Has your shop tried offering grab bags? They can be a great way to get rid of odds and ends of merchandise, and to offer customers a fun experience. The AI feature in Constant Contact (not a bad place to look for promotional inspiration) describes mystery gifts as “a surprise party in a bag.”

The key to making the customer’s experience in opening a grab bag a positive one is to make sure every one is a good value. Price them at an impulse level – for example $9.95 – and include at least double that amount of merchandise at normal retail. If your store carries a variety of goods, label the bags with any special sizes, age, gender or interest information that will make it more likely that the person buying one will love what they receive. And why not tuck a chocolate or other treat into each one as a bonus?

Offering several different items in each bag makes it more likely that the shopper will like at least one thing. If you have bags of different sizes, picking one out can be a game in itself. Just as with a white elephant gift exchange, it usually becomes obvious that a larger package doesn’t necessarily mean a better value. 

Don’t use grab bags as a way to get rid of defective or shop-worn items. It’s important to let customers know that they’ll be getting full value merchandise, either new arrivals or from current stock. If you are able to get closeouts or samples from some of your vendors, you can make money on grab bags. But even if they are loss leaders for you, the mystery makes it an engaging activity that can add some excitement to special events or sales in your store.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder