8 Last-Minute Memorial Day Marketing Ideas for Retailers

Memorial Day is around the corner! For most of us, it’s an excuse to light up the grill and sit in the sun. But in the world of retail, there is never any rest for the weary. In fact, holidays are a time to work especially hard to take advantage of the spike in shopping.

While Memorial Day is no Black Friday, it’s still a busy holiday with plenty of people out and about. That means it’s once again time to get your name out there and grow your sales. And on the heels of large-scale closures across the country, the holiday is even more important for small businesses.

Use the holiday to get back on your shoppers’ radars and kick-start your summer season. Check out these Memorial Day marketing ideas to help improve your business.

memorial day marking infographic

1. Offer Discounts for Active Military and Veterans

Most people think about Memorial Day as the gateway to summer. However, the real purpose behind the holiday is to celebrate those who have died in uniform. Originally created after the Civil War, Memorial Day has long been one of the country’s most important holidays.

Honor veterans who have passed on by showing gratitude to active and veteran military members. You can make it as simple as offering a flat discount to all members and their families.

Or you might also think about specific products to give away as gifts. Whatever you decide on, make it simple and valuable. It will get people excited about your store and generate future business.

2. Set Up Some Memorial Day Promotions

Try to entice your shoppers with sweet discount deals. Three out of every four Memorial Day shoppers will be searching specifically for sales. Think about what would want to make previous customers return, and new customers come to check you out.

Consider looking at your previous sales data to see what was popular on past Memorial Day weekends. Getting a clear picture of what kinds of products shoppers want around the beginning of summer can help power your promotions with greater effectiveness.

Remember that Memorial Day is a celebration! Incorporate that aspect into your campaigns, copy, and graphics.

a memorial day marketing promo ad example from Winc showing a bottle of rosé wine, a pool, and other summery images

The holiday weekend is a great opportunity to release new products, especially if they’re summer-related. Not all retailers sell merchandise that can be deemed seasonal, but there are ways to make it relate at least tangentially. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Apparel stores can highlight a themed, put-together outfit
  • Sporting goods retailers can promote summer sporting items
  • Water parks and amusement parks can offer holiday discounts
  • Bike shops might pick a few clothing items or gear to put on sale
  • Bookstores can put together a catalog of the best beach reading
  • Coffee shops and bakeries can make Memorial Day-themed pastries or iced and frozen drinks

Any retailer can find items that are suitable to introduce or promote for the holiday. And decorating can actually be fairly straightforward. Add red, white, and blue decor around the floor and the outdoor storefront area. Figure out what is best for your store and continue adjusting from there.

4. Host a Contest for Kids

Memorial Day is typically a day spent with family, so it’s a great idea to gear part of your holiday marketing plan toward kids. If you get the kids excited about coming, their parents won’t have much of a choice.

Contests are a great way to interact with kids and get them pumped about visiting your store. Bean bag tosses, coloring competitions, water balloon fights, and pie-eating contests are all great options for your store! Creating a community-driven, fun, energetic buzz around your store is the perfect way to go about memorial day marketing.

a memorial day barbecue with neighbors drinking beer and grilling together

5. Join a Barbecue or Other Outdoor Event

As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day is a holiday best celebrated outdoors. It’s an extra day off for adults. And for most of the country, it’s the first week off of school for students.

If possible, start your own event. Think about neighboring businesses that might want to collaborate on something. Hosting an event becomes a lot less stressful and expensive when you have some assistance. Joining others with cross-promotions allows you to cut costs and delegate tasks to make it a smoother event.

Most towns also organize city-wide events that businesses can participate in as sponsors. These are always worth participating in. They often draw large crowds and business participation shows a commitment to the community.

Come up with an attraction, contest, or gimmick to set your booth apart and draw big crowds. Get people talking about your business and what you have to offer. Word-of-mouth marketing can be highly effective.

6. Do Spring Cleaning on Your Website and Social Media Pages

Use Memorial Day as a benchmark for taking care of some longer-term tasks. For example, many small businesses forget about basic website and social media maintenance.

Start by evaluating your website to check for any dead pages, bugs, or other basic issues. Spend some time revamping tired-looking pages, and add some new content.

If you have an eCommerce store check out your product pages and payment portal to make sure there are no errors. Consider making some changes to the checkout process to make it faster and easier. Many people abandon online carts when the payment process is too complicated.

Finally, spruce up your social media pages. Add some Memorial Day-related content and freshen up your pages to entice new engagement from your audience. Get new followers to your social by incentivizing likes and shares at other Memorial Day events. Offer free prizes at a community event for those that like your Facebook page or leave a positive Yelp review.

7. Use Memorial Day As a Topic for an Email Marketing Campaign

Similarly, use the holiday as an excuse to start up your email marketing again. Send out a last-minute Memorial Day marketing email to your subscribers with promotions, events, or contests.

Rarely does an email marketing campaign hurt your business. And, in fact, this marketing outlet is proven to have one of the strongest returns on investment.

So it’s always worth a try. If you need to build up your user base, consider various customer relationship management (CRM) tools. These will assist your business in growing its marketing audience.

8. Create a Time-Sensitive One-Day Deal

Last-minute, time-sensitive deals create a unique sense of urgency among consumers. The key is to make it too good to pass up. Advertise the deal through your email marketing, social media, and on-site signage.

A flash sale that lasts only one day indicates that you have a product that is going fast. Customers are more likely to add value to these products in their purchase assessment.

Memorial Day Marketing Ideas with KORONA Retail POS

Did you know your retail point of sale system can actually help with your marketing efforts? Your POS can manage your loyalty program and CRM to help you keep customers happy and coming back often.

Advanced inventory management and product analysis can help you manage your pricing and promotions. Detailed reports and sales metrics allow you to monitor progress and ensure that any promotions are productive for your retail store. Check out KORONA’s point of sale solution to learn more and set up a free trial so you can see for yourself!

Don’t forget to check out our other seasonal/holiday marketing guides below:

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About the Author

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Michael Chalberg

Michael has long focused his writing on the world of retail and small businesses. He''s been a part of the KORONA POS team since 2018 and loves helping entrepreneurs find ways to adapt and succeed. In his spare time, you'll likely find him hiking somewhere in the Southwest.

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