Event ideas to increase your store footfall

Marketing and brand

25 August 2016

Retail strategy specialists Ipsos found 40% of shoppers would spend more if retailers improved customer experience; and in-store events are an excellent way to do just that.

However, building a connection with your customers is just as important. Customers with a “strong, positive emotional attachment” will spend 24% more, and are also more likely to remain loyal.

Special soirées

Events hosted after hours can enhance the shopping experience. Use them to build buzz around a new product or to offer exclusive discounts, samples and product demonstrations, encouraging impulse purchases. If you're offering alcohol or live performances, you might need a licence. You should also check that extended opening hours don't affect your shop insurance.

Creating community

Tying events to initiatives like Record Store Day connects customers with your business philosophy and taps into the growing 'shop local' movement.

Alternatively, use major calendar events to build on existing buzz. In the Saturday before Father's Day, for example, footfall increased by 8.7% across UK stores: so these trends are worth seeking out and planning for.

Cafe classes

Turn your cafe or bar into a community hub with free classes. Team up with local experts, enthusiasts and societies to see if you can both benefit from the event. You may need to check your cafe insurance covers your event, particularly if the class involves dangerous equipment.

Gallery get-togethers

Not keen on classes? Partner with local artists to display their work instead, and build up to a gallery evening where the artist can sell their work and your customers can enjoy a different atmosphere. For boutique stores, events like these are an excellent thank you to customers, making them VIPs for a night.

Space for speakers

Your speakers could be from the local area or interest groups, or relevant to your industry. Publishers, record labels, film distributors and food producers often have PR representatives looking to set up promotional events. So joining forces builds relationships with other businesses and stores, as well as offering a new experience to you customers.

Champion charities

Combining a great experience with a good deed will highlight your business’ community spirit. When faced with two companies providing a similar service, research company Forrester found 82% of customers would go with the one that worked with charities and the local community. You can also benefit from piggy backing on big marketing campaigns of national events like Children in Need.

Overall, hosting events is about adding a new dimension: one that makes your customers part of something bigger, encouraging greater participation and more frequent visits.

In return, make sure you protect your partners and customers by ensuring your retail insurance covers all eventualities.