10 (Somewhat Unexpected) Tips to Get Ready For In-Store Events
Throwing an in-store event? Whether it’s for a small crowd of six or for an endless crowd of customers, don’t neglect the following:
1. Create and start promoting your event weeks in advance. Consider using promotional flyers that are given to each customer that makes a purchase, in-store signage, social media, B2B partners and your email lists to maximize your customer reach. While this may seem the “norm”, some stores often wait till the last minute to generate buzz.
2. Plan for special marketing initiatives. Depending on your event, it may make sense to get more creative or more proactive than usual. This may consist of local PR initiatives or speaking about your event at a Chamber, city or Main Street meeting.
3. Identify your return and exchange policies on all receipts and near your cash wrap. If you are planning for altered policies for any reason during a special event, make sure you also identify time frames they are specific to. It’s always a good idea to have customers initial receipts after you have explained your policy, as well.
4. Use social media more than normal. If you aren’t already using social media, it’s not too late to get started. If you already are, you are a million steps ahead already! Identify how you can leverage your social media audience to not just hear you, but participate in your event. Offer social media contests and encourage “check-ins” on Foursquare and Facebook at your event. Even better? Offer a fun incentive for those that do so.
5. Cross promote with like minded businesses. Create a promotional program that overlaps your store with other businesses that allows you to gain new customers from their mailing list and customer outreach – and vice versa. Be supportive of them and likewise, they will be supportive of you. Remember – other local businesses are not all competition. Many are complimentary without ever competing with your store directly.
6. Get the media involved in your holiday plans. Radio stations, newspapers, local television stations, magazines and other local media outlets are crave great information to share with their readers. Let your in-store events be among what they share! Get on the ball now, though… this can turn around in a day or take weeks for traction. Your best bet? Always keep your local PR relationships active.
7. Plan for additional staff. Possibly this means additional hours for current employees. Maybe this means temporary help. Whatever works for you, it’s time to get it all identified so when the rush of customers keeps you busy, you won’t be stressing about extra help supporting you. Remember to train new hires, as well, on all your store policies and how you want them to behave during your events / in your store.
8. Plan for Plan B. Extra help means extra people to worry about. If someone calls in sick, do you have a back up plan? Life happens – so you may as well have a plan of attack for when it does.
9. Have your event window and store displays ready to go. This means knowing what products and extra display accessories you need to support a dynamic display are ready to go for you to simply install. Don’t wait till the last minute to buy your own display extras at the store, either. To best support in-store events, it’s always a good idea to create at least one focal display that support this big day or days.
10. Offer above the top gift wrapping. While we can’t all get the same response a Tiffany blue box does, we can certainly try! Let your purchases shine at your in-store events, offering a final touch to a great event.
Have more in-store event tips to share? Let us know! Please comment below!