Is it worth holding events for customers, given my limited budget?

I’ve always been impressed by boutique style events that large brands put on to get customers onside – music, drinks, art, etc. Is it a waste of money to hold such an event, given my limited budget?

 

Done right events are never a waste of money early on – in fact your first event should have been your grand opening.

 

To be a successful retailer you have to do more than just sell “stuff” – you must create an experience that touches customers’ hearts and minds as well as their wallets.

 

You can exist by running an occasional sale and maybe an event or two throughout the year or you can thrive using shoppertainment – in-shop events and promotions – to connect with your customers.

 

Begin your planning process by scheduling a brainstorming session with your sales team to gather ideas.

 

In a brainstorming session there are no bad ideas and there are no stupid ideas.

 

That off the wall comment could be your next big claim to fame when a team member puts a new spin on the idea or combines it with another one.

Holding a successful retail event is like planning a wedding or any other major party—you have to dot the Is and cross the Ts. You’ll want to answer each of the following questions for each event:

  1. Will this event attract customers who already know and love your shop?
  2. Will this event bring new customers to your shop? Will the new customers it attracts be the kind of customers you want to shop in your shop? This is not a trick question.

    Say for example your event includes a chance to win a $500 shopping spree and you open your doors to find people who are not typically your customers and are not likely to be in the future.

    What good will that shop full of people do for you? Instead plan your events to attract poor mis-informed people who need what you sell but tend to shop at your competitors’ shops.

  3. What will you do for new customers to entice them to return? Coupons that bring them back again next week are always a good idea. Loyal customers love them too.
  4. What will this event do for your shop’s reputation? I know a retailer with a small shop in suburban Melbourne who sent a fabulous offer to 5000 customers with one tiny stipulation: You must be present to win.

    That number of people trying to get into a small shop at the same time? You do the maths. And the other catch was that the day they had to attend was Christmas Eve.

  5. Can you handle the increased traffic? Ask shops in shopping centres about this one. When thousands of people show up to meet the next Australian Idol or the next Top Model how easy is it for your regulars buyers to go about their business?

Next week I’ll explain how you can effectively plan and hold your event.

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