Warm weather brings a spirit of adventure and freedom. It’s a time for outdoor activities, relaxation, and travel. And just like every seasonal shift, summer comes with its own shopping list. Help your store stand out as a summertime destination with these promotional ideas.

Set up (pop-up) shop

Have a collection of seasonal items that aren’t getting the attention they deserve? A themed pop-up store can shine some light on summertime specials. You can even make it mobile, relocating to different high traffic areas and events throughout the summer.

Pop-ups are especially great for retailers with large online followings that might not have much of a physical presence. For example, online pet company Bark & Co. set up a week-long pop-up event in Manhattan to let dogs do their own shopping. If you need inspiration for what your space should look like, check out these fun examples.

Install in-store displays

If a pop-up shop isn’t your style, you can give summer products their own section of your brick-and-mortar store. In a bookshop, this might be a staff-curated collection of poolside reads. A sports outlet might highlight gear for summer activities like camping and soccer. Supermarkets can spotlight picnic, barbeque, and cool-down food and drink items. And don’t forget to take full advantage of window space!

Take it to the streets

Summer is the perfect time for sidewalk sales and other outdoor promotions. The longer days and sunny weather prompt more potential customers to pass by your door. And an exciting outdoor display is a great way to draw in passersby.

If you share the neighborhood with a variety of other businesses, you might also consider organizing or participating in a street fair. With food, shopping, and entertainment all in one place, you can appeal to new customers while also providing a fun, memorable experience.

Educate with classes and workshops

Warm weather inspires everyone to be more active, whether it’s adopting a workout routine or tackling chores like gardening and cleaning.

You can promote physical activities that relate to your products, like active apparel company Lululemon does through its Sweat with Us events. If you’re selling grocery items, you might bring in a chef to teach seasonal recipes. And parents will welcome activities that keep kids busy while school’s out, such as Lowe’s Build and Grow events.

Release new products

There’s something about the seasonal shift that sends shoppers seeking out the latest trends, making it the perfect time to launch new merchandise.

It’s also a good opportunity to offer trials, samples, and informational sessions to gauge interest and gather feedback about items before stocking the shelves. And you may not need to come up with a whole new product — simply trying out new flavors or styles could be enough to spark a summer sensation. For some inspiration, check out how Starbucks switches up its menu for the season or IKEA’s embrace of summer patterns and colors.  

Plan giveaways

Shoppers love the opportunity to earn prizes. But giveaways have a lot of benefits for your retail business, too. You can boost sales and customer engagement by offering entries for in-store and online actions — such as purchases, use of coupons and special offers, social media interactions, and newsletter signups.

You can also host contests and competitions. Choose an event that relates to your products and let customers come in for a challenge — you can schedule regular game nights like Barnes and Noble to bring customers to the store for some healthy competition. If you want to get your online shoppers involved, ask them to share their summer in the form of photos and videos, like sporting goods store Orvis does with its Cover Dog Photo Contest.

Summertime tends to be more easygoing than busier seasons like the holidays. So, whatever promotions you choose, it’s an opportune time to experiment with new strategies and connect with customers in creative ways.

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