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 5th – Serve 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.