Communities often organise street fairs and shopping events, which to the untrained eye, may seem like a waste of time. NANCY GEORGES explains that these events are in fact an excellent chance to expand your business.
Brick and mortar stores have a major advantage over digital stores – it’s the human connection.
It’s all too common to see retailers give up on their unique physical space and focus on online sales without realising they are losing the human connection.
It’s true that the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged customers to shop online more, but it’s noisy, impersonal and cold. Now more than ever customers want to connect and have a great experience outside the house.
Councils organise street fairs and shopping events and they’re a great opportunity to build your business on their dollar.
The atmosphere tends to put customers in a good mood, which makes their minds open to positive memories and feelings.
If you can connect and collaborate with a neighbouring store, even better!
There is strength in numbers and your message is amplified when you are can collaborate on themes and messages.
Create magic and theatre in your store! It doesn’t have to just be for a one-off, special event. Give customers something unique to look at and experience. Make sure you’re a memorable, positive host too.
Before we delve any deeper into specifics, let’s talk preparation.
Before the event
In the lead up to a street fair or special shopping event, focus on creating an interesting and engaging store window.
Showcase your products and services with creativity, and find a way to include a relevant quote or saying – personally, I love a clever and funny sandwich board out the front of a store for messaging.
Create an offer for the special event and not just a discount or sale.
Make that offer available only for those shopping during the event, or those who have signed up to your business’ database.
Consider offering a special offer for those who sign up for your database on the day to develop new connections.
Speak to any relevant suppliers too, ensuring you’re ready for the special event. They may even have special branded packaging they can offer just for the day, or perhaps even a discount.
You can design vignettes and eyecatching displays throughout the store that show products or services in a way that’s memorable, and may even encourage customers to promote the store itself online.
This will show customers you have flair and are digital savvy and it’s an attractive way to encourage sales. Encourage pictures be taken and shared online, as that also becomes content for your business.
Another simple idea is to place a poster which promotes the event itself in your window and in your store, but make sure it’s done with style and class – consider a frame, or making it part of a larger display.
It’s important to make sure your address and contact details, including phone number and email, or updated online in the lead up. Audit your site and social media presence.
Promote the event on your website or social media pages and find ways to link in with the organisers at large, which is a great way to reach larger audiences. Use organiser hashtags, or create your own.
Don’t just invite your regular customers either; contact to friends and family for support and to build excitement.
Make sure you take plenty of great pictures of your displays, and share the online too.
In the aftermath
The opportunity to grow your business doesn’t end when the street fair or special shopping events does.
Send customers who visited a thank you email, and consider offering then an exclusive offer for their next purchase.
Post the pictures from the event on your website and social media pages. Tell any stories that may go with them and tag customers and organisers using the relevant hashtags.
Link to your website and digital store and send a newsletter a couple of weeks after the event or find another way to touch base with your database.
These are all important ideas but they’re just a basic start. There are so many other next level activities that can lead to sales success, but the foundation needs to be set before getting too advanced.
Above all, focus on enjoying your time with the new people you meet. Enjoy showing them fruits of all the hard work you put into the event, and positive connections will follow.