Are your promotions causing commotions?
If your in-store events & promotions need a jump start, check out Georganne's interview in the July issue of Giftbeat Magazine!
(GIFTBEAT) In-store events remain a powerful tool for increasing both traffic and sales in your store — when they are done right. How many events should you host per year and what key elements make them a success? We asked Georganne Bender, retail strategist and half of the Kizer & Bender speaking duo (with business partner Rich Kizer), to share her advice.
Q. Why is it crucial for retailers to offer in-store events?
A. Right now we are in an age of experiential retailing where it is all about the customer’s experience. Rich and I have been talking about in-store events for the last 20 years, but we not only talk about them — we also run them in stores with retailers. In-store events make you stand out from your competitors. You can run a 20%-off sale, but that’s not going to get people off the couch because everyone is doing it. If you run the same sale and costume contest for pets, with a portion of the sales going to charity, you are going to have fun in the store, and you are going to attract new customers.
The entire purpose of in-store events, at the end of the day, is to make sure somebody new comes in to your store and to sell them something. For a long time we talked about customer service and then customer care, but now it is all about customer advocacy and making sure they have a good experience inside your store.
Q. How many times a year should a retailer plan events?
A. Rich and I believe that you need to do one major event in your store every month and two to three minor events every month. You need to create an events planning calendar and have it mapped out just like you have for your sales, your windows, your end caps or your employees’ schedules. A major event brings a lot of people in the store and has a far reach. A minor event would be a trunk show, a seminar or an unveiling of a new product line.
Q. Many of our readers tell us they're running out of ideas for events. Could you share a few of the more interesting events you've recently come across?
A. One of our favorite events is a kid’s store tour where you teach children how to be retailers and what you have in your store. You’re also teaching the moms and dads about your store because you are now on the kids’ radar.
Elementary schools are always looking for places to have field trips. You can volunteer your services to teach the class about what a typical day as a retailer is like — everything from how merchandise gets to the floor to how to run a business or any topics you’d like to cover. You have about 25 kids come to the store with chaperones. Set a table up near the front of the store with a small art project/souvenir they can take home later. We suggest using pre-printed poems with a spot where they can dip their hands in poster paint and leave a handprint. We recommend the Handprint Poem that almost everyone has heard of. It is also a project that easy to clean up with Handi Wipes.
Start out with this project and then do a tour of the store. Include some teaching activities. The kids leave with the souvenir and coupons for mom and dad to come back and save on an item. Always have an expiration date on your coupons that is within a week or two.