5 in-Store event ideas to boost your small business

In our last blog, we talked about planning in-store events, and how to use them as part of your small business marketing strategy.  This time, we thought we would give you 5 in-store event ideas to get your creative juices flowing.  These types of in-store events can boost your small business by generating additional sales, bringing in new customers, and bringing back repeat customers.

The great thing about these types of events is that they don’t have to be elaborate, costly affairs. We have budget-friendly, creative ideas to help you decide what type of in-store event is appropriate for your small business.  Many small businesses host tasteful, creative, fun events on a shoestring budget.

Sidewalk sale. Sidewalk sales generate a lot of attention because of their venue – the sidewalk! People who may not have intended to shop in your store are often compelled to stop and browse, so it’s important to think about how you are displaying your sidewalk sale tables. Items in a sidewalk sale are usually compellingly priced, and the ultimate goal is to pique the customer’s interest enough with the items on sale, so they are drawn into the store, where they can shop your fabulous selection of merchandise!  One important note is to check with your local city authorities to see if a permit or license is required. Each city’s requirements are different and you want to make sure you have the proper approval in place!

Client appreciation event.  Client appreciation events are a little different, depending on the type of industry and/or the type of business.  For retail stores, client appreciation events can often revolve around the store’s anniversary, the unveiling of a new product/product line, or the celebration of a holiday.  One of the reasons client appreciation events can be so successful is the exclusivity of the event.  These types of in-store events are often held after normal business hours, and are invitation only events for current customers.  One of the secrets to retaining customers is to make them feel important; people like to be recognized. A special customer-only event will do just that!

Holiday Party. Most people are in a festive mood around  a holiday – it doesn’t have to be Christmas – the 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Halloween are all holidays that people love to celebrate.  A holiday gives people an excuse to celebrate a little bit more!  When hosting a holiday party in your retail store, there are a few key things to remember:

  1. Create a festive atmosphere – show your holiday spirit!
  2. Give people a reason to linger: food, drinks, and/or entertainment will do the trick
  3. Display your products prominently: make sure you have specific items on sale and make beautiful displays with them. You might also consider a raffle to generate excitement.

Gallery event.  Contact local artists to see if they are interested in contributing artwork for the event. Most artists will jump at the chance to get more publicity!  You can use the empty wall space in your store or rent/borrow some easels to place around your store.  Make sure you invite the artists to attend as well, and host refreshments, which will help people linger longer.

Demonstration/Fashion Show.  New product demonstrations are useful to customers, and can be a great incentive to get them into your store.  For retail clothing stores, a season-inspired fashion show can be a HUGE draw for both your repeat customers and new customers as well.  Also, don’t feel you have to go the literal route. For example, a store that sells cooking products could host a wine tasting. Partnering with a local wine merchant gives you the opportunity to cross-promote and gain new customers who may not have shopped your store before!

Hopefully these ideas will get your creative juices flowing. Don’t wait – start planning an in-store event for your small business now and boost your sales!

About Patti Larson

Patti Larson is the CEO of SunUp Group, an Orange County based Marketing, Branding, and Web Design Agency. Google
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