5 Reasons Boutique Retailers Should Hold In-Store Events

in-store events

Just as important as making sure your product is available on the internet and you are easily searchable via all social networks; offering your current and potential customers an unforgettable in store experience each and every time they visit is vital to ensuring your business continues to thrive.

Remember when there was no e-commerce? It’s almost impossible to recall a time before we consulted fashion blogs and retailer reviews online before clicking the ‘add to shopping cart’ button and checking out virtually. It’s no secret that everything we could ever ask for is readily available at our fingertips. Convincing people to come out from behind a computer screen is tricky but with the economy on an upswing and billions spent by consumers in retail each year, it’s certainly not impossible.

Hosting in-store events is a fun, effective way to garner excitement about your business. Events can be as simple or as complicated as you want them to be. For retailers, they can range from trunk shows featuring a new line, live appearances from designers or brand ambassadors, fashion shows, styling sessions when the seasons change or after hours open house events that offer treats and discounts to attendees.

Here Are 5 Reasons Why Retailers Should Host In Store Events:

  1. An opportunity for you to interact with your customers live and in person, and for them to interact with you – Truth is, people buy from people and no one can sell your merchandise better than you can. The biggest complaint about shopping online is that it’s impossible to know what the garment looks like on your body until you receive it. Having your customers in front of you at the store gives you the chance to explain specific details about each line and to allow them to try things on and become familiar with what you carry. It also allows customers a perfect opportunity to provide you with feedback about what they think you’re doing great and some suggestions as to what else they would love to see.
  2. Encourage impulse buys and increase average transaction amount – Ladies, we’ve all been there. We’ve attended shopping events with no intention to shop until the free apps and bubbly beverages are handed out amongst tables of this season’s hottest accessories and we can’t possibly go home without a little treat for ourselves. Hosting an in store event is the best way to increase exposure to potential customers and show off what you have to offer. Additionally, offering a small discount or free gift with purchase only available during your event provides the customer with an incentive for immediate action even if they arrived without intent to purchase.
  3. Opportunity for social sharing; introducing your business to a new audience and growing your customer demographic – Most of your guests will find out about your event via social media. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram you can be sure there will be more than a few people posting about the fun they’re having at your event. Use this to your advantage by encouraging guests to ‘get social’ about their experience. This is a great way to draw in a new target audience and interact with a new demographic after the event that you may have not been able to reach in the past.
  4. An opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to your current customers; make them feel like a VIP and offer them an unforgettable experience – Without loyal customers, you wouldn’t be in business. Hosting a ‘Customer Appreciation’ event is the perfect opportunity to invite your most valued clients to a special occasion designed just for them. A positive experience causes customers to connect with a store in a personal way, encouraging them to stay longer and visit again.
  5. Opportunity to gather consumer data for future promotions – If you’re the type of business that creates targeted direct mail campaigns or sends out postcards advertising latest promotions, a special event is a great way to ensure your customer database is up to date. With upbeat moods and a festive atmosphere, people aren’t as uptight about passing along personal information like email addresses. This provides an excellent opportunity for you to gather info like birth dates so you can send additional communication to your customers inviting them back into your store throughout the year.

The one measure of ensuring success as a retailer year after year is to have a continuous stream of customers walking through your front door. Events are a classic way for businesses to engage with their customers. New customers will come back again if they’re treated to an experience that gets them excited and you’ll be able to count on them to recommend you to others. The interaction with a specific demographic will create new interest and increase loyalty, ultimately growing your customer base and increasing sales.

Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

    • Nicole Giordano

      Hi Fevi,
      It depends on what kind of event you’re having. If you’re doing evening with cocktails, Wednesday or Thursday tend to work well b/c people are past the start of the week slump. If you’re thinking a cupcakes kind of theme, Sunday afternoons are nice. They work well as post-brunch shopping excursions.

      Hope that helps!

      • Ashwin

        How companies are measuring in-store spending and What tools are available in the market to give visibility of spend elements and to measure effectiveness of event

  1. Ed Huntingford

    A nice reminder of how much fun running a ‘bricks and mortar’ retail business can be. Great article Nicole.

    • Nicole Giordano

      Thanks Edward. 🙂 This is the first article by our new community manager and retail expert, Dominique!

  2. Laura

    In-store events can also be great opportunity for cross-promotion, consider a local independent to cater, or a store with services that compliment your products.

  3. Alanna

    Our Boston retail space is in a gallery area. We’ve found that in store events are a fantastic way to hang with our clients, introduce new lines, and bring people off the streets!

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