Retail marketing is changing. Traditional push advertising such as TV ads, radio, press, catalogues and email campaigns are offering retailers less and less spikes in sales and visitation. It almost seems as if everything is against retailers.
Consumers want education, they want entertainment, they want personalisation, they want enlightenment. With the increase in online sales, customer engagement now needs to be a key part of an in-store retail experience. Amy Roche, Director at Retail Rockstars provides insight into live events and how they can boost sales, raise brand loyalty and attract new customers.
Why host a live event for your customers?
In tough marketing conditions, retailers need to connect with their customers and provide them with a better experience in-store. Human interaction is key. The goal of live events is to connect people with your product, improve the relationship with your consumers, and ensure your customers feel comfortable and welcome in your store.
Live events can help you attract customers who might normally shop elsewhere because they get in a rut of sticking to what they know. A retail event in your store gives people an opportunity and a reason to visit you, your store and get familiar with the store surroundings and products. It also presents a reason to disrupt normal buying patterns of customers in their area.
So what is the best live retail event?
The sky is the limit with a live event. If planning your own, think of something that would really resonate with your customers, something that would help them. You want to inspire them to take action. Educate them and encourage them to be more adventurous or to understand some of the possibilities with a product you might sell. However, don’t produce a Live event in-store just to sell products. This mistake can really backfire on a retailer, as most customers are actually looking for much more than the product itself – they want an experience around the products. And one final tip, always schedule your live event with a giving heart; you are genuinely trying to help your customer in some way.
A live event should entertain, inspire and offer advice but also contain an excellent before and after journey story. The whole campaign should include correspondence beforehand through emails, and after the event with images to help attendees remember what they learned and what store was gracious enough to help them with.
Finally, it’s also important to find experts who can help your customers learn from the best. Investing into soon-to-be-customers as well as existing shoppers is a revolutionary concept in retail and one that we know works extremely well.
How will a live event help retailers thrive in the long and short term?
The US Bureau of Statistics have said that live events will grow by 44% in the next 4 years, which really outpaces the average projected growth of any other industry.
A recent 2016 global marketing survey of big global brands showed that they are increasing their event-marketing budget by 16.3% for 2017 and for some this accounts for 20% of their annual marketing budget.
These aren’t just retailers of course, these are big global companies, showing that they know there is a big return on live events; they know it’s a wise and profitable investment.
Results of live events vary depending on the size of the retailer and the types of products it sells. However, the retailers that Retail Rockstars work with, see an average of 25% increase in visitation/footfall on the day of the event.
In addition to this, around 23% of attendees will purchase something within the next 7 days. In-store surveys also find that around 30-50% of attendees have never purchased from that retailer before, so there is a significant opportunity here to win over new customers.
Follow up surveys conducted after events show that 70% of those new customers (who’ve never purchased from that retailer before) are extremely likely to purchase something from that store in the future.
Is it expensive to run a live event?
A live event does not have to be expensive. One of the biggest barriers retailers may face is lack of extra staff and knowledge on how to run an in-store event and how to get your consumers excited to attend.
I’ve put together a quick check-list of some important things to consider when putting together your own event.
Quick List for Hosting your Own Retail Event:
- Decide on the right event for your retail business, think about things that will help or inspire a particular type of customer known to you and your staff. Don’t make the mistake of making it all about the product – or something you want to sell.
- Make sure you’ve got someone who is managing the entire event from start to finish, either your own staff or outsource (Retail Rockstars).
- Find an industry expert or influencer to educate your customers, the more niched your expert is, the more people will register.
- Make sure you get invitations out early, build excitement both prior to and after the event.
- Get your staff involved, have fun with the ideas, or poll your staff on what kind of events they think the customers would like.