In-store events let you leverage retail expertise as marketing muscle. Few people likely know your niche as well as you. And an event draws people into your store, so your expertise can keep them coming back. You can host:
- an arranging lesson at a flower shop
- a parenting class at a toy store
- a poetry jam at a coffee shop
- a remote-control-car race at an electronics store
- an obedience class at a pet store
- a sewing lesson at a fabric store
- a motivational speech at an office-supply store
- a signing at a book store
- a wine-tasting party at a liquor store
- anything else your imagination delivers.
Because the benefits of in-store events are immediate and sometimes long lasting, you should host them often as you can. And you should do so for these five reasons.
#1 New People
By hosting events, you attract customers outside your normal reach. People who remain untempted by conventional marketing often find the allure of special events irresistible. Then again, they might just be unaware of your store, of their interest in your products or of how far they'd drive to get good service. Whatever their reason for not coming previously, however, you can persuade them to become regular customers.
#2 New Advertising Channels
In-store events give you access to new forms of advertisement. Most cities have an about-town or local-happenings section in the paper, and larger cities and college towns have independent publications that similarly publish events. These media not only advertise for you but do so for free. Surely you can use free advertising.
#3 Customer Loyalty
In-store events make existing customers feel appreciated. Since you can market to existing customers more effectively than new ones, you should spend some of your time and energy on the customers you already have. And an event demonstrates your appreciation like nothing else, keeping your customers loyal. Stop serving customers and start building relationships.
#4 Increased Sales
The day of the event will likely result in an increase in sales. First, people come to your store when they otherwise wouldn't. Second, people act less guarded at an event, so they usually buy products impulsively. Third, some people may even feel obliged to purchase something since they attended for free.
#5 Direct Interaction
You can exploit your unique skill set at an in-store event. Who's more excited and knowledgeable about your business than you? Now you can make that knowledge work, using the extra time you have with your customers to interact meaningfully with them. You may just notice new interests those customers have with other products you sell, and when you mention those products, you'll be helping not selling.
Retailers have hosted in-store events since the beginning of retail. An event not only provides a bump in sales but also creates real connections with the people coming into your store. At events, your hard won expertise in retail pays marketing dividends, and marketing makes more sales -- both now and later. Surely you can use some of those.Tweet