A Holiday Open House with Style!

Written by Mud Pie Territory Manager, Tracy Alvord

It is never too early to get a jump on the holidays! You want to get out ahead of the competition and start spreading good will and good cheer! So, put on your Santa’s helper hat and let’s get started!

Start early – the first open house of the year always has the potential to get the average buyer thinking ahead and making their holiday shopping list! A GREAT impression at your event can bring the gift shopper back a few times between now and December 25th.

Here are a few best practices from the experts like offering a special promotion, festive ideas and tips to market your event!

Most of all, have fun and enjoy the party!

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In-Store Event Guide to Drive Traffic

Hosting in-store events are important for independent retailers. They take planning, dedication, and hard work, but are all worth it in the end. Here is a collection of some of our favorite events that we would like to share with you. Keep this list handy and refer back to it from time-to-time. Whether you opened your doors days ago or have been in business for quite some time, these ideas will help to provide direction for your next event that will undoubtedly drive traffic and sales.


  • Holiday Open House – Let this be your big holiday introduction revel to your customers. Offer specials promotions, giveaways, and treats to create a party like atmosphere. Click here for tips from Paddington Station in Ashland, Oregon on hosting a Holiday event.
  • Tailgate or Sports Event
  • Decorating for the Holidays – Partner with a local interior designer to hold a decorating class for your customers plus provide treats and a giveaway basket.
  • Cause Marketing Event such as March of Dimes, World Autism Day, Breast Cancer Awareness or connect with your own local charity or non-profit organization. Click here for tips on hosting your own Cause Marketing event.


  • Graduation themed Event – “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” With borrowing the theme from an American favorite, Dr. Seuss, post quotes from the book around your store, hang balloons, create a space just for gifts for grads.
  • Blushing Bride Wedding Events
  • Salute to Mom – Mother’s Day Event
  • Easter Egg Hunt
  • Gardening and/or Miniature Gardening Event – Click here for tips on hosting your own Miniature Gardening Event from Brown Dog Gardens in Alpine, Texas
  • Cinco de Mayo May 5thServe festive treats and offer a special discount or door prize
  • Sidewalk Sale & BBQ Event
  • Spring Fashion Show – Great opportunity to showcase apparel, jewelry and accessories for a particular season.

Great non-seasonal Event Ideas

  • Wish List Event – have your female customers come in to your store before a big holiday like Mother’s Day, Birthdays, or Christmas and ask them to put together a wish list of products they would like. Then consider doing a separate event for just the men while serving beer, nuts, and popcorn and let the men shop for their spouses or significant other from their list.
  • Store Anniversary or Birthday Celebration
  • School Fundraiser Night – Designate a specific day/night when customers can come in and shop. If they mention that specific school, you’ll donate 20% of the net proceeds to the school.
  • Pamper Yourself Day – Invite a local massage therapist to come in for short neck massages. Demo a specific line of new products.
  • Wild & Wacky Wednesdays – Determine your lowest sales/traffic day and do a promotion that will encourage people to come in.
  • Ladies Night & Men’s Night
  • Meet & Greet with Treats – Host an artist, author or creator signing in your store and provide light treats during the events.
  • Jewelry Event – It’s What Girls What
  • Pampered Pet
  • Gourmet Cooking Night – partner up with a local chef to present a cooking demonstration using products from your store.
  • Baby Showers – Sell kids products? Then consider holder baby show events within your store. Invite soon-to-be Moms to come and complete a wish list. The family members and friends of the Mom-to-be could then shop from that list. Serve refreshments and provide a few atmosphere with music and giveaways.
  • Happy Indie Retailer Month – Take the entire month of July and host different specials and events each week. Need more ideas? Click here for suggestions!

Other Helpful Tips to Drive Traffic

  • Cross market with other local merchants whenever possible
  • Send thank you and birthday cards to your customers
  • Keep your social media presence active and attractive
  • Develop a Frequent Shopper Program and host VIP events. For every $100 spent, your customer would receive a free gift or special discount

Quick Checklist for Hosting an Event

  • Pick your theme, date(s) and time of your event.
  • Determine your budget for refreshments, entertainment, marketing/advertising, and additional staff.
  • Develop your marketing plans that includes any advertising, social media, giveaways, contests, and/or print marketing.
  • Decide what you would like to serve regarding food and beverages.
  • Set your expectations with your team and determine if additional staff is needed. Review your sales goals with your team to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Take pictures and/or videos during your event and post them on your Facebook page to create buzz and excitement.
  • Analyze your event and make notes on the successes and improvements that you would like to address for your next event.



25 Great Event Ideas from Independent Creative Retailers

This article is re-posted on the OneCoast Blog with permissions from the author(s).

25 ArticleHow’s your In-store Events and Promotions Calendar looking these days?  You do have one, don’t you? You need to run one MAJOR and two to three MINOR in-store events and/or promotions each and every month of the year.

A well done in-store event does more than just sell product, it attracts customers because there’s something different and unique and fun going on at your store. Events generate so much more than short term excitement, they create a lasting impression, and – this is important – an emotional connection with customers. This connection alone gives customers a reason to return. Short on ideas? Here are 25 events from creative retailers you can use in your own store:

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Rebranding 101 | Part 3 of 3

askus2lThis has been such a great series! It all started with the simple question, “How do I/we change the image/perception of our store?”

Through this process, we were able to touch base more than one aspect of giving your store a new look and feel. Knowing that this is a multifaceted task, we wanted to wrap up with Part 3, marketing and the fine details!


One of the most important things with marketing to a younger consumer is understanding how they connect to companies and how they prefer to be marketed to. We are talking to a tech savvy customer who is constantly on the go and needs information at their fingertips. They are the social media lovers, online shoppers and mobile communicators. So your marketing has to be where your customer is and that is online. Several things to consider and evaluate:

  • Website
    • What does your website say about who you are (company/store) and who you are targeting (demographic)? Does it reflect the personality of the store and the image that will attract the younger customer? If you haven’t made any changes to your website in a while, it is time to give it a face lift. That could be as simple as changing the colors.
  • Social Media
    • Evaluate the social media platforms you should be active on. It is no longer enough to only be on Facebook. Consider Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. (We’ve linked to OneCoast’s social media outlets so you can see what we’re talking about!)
    • Are you posting frequently and creating excitement on your page that will tease the customer to come in?
      • Post pictures of new products that come in or even pictures of products that will be coming soon.
      • When shopping at markets, post pictures of product you are planning to bring in and ask your customers to vote.
      • Make sure you are creating reasons to have a good dialogue with your customers online and giving them a reason to come in.
    • Social Media should be a big focus for you if you want to stay connected to the younger customer. I would highly recommend connecting with Retail Social Media Expert Crystal Vilkaitis from Crystal Media.
  • Events
    • How often are you hosting events? Consider doing them once a month? Make them hip and exciting? Become THE place to be. There are so many great event ideas that would appeal to the younger consumer. We have many event ideas right on our resource center. Click here.
    • Make sure to market your events so that it encourages the customer to invite their friend and spread the word for you. Best way to do that is by offering a strong incentive for them and their friend. Use email and social media to market it.
  • Online Reviews
    • There is no better way to create a positive online presence and attract new customers than by online reviews. Have you ever tried looking for a new service online and gotten 10 different responses? Did you notice that you usually make a choice to call the one that has the best customer rating? This is what happens every day when your customers are looking for new products and companies online. Leverage the power of online reviews by asking all of your customers to rate you on google or yelp. I’ve looked up your store and noticed that you already have some wonderful reviews. Make sure to go on Google and Yelp and add your company information that will help tell your story.
  • Sponorships
    • Another way to get in front of your targeted customer is to become visible where they are. See if you can sponsor local high school and college events and get involved in their community.
  • Email
    • If you don’t already, you should work on building a healthy email data base and some type of loyalty program that helps you continue to build your data base. Email marketing is an important road of communication to a younger consumer and demographic. This is one of the primary ways they prefer to communicate with companies.
  • Mobile
    • Text message marketing is one of the most economic ways to reach your younger customers and bring them into your store. It is easy to set up and manage. Just like building your email marketing data base, you would have to focus on growing your mobile subscribers which you can utilize your email marketing to do. Text message marketing has a 95% read rate within the first 15 minutes of receipt and helps to drive impulse behavior and traffic to your store. Consider JATXT as a source. OneCoast uses them currently and find it very simple.

Here’s Part 1 and Part 2!


Majda Rensberger is the Vice President of Marketing for OneCoast. In her 9 years with OneCoast, Majda held a leadership position in the development of the industry’s first National Sales Model (OneCoast ND One), implemented operational structures and led the development of the company’s Integrated Marketing and Sales Model.

Majda heads up the Marketing and Showroom departments where she’s responsible for marketing and branding strategies of OneCoast and their vendor partners, helping them effectively market their brands and drive B2B sales via e marketing, social media, mobile and public relations platforms. Majda is a member of the OneCoast Senior Executive team involved in the company’s strategic planning and new business development.

Majda has been a GHTA (Gift and Home Trade Association) member since 2009. During the November 2014 annual industry conference Majda was elected to serve on the Board of Directors where she’ll be involved in moving the Gift and Home industry forward.