A couple months ago I saw an article from Reuters saying Kmart was planning to bring back the Bluelight Special. Personally, I this is smart move. There are solid strategic reasons for dusting off this promotion from the retro era of retail marketing and updating for the modern social media age. As a matter of fact I think it could be even more popular in this new incarnation than it ever was during the 70s and 80s (or back in 1965 when it was originally created).
…and it’s not just because they have a cool light bulb-shaped mascot.
Social Media Marketing Ideas for Integrating Kmart’s Bluelight Special
I don’t personally know if Kmart is going to implement any or all the strategies of ideas listed below, but even getting one or two right could make a huge positive impact for this once legendary and now faltering retailer.
- While shoppers price-check and coupon cut, the Bluelight Special is a wild card. You have to be in the store to take advantage of the deal. The original BLS were only good for 15-minutes. I think they should apply the same time frame for its new relaunch.
- The number one reason people still subscribe to the home delivery of a newspaper remains the shopping inserts. If I were Kmart I’d include a “stunt” ad in the Sunday paper that was just a Bluelight Special ad featuring no specific items on sale — letting readers know virtually anything could be up for promotion.
- Launch with deals so ridiculously good that people want to tell the story. Kmart controls the inventory, the special pricing, and the duration of the pricing. Who says they couldn’t do a dramatic price reduction on a super popular product for just 5 to 10 minutes? Running a series of these could easily turn into a “you had to be there” moment. Think “must see TV” for retail shopping.
- A BLS Twitter account or mobile texting campaign could provide a virtual experience by allowing similar deals for merchandise on the website. This might even be a reason for the retailer to experiment with SnapChat.
- Keep an archive of past BLS on a Pinterest board. List the normal retail price along with what the discounted price was on the specific date and time. You may even get some hardcore price shoppers trying to predict when the next really awesome special will happen.
- Allow social followers to suggest brands and products they’d like to see featured during a BLS. Promise to “hold one” at a local store location for anyone whose suggestion is used for a BLS.
- Develop a theme for BLS and only feature items that relate to an overarching theme. They could promote the theme (like Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Back To School, etc.) or turn it into a contest by having people follow and track the BYS items in order to guess what the them might be. Have people submit their answers online and give a limited number of winners who guess the correct them one each of all the items featured. One source for secret themes would be to choose from trending topics in social media, or pick suggestions made by social media followers.
- Create an email BYS insiders club to refresh segment the Kmart marketing database and give these members a peek into what they’ll be featuring on a certain day or time- but only a peek! Let them know a product, but not the time, date or discount. Give them a category and a date, but not the time. Provide a specific item and discount, but not the date or time. Etc., etc. Use this tactic to get members engaged and sharing their “insider knowledge” to their own social followers.
These are just a handful of concepts Kmart could use to help integrate and Bluelight Specials for the social media age. If you’re from Kmart (or know a store manager or marketing executive who works at Kmart) and would like to bounce around a few more ideas — connect with me and let’s brainstorm!