5 ways to entice customers to spend their tax rebate check at your small business

The news is full of stories talking about the things businesses are doing to try and get their paws on your U.S. Federal tax rebate check.

Wal-Mart is cashing the Federal tax rebate checks for free, making it easy to spend the money in their store.

five dollars photo credit: skippy13

Kroger, Sears and others are enticing consumers to sign checks over to them, offering a 10% bonus on the face value of the check to do so. Sears shoppers get the bonus when they convert the check into a Sears or K-Mart gift card.

So how do you compete with that?

Here are 5 ways to compete with big box retailers who want to keep your clients’ tax rebate check all to themselves.

  • Have a special tax rebate shopping event. Perhaps once a month from May through the summer until most people have their checks. Really want to push it? Make the ticket to gain entry to event be the check itself.
  • Offer a big box retail type discount, but ONLY for purchases made with the tax check. You’ll note that I don’t talk much about discounts here, but this is a special circumstance, not a weekly habit.
  • Position the purchase as an investment. For example, if you own a home improvement or hardware store, using the tax rebate check as an investment in energy efficiency for your home is a good play. You might even combine this with the tax rebate shopping event, call in some manufacturer’s reps and make it a big deal.
  • Focus on the transaction size. The checks are in various amounts, typically increments of $300. You can assemble a $300 catalog, a $600 catalog, and a $1200 catalog, for example. If you have information on family sizes, mail a “tax rebate gift catalog” of the appropriate price level to families of each size. People who get a $300 check in the mail aren’t going to be looking for “What costs $125?” Instead, they’ll be looking at what they can get for $300. Think about it. You do the same thing when you get a gift card as a present.
  • Offer to cash the tax check – yes, it’s a simple, obvious ploy to get them into your store. Big retail wouldn’t be doing it again if it didn’t work back in 2003. Note that at times your bank will downgrade your account if they find out you are cashing consumer checks (ie: like a pawn shop or money store), so be sure to consult them and make sure they understand it’s a one time deal).
  • In your marketing for the 5 items above, encourage consumers to spend the check locally – even if it isn’t in your store. Economic stimulus, the alleged reason for the checks, is going to be far more impactful when spent locally, rather than at a big box retailer. You could even put together some co-op advertising with the other local stores in your area – and even in your market niche.

Yeah, that’s 6 strategies, I figured you deserved a bonus. And I’ll be happy to cash your tax rebate check:)

What others are saying about the rebate:

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