Military surplus store marketing tip checklist

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military surplus promotional ideas

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Military surplus stores are always trendy. Reliable and well-made clothing, equipment and tools are perennially useful, and you can’t go wrong with classic military style. Whether you’re selling high quality military issue hats, shirts, pants or even Jeeps, you’ll need to do a little marketing to get word out there about your surplus store.

Follow the promotional tips on this checklist and watch old and new customers flock back to your shop!

  • Know your audience

Military surplus stores tend to draw the same crowds. Military enthusiasts, collectors, flea market shoppers looking for a deal and paintball players are just a few of the demographics that surplus stores usually court. Take out print ads in niche magazines, advertise online and start a website and blog to help draw attention to your store. Garner favorable Yelp reviews, and don’t forget word-of-mouth. When your customers travel in the same circles, they’ll pass on the good word.

  • Reach outside your usual demographic

That being said, military surplus stores sell more than just range gear, flare guns and military collectibles. In fact, military athletic wear, jackets, tees and even footwear are all top quality and often sold for a premium price. Sturdy rucksacks, reliable tool sets and even decorative items – like vintage maps and flags – are all useful to a broad range of folks. Don’t create an insular environment – reach out to passersby and make your surplus store a welcoming shop anyone would feel comfortable stopping in.

  • Advertise your broad selection

The best way to win over a range of customers is through advertising how broad your selection actually is, from canteens and flashlights to military-grade storage containers. Why not list top selling items on the side of promotional tote bags you hand out to loyal customers? Or you can create an inventory on your website, then spread the URL using custom pens with your store name, address and site printed on them.

  • Hold special sales

No one can turn down a premium sale. Let the public know there’s an event going on by designing some premium promotional banners. If you really want to draw crowds, offer fun bonuses to purchasing customers, such as store lanyards or those special custom tote bags advertising your shop.

  • Keep customers coming back

Promotional products can help a store retain a core group of loyal customers while also building a reputation. If customers keep coming back, they’ll also continue to bring friends or tell others about the great sales and special promotional giveaways you host. When you make customers feel wanted, they’ll be sure to return the favor.

  • Be charitable

Many military surplus stores get their goods wholesale from the Army, Navy, Marine Corp, Coast Guard or Air Force. One way to win yourself a good reputation is by giving back a bit. Start a charitable donation collection in your shop, or use the premises for a charity fundraiser. There are a number of military charity organizations you can choose from, and the press you receive will be great for business.

This checklist of marketing strategies is a solid jumping​-off point for your business. If you stick to your guns and develop a solid customer base, you’ll find you have the resources to expand your marketing even further. Strategically used promotional products can help you get there.

Make your military surplus store a hit inside and outside your usual demographic with the right promotional products, including advertising tote bags and large custom banners. Check out InkHead’s top 100 bestselling products for more ideas.
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