The Spring Racing Carnival is the social event of the season and it’s coming up quick. The race that stops the nation, as it’s often referred as, certainly empties our pockets too. However, most people don’t consider the wider economic impact of the carnival outside of their own expenses on outfits, food, drinks, tickets, and, of course, bets.The Melbourne Cup Carnival across the years has been known to be responsible for up to $364 million in gross economic benefit to the Victorian economy. In 2013, $53.1 million of the expenditure in Victoria was in the retail sector alone. One year’s events saw the purchase of more than 62,000 hats and fascinators, 60,000 pairs of shoes, 50,000 dresses, 30,000 items of jewellery, 27,000 ties, 21,000 handbags, 18,000 suits, 17,000 items of underwear, 14,000 shirts and 11,000 pairs of sunglasses.That’s just the spending in Victoria, not counting the thousands of guests from across the nation that flock to Melbourne, having made their racewear purchases at home already. This is a crucial time for fashion retailers to promote their products and get in touch with their customers, because now is the time they’re spending. So here are a few tips to help fashion retailers drive sales around the Spring Carnival: Use SMS to follow up detailed emailsEmails are great because they offer a lot of possibilities in terms of what content you can send out. You can include a brochure with images of racewear items and accessories available for purchase. This sends customers straight to your website or into your stores with an idea of what they want to buy already. The only problem with this is that there’s a high chance customers won’t ever see it, because emails only have an average open rate of 22%. However, SMS has a 98% open rate. So, it’s smart to follow emails with a text message, letting your customers know there is some juicy content waiting for them in their inbox. Use SMS to drive foot traffic Text messaging is as close to instant contact as you can hope for because 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes. Therefore you know that when you send the message, 90% of people will read it at the time you want them to. For this reason, you can target your messages to go out when people are most likely to be out shopping already, on Saturday morning for instance. That way you can encourage them into your stores at a convenient time for them. Use SMS to make sure you’re fully staffed at peak hours There couldn’t be anything more restricting to you during a peak selling time as insufficient staff. Use SMS as a rostering solution, to make sure you’ve got plenty of staff members where they need to be to make sure those sales go through smoothly. It’s also great in case anyone was to call in sick or cancel a shift, you can swiftly contact your entire staff database offering the shift. The quickest staff member to reply gets a confirmation SMS and heads in store as soon as possible. Use SMS to advertise extended hoursIf your business is staying open late around this busy time to help facilitate shopping for customers with busy working hours, then you’ll want to let them know this. A lot of race goers won’t want to spend their weekends in busy stores, searching for the right outfit in a rush to get on with the rest of their weekend plans. Staying open late will allow customers to pop in after work and not interrupt their schedule. Obviously, they’ll need to know you’re open though, so send out a text message with the details of extended opening hours to your customer database for their convenience. Send special codes out to test different send times and measure successThis is a great time to learn what campaigns work best for you. Sending out special codes offering discounts to customers at different times, and keeping track of the uptake, will help you to learn what time, or other variable, is best to engage your customers. This will help you optimise your marketing strategy for Christmas and well into the future.Of course, there’s plenty more you can do to optimise the Spring Carnival spend-a-thon for your fashion business. If you’d like to talk more about marketing and communication strategies for racing season, call us today on 1330 764 946.