Spring, which began last month, allows retailers to expand their merchandising efforts well beyond their sales floor and window displays. As the days grow longer and warmer, businesses can take their products outside to draw customers in.  

Roadside attractions have been popular for as long as there have been automobiles. Lucy the Elephant, a six-story-tall pachyderm, was built on the Jersey Shore in 1881 to promote tourism and South Jersey real estate.  

Retailers don’t need to go to such great lengths, or heights, to attract shoppers, but some do. Beisswenger’s Hardware in New Brighton, Minnesota features a replica of a brontosaurus that attracts more attention than any business sign.  

Children who spot the dinosaur often badger their parents to visit the business. Many retailers create landmarks to distinguish their businesses from competitors. M Kay Supply in Benton, Missouri worked a 1952 Ford flatbed into its road sign 

Take the inside outside. Spring and summer are the perfect seasons to take items outside. For businesses that sell any kind of outdoor living items, creating outdoor rooms allows them to market almost anything. Potted plants, patio and deck furniture, grills and smokers, cooking utensils and appliances, and almost anything that can be used to serve food can be displayed outdoors. Building materials businesses can include pavers, decking materials, outdoor lighting, and more in their displays.  

Cross pollinateHoward’s Hardware Hank in Arcadia, Wisconsin uses its relationship with a local landscaping contractor to create outdoor planting and backyard displays. Businesses that sell grills and smokers or any kind of cooking appliances or utensils can enlist local chefs to demonstrate those products on weekends by cooking up some scrumptious fare which adds smell and taste to outdoor attractions. 

Brian Bullock

Writer