Physical retail experiences have always been – and will continue to be – about being social. After all, visiting a retail store is an experience that has the chance to deliver memorable, brag-worthy moments to consumers while helping to build loyalty among customers.
These experiences should happen at any moment a customer visits your store, but introducing special events to your retail marketing strategy can elevate your store reputation and sales to a whole new level.
Curious how to make your retail a buzz-worthy experience through special events? Consider the five ideas below.
1. Plan, Prepare & Post
Nowadays, consumers are bombarded with brand visibility and special event opportunities at nearly every click they make online and every turn they take in real-life. Keeping this in mind, your store must be among the clicks and turns that motivate your customers to want to be a part of your store experiences and special events.
To help achieve this, plan your events well in advance so that you can prepare for them to be as exciting and successful as possible. Among your plans should including posting details of your events on social media with a strategy in place that leads up to your big day.
You cannot expect customers to react to just one post. Instead, create a buzz leading up to your event with a countdown calendar of posts that also overlaps into your in-store marketing and email marketing strategies as well.
The key takeaway is this:
Take the time to plan. Take the time to prepare. And take the time to post.
Collectively, these efforts will deliver stronger visibility to your event and help generate more consumer awareness and sales.
2. Communicate With Your Customers
Want to really capture customer attention? Listen to them.
But don’t just expect them to speak up on their own. Instead, invite customers to share their ideas for events and in-store experiences that they’d find interesting.
You can leverage social media to generate these conversations as well as incorporate face-to-face conversations within your store to find out what your customers want. Offering surveys with pre-selected ideas can help lead these conversations and be sure to also welcome ideas for them to share organically.
Finally, don’t overlook customer insight groups. An event in itself, you can hand-select some customers to provide an advisory board experience to your store that helps you define the best in-store event ideas for your retail business.
Take it up a notch by making this an experience these VIP customers won’t forget… plus, don’t forget to give them time to shop! And of course, be sure to show them your appreciation with some light bites, drinks and a discount for them to enjoy their favorite finds from your store.
3. Get Outside
Whether your store has four walls or twenty, the reality is that customers only see what’s in your store if they actually make it into your store. Keeping this in mind, attract customer attention by bringing your store outside.
Take advantage of your immediate sidewalk or exterior space by introducing displays and experiences that provoke attention from potential customers passing by. While ideal in warmer climates, this strategy can be used year-round with the right merchandising.
From display racks of your inventory, to complementary food or beverages, and of course, seasonal inspired merchandising that helps shape the experience for your customers; this is an easy yet effective strategy to help lure customers into your store.
4. Incorporate All Senses
When it comes to experiences, it’s important to engage your customers in every way that keeps their attention.
From visually exciting displays, to inventory that encourages them to want to touch and engage with products, to subtle or bold background music that fits the vibe of your store experience, to a signature scent that over time reminds your customers specifically of your store, to tasty treats that lend themselves to introducing an above and beyond experience with your customers… no details should be overlooked.
As you plan your events, also consider how each sensory experience will engage your customers. Then challenge yourself to deliver a stronger experience than your everyday in-store experience to help elevate your event as one that is to be remembered.
These efforts will not only help retain customers, but also help strengthen sales.
5. Use Your Data
While hands-on strategies to engage customers can always add value to your business, the human touch alone cannot strengthen retail sales nowadays.
Combined with tech - and specifically, data - you will be better positioned to strengthen store experiences and sales. Review past store data to identify your peak periods of selling, your slow times and what inventory has performed best and worst.
Using this data, then come up with events that can support your highs and your lows – ultimately allowing you to more strategically identify ways to incorporate events as a way to strengthen sales and customer visibility when you need it most.
Finally, be sure to regularly introduce events into your business model so that you can consistently stay top of mind among customers. Plan both smaller events as well as grander events each month, aiming for at least one small event a week and one larger event per month.
Using the strategies above, these events can help your store stand out among your local competition while also helping you gain more press from your local media. And most importantly, these efforts can help your retail business increase sales… something any hardworking retailer can appreciate.