.
While contests for employees may help workers sell to the people who walk into your retail store, getting customers in the door is a battle on its own. A way to win that battle is through contests for shoppers. Have customers pop balloons to see if they win free gift cards or valuable coupons. Or, you can bring in a spinning wheel with the same options. You can also encourage the community to come in by sponsoring a fashion contest, talent show or art contest on your premises.