In store events can prove very profitable if done right. They serve various purposes – promoting a new line for the upcoming season, opening a new retail location, celebrating a brand anniversary, hiring new talent. However, contrary to popular belief, in-store events don't always require a special occasion. They can help generate increased foot traffic, push out the last of that great deal/clearance sale inventory, attract new customers, raise brand loyalty and reach - the list goes on. Keep reading for just a few of the ways you can make your next in-store event go from 0 to 💯, no matter the occasion.
prepping for the event…
Any successful campaign requires a good amount of research and planning. Start by looking at your fashion brand’s promotions history and jot down the key takeaways. What worked, what didn’t? Also don’t forget to evaluate your competitors – what are they doing to arrange successful events? What are they offering? How are they marketing? And finally, trust your gut and use your own experiences. What was the last event you attended, in store or otherwise? What disappointed you, or what made it memorable? These are all important questions to ask while brainstorming.
2) Know your customer and develop a theme
While planning the event it’s important to analyze your customer, starting with their demographics, and extending to their hobbies and interests. Then your event can have a theme that visually appeals to your target audience and links your merchandise to your customers. You can find some great tips regarding visual merchandising your store event here.
3) Promote, promote, promote!
You want to make sure that people know about the event and are enticed enough to attend. Don’t just stick to traditional e-newsletter announcements and creating Facebook events. Offer incentives like special discounts or coupons to attendees only. You can also ask your followers on social media to help spread the word. Ask them to share the event, invite and/or tag their friends in exchange for special perks. This not only increases attendance but also helps acquire a new customer base who may not even be aware of your brand.
the day of…
1) Include engaging activities for your attendees
The main goal of an in-store event is not to boost sales that day, but to have customers interact with you and your brand. It’s necessary to approach them without a sales pitch in mind, and ensure they are mingling and having fun. They need to have an experience that leaves a lasting impression because that’s what brings them back to your store in the future.
Some examples of engaging activities include setting up a quick manicure station or offering free alteration services to give your clothes a more custom fit.
Previously I also mentioned knowing your customer demographic and planning the event according to what they might appreciate. Think of setting a corner with toys to distract children if your target audience is busy moms, vs. setting up cute photo ops with elaborate backgrounds if your customer demographic is young adults.
What’s better than looking at your products on racks or mannequins? Seeing them built into a whole outfit with models walking in them. This is a tactic often used to entice retail buyers at large fashion trade shows like Coterie. Plus it gives your event a bit more edge and your brand image a bit more luxury and polish.
4) Invite fashion industry experts and influencers
Inviting well known names can prove a big factor in drawing in more customers to attend your event. If you can get an influencer with local celebrity status or expert speakers or authors, even better. People will flock over just for the photo ops, which can in turn earn your brand greater exposure, in part, because the experts have a higher social media reach.
This might not immediately come to mind as you plan an event, but collaborating with one or more brands can help boost your sales in a number of ways. You can share each other’s mailing lists while sending promotional emails. It also helps reduce costs significantly as most expenses will get split up. While picking which brands you want to collab with, it might be more useful to invite ones that sell products different than yours so that competition remains low.
what comes next…
1) Follow up
Did you have attendees subscribe to your newsletters or follow your social media? Good. Now it’s time to follow up.
Shoot them a quick email and thank them for attending. You could also extend your discount retail offers through the rest of the week, and incentivize reluctant customers to stop in and finally make that purchase.
2) Create FOMO
You planned and executed an amazing event, now it’s time to show it off. Upload pictures of what you offered and your attendees having the time of their lives so that the ones who didn’t make it can’t wait to attend the next one. You can also create polls on Instagram stories to engage with your attendees, like asking what their favorite appetizer was.
3) Keep going
Depending on the success of the event, consider doing it more consistently, maybe every few months. Give your loyal customers something to look forward to!
Not all these steps are necessary to throwing the best in-store party. It depends on your brand, budget, and scope. Remember to keep it simple, focus on a few specific things, and really invest in them. Event planning demands either all or nothing.
Marketing Intern @MakersValley. Tashfia is a senior majoring in Business Administration. She loves working in fashion and learning about marketing and the global supply chain which makes MakersValley a perfect fit for her! Her favorite hobbies include traveling, bar hopping and everything arcade.