Creative Director | Editor | PR | Event Planner
By Meredith Corning
It’s not a secret the economy has seen better days. So, what’s a retail store to do when folks just do not have the desire to get out and shop? Convincing the public to loosen the purse strings can be quite an undertaking, especially for a small business. Even the big players in retail, however, are making use of social soirees to encourage shoppers to come through the doors. If a store owner does not have the time to plan such an event, they should not hang up the ‘out of business’ sign yet. Hiring an event planner to help may be just what the doctor ordered.
Along with the increased demand for special events, the event planning industry has become much more sophisticated. Long gone are the days of throwing a on a table cloth and a centerpiece. A certain quality is expected now and for retail social parties, there is not an exception. Here is a list of things to take into consideration for any store planning a special event.
Give customers a socially conscious reason to come to your event.
Everybody wants sales, but this should not be the main event to lure people to your store. Create an event for a local charity. Host a ‘feed our furry friends’ event and ask people to bring in a can of pet food that will be delivered to the local animal shelter. Or perhaps ask the girl scouts to come in and sell their cookies. These types of gestures bring the community together and make everyone involved feel good.
Utilize your merchandise as a focal point.
Who doesn’t love a fashion show? Even a small store can create a catwalk through aisles or even outside on the sidewalk. Having models wearing the merchandise already available in the store is a great advertisement and incentive to buy.
Partner with surrounding businesses.
Look around. Are there any businesses nearby that may want some extra marketing? Network with your fellow business owners. Ask a restaurant if they would like to hold a wine tasting at your venue? Certainly every town has artists willing to showcase their work. Bring in artists and ask one of them to speak about the value of owning an original piece of art.
Invite everyone to your event.
Extend an invitation to everyone you know. Even if they cannot make it, they will know you care about them and maybe come in some other time. Hopefully your store keeps a record or customers’ names, addresses, and email addresses. If not, tsk-tsk.
Create an original advertising campaign.
Your store has its own flavor, so show it. Create fliers for your event using your logo and your own photography, artwork, or design. Think of a catchy name for the event. What colors will you choose for your event?
Schedule, schedule, schedule.
Certainly the best time to host your event is not going to be the same day as Race for the Cure. Visit your local calendar of events websites and read local publications to make sure your event does not conflict with something major going on in your area. It is hard to hold an event when there is absolutely nothing going on, but check around to see what the events are in your area that draw large crowds and stay away from those dates.