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.

Winter/Fall

  • 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.

Spring/Summer

  • 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.

 

 

Why Entrepreneurs Need To Create With Design In Mind

There once was a time when consumers bought items out of necessity. For example, we used to buy outerwear for the sake of protecting ourselves from the elements; or we bought cell phones to stay in touch with our friends, family and acquaintances. And product design focused on an object’s functionality and ability to efficiently serve a purpose.
Designers and entrepreneurs recognize the dual purpose an object serves. Not only are consumers looking for goods that satisfy a need, they also seek items that can be considered an extension of the buyer’s personality.
Home buyers are always looking to balance function with design. “Everything from mixers, to cutting boards to dog

Heart Serving Set

Mad Style Heart Serving Set

bowls need to be cool and visually appealing and fashionable,” remarks Doug Stein, founder and owner of Mad Style, an on-trend fashion and lifestyle brand. “Instead of hiding our home appliances in the cupboard or in our pantries, we find people treating their appliances and functional items as pieces of art that are meant to be displayed.”

Entrepreneurs need to create with design in mind. In today’s competitive market, almost 50% of new businesses will not survive longer than four years and failure could be attributed to multiple external factors. Survival in oversaturated markets depends heavily on a business’ ability to differentiate themselves from the crowd; entrepreneurs need to find a way to appeal to their customer who are already used to some iteration of your product or service offering.
An industry that is supersaturated shouldn’t be seen as a turn-off. Think of it this way: a market that has thousands of businesses vying for the top spot means that industry is healthy and in demand. In the automobile industry alone there are over 600 model vehicles a customer can choose from.
In 1950, there were only 65 models or so available, but since then we’ve seen the market expand and now consumers can choose from hundreds of options. In an over-saturated market, whoever adapts to consumer needs the best will outlast the competition.
Vintage Light-Up Whisk Sign

Vintage Light-Up Whisk Sign

Businesses must be able to change. Customer needs can change on a dime, and companies who hope to survive the next five to 10 years have to be able to adapt and keep up with trends and expectations. Startups in particular have a slight upper hand when it comes to identifying and exploiting the gaps that established businesses have yet to notice; startups are less rigid and better able to pivot than big corporations.

Take, for example, the healthcare industry and the buying and selling of healthcare products. Previously, when a doctor told you to buy a humidifier, you bought one because you were told to do so and didn’t pay much attention to what it looked like or how it fit into your home decor. Once you didn’t need the humidifier anymore, you presumably stored it away. But what if that humidifier looked like a piece of art that could be displayed in your home or your bedroom?
Crane-USA set about rethinking the design of a humidifier and showing customers how functional items could be fun, cute and serve a purpose at the same time. This innovative company released their collection of whimsical animal humidifiers called “Adorables” to fit in a nursery-setting or a children’s room. It was an idea that revolutionized how customers view functional items like humidifiers; now, customers can choose products that not only serve their actual purpose but can be viewed as an extension of a person’s identity. “Design for better living is Crane’s mantra,” says Katie Sotor, VP of Marketing and co-founder of Crane. “We believe design is an attitude and the home is a expression of an individual style.
Crane products are good quality at an affordable price. Why purchase ordinary when you can purchase extraordinary.  Style is a statement, a choice –  even if all you need is way to relieve your dry skin or stuffy nose.”
Heart of Flowers Color me Cushion

Heart of Flowers Color Me Cushion

Something as simple as redesigning the way an item looks can open up a world of opportunity for a business. This is what is meant by change – in a highly competitive market, businesses need to change to meet the consumer need while also appealing to their desire to express who they are through their material goods. You could easily create something that is functional and works perfectly, but if it doesn’t look visually stunning it may not be appealing to certain customers.

Industries today are saturated with businesses who are eager to launch the “next big thing”. In order to stand out, you need to not only have a product that works great but is appealing to the customer in more ways than one. Design is more than just a product’s functionality; it’s also about looks and how a product will fit into a customer’s lifestyle. In the case of standing out, looks can help launch your product to the front of the line.

Happy Independent Retailer Month!  We hope this blog post helped you recognize the value of the outdoor décor category. If you’d like to find out more about Mad Style, contact your OneCoast Territory Manager.

Read more articles from #onecoast (see what I did there!) vendors here!

Original article can be found here.

Tips to Take the Perfect Flat Lay Instagram like a Pro Blogger

With content being posted on Instagram every minute, daily bloggers, stores and social media lovers are in constant search of attractive ways to share their favorite products. Flat lays are have become a standard for product displays and the favorite way to share content for many bloggers. Anybody can take a lay down shot but only the pros know how to make it stand out! Here are some tips to help your Instagram gallery perfectly polished.

 

Flat lay tip #1: Have a flat lay theme. True, you have a bunch of random objects grouped together, but those objects should have a purpose, and they should tell a story. For example, your theme could be vacation packing, date night, or beauty bag goodies. Pick a theme then snap away!Flat lay Shot Tip 1

Flat lay tip #2: Create a posh Instagram feed and poised to perfection with a neutral background as a backdrop. Remember, your items should be the main focus in the photo so white sheets, rugs, countertops and the trending marble surfaces, make for great backdrops.

Flat lay Shot Tip 2

Flat lay tip #3: This is a simple tip, but effective all the same. When you are arranging your items in your flat lay, make sure to leave some space in-between each item. This way, the image you capture looks both organized and pretty.

Flat lay Shot Tip 3

What are some of your favorite lay down shot tips?

Happy Independent Retailer Month!  We hope this blog post helped you recognize the value of the outdoor décor category. If you’d like to find out more about All For Color, contact your OneCoast Territory Manager.

Read more articles from #onecoast (see what I did there!) vendors here!