I’m not sure if it good news or bad news that Forbes reported last year that nearly 40% of moms said they were planning to get their own Mother’s Day gift. They also noted that sales were expected to total $31.7 billion – so it’s clearly a holiday worth paying attention to. This is especially true in a time when the economy may not be doing as well as you’d hoped.

So many different products can make a good gift for Mother’s Day.  Even if you don’t sell clothing, jewelry or beauty products (the top choices in the Forbes article), you probably have other items that women like.  Display some of your top choices together with samples of gift wrapped packages to stir your customers’ interest.  Remember, the fact that you box and even wrap gifts is one of the things that sets your independent shop apart from your big box and online competition.

If many of your shoppers are women, then you know that a gift card to your store would be well received. Plan now to offer special gift card packaging for the occasion. Set up a sample boxed with a big bow and an artificial tulip, a packet of seeds, or a chocolate truffle to make it look really special.  Statistics show that a certain percentage of gift cards are never spent, so it’s easy to justify this extra expense. But of course you hope it will be redeemed, because gift cards are a great way to bring in new customers.

Having greeting cards and gift enclosures available makes the shopping experience in your store even better. Keep in mind that many of the purchases on Mother’s Day are for grandmothers, stepmothers, and mothers-in-law.  We always try to stock some cards appropriate for acknowledging the importance of these special categories, although lately they’ve been harder to find. 

In promoting your Mother’s Day gifts in social media and email blasts, you might suggest some of your top gift ideas as inspiration.  Offering a promotion to bring in traffic is a good idea – we recently purchased a large quantity of imported soaps on closeout that we’ll offer for free to anyone making a purchase.  

If you’re in a shopping district, perhaps you can cooperate with another business to offer their gift card together with a product from your shop.  People love bundled gifts, but often don’t have time to put one together themselves.  Experiences are popular gifts – could you offer a gift card for pizza delivery together with cute plates and napkins, or pet grooming service with a Dog Mom mug?

This year Mother’s Day is May 7, so it’s time to start planning! Be sure to remind your customers that shopping local for mom and grandma also helps your community, and that’s a gift in itself.

Happy retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder