Shopping ought to be enjoyable and, preferably, fun. Often it is the experience itself which separates one retail store from another. This is why every retail business needs to devote management and front line attention to delivering a memorable and enjoyable experience.
The pandemic fundamentally changed retailing 2020. These changes prevail today. It’s time we re-awakened the inso-tore experience.
While Tower Systems its a POS software company, we offer retail management advice to our community of local indie small business retailers, advice beyond our POS software itself, advice designed to help our retailers thrive, and have fun.
One way to provide a memorable shopping experience is to have fun – among the sales team and with customers. Here are seven tips for having fun in any retail store:
- Theme days. Embrace an era which with interest your customers. For example, the 1970s. Dress the store and employees in keeping with the 1970s. Have a couple of items on sale at 1970s prices – to connect the theme with a commercial outcome. Get some stories from the 1970s related to products you sell and place these on display boards in the window. Consider a competition for the customer in the best 1970s costume. Other theme days include: school days, foreign country days where you wear traditional dress from a foreign country, crazy hair day and, of course, more theme days around key decades.
- Local sports competition. Fully embrace any major local sporting event, choose a team, dress in their colours and dress the store in their colours. Be unashamedly parochial and show your customers your local support.
- In-store buskers. Find some local musicians you enjoy and who have a repertoire which would connect with your customers and invite them in to play live for your customers. This would bring a vibrancy to the store and provide welcome entertainment for your customers as they shop. The local performers get to reach a new audience and you get to change up the feel of your business.
- Repurposing day. Host an event where customers compete for a prize for the most innovative repurposing of a product you sell. The idea would be that they take something you sell and demonstrate a use for it in a way which is completely different to what the manufacturer expected. There would need to be a rule that the new use is genuinely useful.
- The cutest baby. Invite your customers to bring in a photo of whey they were a baby, the older the better. Stick the photos on a wall and take votes on the best. You could change this up with two photos: as a baby and today and get customers to connect the two. Family members will come in to look at the photos and vote. A local store could get a real buzz with a promotion like this. While there is no obvious direct sales imperative, the traffic and word of mouth should drive good business.
- Stand up comedy in store. Invite local comedians to try out their stand up routines with your customers. While you would need to be careful about content, such an event would show the store supporting local artists and it could bring some fun to quiet retail times.
- Crazy tie day. While this has been done before plenty of times, you could kick it up with an amazing tie display – collect these from local Goodwill stores, invite customers to donate. As with the theme days idea, interact with customers and offer a prize for the best / worst. This tie day ist especially fun given that ties are a thing of the past in business today.
These seven ideas are the tip of the iceberg for in-store promotions. They are designed to kick start your own thinking on engagement ideas that could work well in your situation.
Retail is very much about the shopping experience, especially local indie small business retail. While good customer service and a friendly shopping experience are vital, sometimes it is the wonderful unexpected experience which can get people talking about a business.
Be bold and have fun.
Tower Systems makes software for local specialty retailers, software designed to help you run more successful, valuable and enjoyable businesses. Along the way, we have collected plenty of management and marketing tips. We share them here and in our customer emails from time to time. We hope you find them useful.