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4 Tips for Hosting In-store Retail Events

We’re big fans of driving store traffic—and we have several articles to prove it.

We often talk about how to get people in the door but don’t talk enough about the actual in-store events. Here are four simple tips for creating retail events that will drive more sales. 

  1. Plan with Purpose. Generals don’t go into war without battle plans, and you shouldn’t go into an in-store event without a solid plan, either. What is the purpose of the event? According to Priya Parker the author of The Art of Gathering, if you’re not clear on your purpose, you shouldn’t invite anybody to your gathering. When you are developing the purpose, ask yourself  “why questions” at least four times. For example, if you want to sell 100 mattresses, ask why? 

    Why do we want to sell 100 mattresses? Because we want to help 100 people get better sleep. Why? Because better sleep improves your energy levels, your mood, your looks, and more? Why? Because sleep is restorative to the body, mind, and soul. Why? Because sleep is essential to life; without sleep you’ll die.

    Now you have a purpose. You’re not having a sale—you’re hosting a “Sleep to Live” event where you show people how sleep is absolutely essential to life. When your purpose is clear, the parts and pieces you pull together more easily fall into place.

    Who should you invite to a “Sleep to Live” event? Perhaps a sleep doctor, gym owners, and nutritionists who all understand how sleep improves every aspect of health. Start with a crystal clear purpose and planning becomes manageable and more inspired.
  1. Count Your Cash. When thinking about your plan, you also need to keep financial considerations in mind. While it would be fun to throw an all-out rager, set a budget and keep it. If you’re a hefty spender, set your budget lower than you can afford to accommodate extra costs.
  2. Get The Word Out. Your turnout will depend on how well you market your event, so be sure to use multiple marketing tactics to get the word out. Once you’re clear on the purpose of the event, you can develop what Dos Marcos call your Galaxy Graph. it’s a simple worksheet where you list all the places you can distrbute your message and all the assets that are needed for each of those channels. 

    For example, if one channel of distribution is radio you can create a 30-second spot, send a press release to the news station, be a guest on the morning shows to promote your event, buy digital ads on their websites, and ask the radio stations to post your event on social. 

    A lot of people think of their channels of distribution as having one creative piece (e.g. radio requires only a radio spot). Not true! Get as much mileage as possible from every channel by forcing yourself to think about all aspects of that medium. 
  1. The Big Day. When event day comes, don’t serve up as many sales pitches as you would on a regular business day because you don’t want to come off as salesy; you want to foster a sense of community and show off your products. It’s also a good idea to have some form of music playing and give out a goody bag. People love free stuff, so reward those who come to your event. 

    Also, you can incentivize purchases. For people that sign up for emails, give them a “good today only” coupon to push purchases and reward them for coming out. Lastly, document your event. Having a social media presence is great for business, and posting photos of the event can show others what they missed out on.

When you plan with purpose, budget properly, get the word out and execute on the big day you’re bound to have a buzzworthy event. Have fun and remember the more attention to detail you give it the better your event will be. 

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