5 Ideas for Getting Consumers to Spend Their Tax Return Dollars at Your Business

Who doesn’t love a shopping spree, courtesy of Uncle Sam?
Increase foot traffic to your store on April 18th with a Tax Day sale. (Photo: ravipat/Shutterstock)

According to the IRS, the average taxpayer will bring home a refund of more than $3,000 this year — which is good news for small businesses if you play your cards right.

While paying taxes may not be the most enjoyable of activities, doing a little splurging with your return certainly can be. Leveraging Tax Day in your marketing and promotions can be a great way to get in on the action and benefit from a consumer’s spending spree. Here are five ideas for getting your cut of your customers’ tax returns.

Related: The Best Celebrity Quotes About Tax Day

Tap into springtime optimism


“People often are made to feel guilty by their peers for spending their tax return on something nice rather than ‘being smart’ with the money and investing it or saving it.” -Ali Mirza (Photo: Ali Mirza)

As the drudgery of the winter months begins to fade, more customers are out, about and feeling good about life. Because optimism has a huge impact on consumer spending habits, consider ways you can tap into the good feelings brought by springtime into your Tax Day marketing.

One way to tap into consumer confidence is by telling customers they’ve earned it, said Ali Mirza, president of sales training firm Rose Garden Consulting. “People often are made to feel guilty by their peers for spending their tax return on something nice rather than ‘being smart’ with the money and investing it or saving it.” Sometimes the tiny bit of validation from telling a customer that they’ve earned it can be the push they need to complete a purchase.

Have a Tax Day sale

You can also try to increase foot traffic to your establishment by having a sale on Tax Day (which is April 18 this year, in case you forgot). Giving consumers a deal they can’t refuse when they have the funds available is a great recipe for more sales.

Here are a few Tax Day tie-ins for your promotions:

  • Offer “tax free” purchases by giving a discount equal to your state’s sales tax rate.
  • Incorporate “1040” in your promotional pricing. For instance, restaurants and bars can offer drink and entree specials for $10.40.
  • Just like Pi Day, you can also leverage the date itself. Use $4.18 for pricing, or maybe do a “four for $18” special.

Bryan Trill of Optimized Marketing suggested taking consumer psychology into account when planning your Tax Day promotion. “Try to build on our preference for consistency in our actions,” he said. “For tax season, remind people they have been saving all year to get a tax return so they can continue saving even more with your refund special. They will then want to remain consistent in their actions of saving to get a refund and saving by taking advantage of your sale.”

Focus on big-ticket items

According to the National Retail Federation, nearly 10 percent of consumers plan to spend their tax returns on a major purchase. Big ticket items, like a television or a car, are often put off until the buyer has extra cash on hand. Focusing your deals on items with a higher price tag, mentioning the refund and highlighting the extra value is a great way to play to this spending trend.

Emphasize long-term value


While customers are in a money-saving mindset, make sure to point out the long-term value of your products to boost sales. (Photo: Nattapol Sritongcom/Shutterstock)

The same NRF survey said half of all consumers plan to save at least a portion of their tax return dollars, so remember that saving money and making wise investments is on your customer’s mind. While at first this may seem to point consumers away from making a purchase, you can still leverage this savings mindset by emphasizing the long-term value of a purchase.

For instance, if you offer a product or service that provides lasting benefits, such as something that will increase the value of their home or assist with their long-term financial goals, focusing your tax-time promotions around this can make consumers feel better about spending some of that money they were planning to set aside.

Offer to relieve some of the tax-season stress

Tax season can be … well, taxing. Service providers such as salons and spas can also leverage Tax Day by offering “de-stress” packages, such as a free yoga session, pedicure or mini-massage during tax week. This can be a great way to bring in new business to your store and can give existing customers an excuse to come in. With a little extra cash in their pockets, consumers will be more likely to come in and treat themselves — and give you a cut of their returns.

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