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8 examples of in-store events that bring in customers

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Customer events are an amazing way to generate genuine excitement, entice new prospects and build more loyal customers for your business. But how do you come up with an event concept that makes people want to attend and then spread the word amongst their personal community?

Here are 8 examples of in-store events that drove in customers.

Product launch party

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Inviting loyal customers to the launch of a new product is a great way of making customers feel valued whilst also exposing them to the next big product. By offering the opportunity to attend a product launch and experience the item before it goes on general sale is a great way of rewarding the loyalty of your customers

One brand that mastered the product launch experience is Chanel, who enticed customers to their pop-up store on London’s luxury shopping nerve center Bond Street. They invited customers to not only see, but experience their new scent. The event offered customers the chance to learn about Gabrielle Chanel, more commonly known as Coco Chanel, who is the inspiration for the fragrance.

The experience also included workshops which allowed customers to experience the fragrance further, including talks about the flowers used to create the scent and an in-depth delve into the inspiration. Chanel also offered customers the chance to book onto these workshop in advance which supported the campaign and created useful customer data for the retailer to use for future events.

Book signings

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Barnes & Noble, one of the USA’s longest established bookstores, has managed to hold its ground during the dot com revolution. And this is because they are offering customers something that the online giants simply can’t: The opportunity to spend time in their cosy and welcoming stores.

The events that are attracting the customers in-store are most often book signings with well known authors and celebrities, who each attract their own following of dedicated supporters into the store. Barnes & Noble can use these opportunities to sell customers book that the author is promoting in order to get it signed.

This line of defence against the online retailers is having a remarkable impact on Barnes & Noble’s in-store presence, with the amount of brick and mortar stores rising from around 650 in 2015 to 781 in 2017.

Barnes & Noble have been able to re-market their physical space a place to come and meet authors, attend classes and even take a comfortable seat whilst browsing for your next read. The result of this is that people are spending more time in-store whilst also building a stronger connection with the brand.

VIP

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Making your most valuable customers feel special is a guaranteed way to keep them coming back time and time again.

Last Christmas, Selfridges introduced some very festive events that made their customers feel VIP, including breakfast with Santa, an instore pantomime and ‘Elfridges’ personal shoppers who could assist with lists ‘big or small’.

By offering customers the opportunity to access these services and events, usually reserved for those with a higher budget, Selfridges were able to make all their customers feel valued and appreciated.

Holiday events

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By tapping into holidays and seasons, for example Christmas or thanksgiving, brands can attract customers in store who are looking for a special experience. Many retailers are now tapping into this event opportunity so you wouldn’t want to be the one to miss out!

Westfield shopping centre are cashing in on the magic of Christmas with a special grotto for children and adults to visit in the run up to the big day. By creating a bigger and better grotto experience than its competitors, Westfield is attracting shoppers that may have normally gone to a different shopping mall.

Educational

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Many retailers with a particular area of expertise or a niche are attracting customers in store for educational learning experiences, not only bringing customers in-store but also promoting themselves as experts in their field.

Mothercare is a global retailer for parents and young children currently operates over 1,100 stores across four regions - Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. They are increasing the in-store footfall by offering their customers, new and expecting families, the opportunity to attend in-store classes to learn about childcare from experts. These events also allow new and expectant parents to meet others in the same situation, and the Mothercare stores have become a community hub for these people to meet, learn and share their experiences.

The classes are available to book online through a bespoke system created by BookingBug, which allows Mothercare to see exactly who is attending the events and lets customers to join a waiting list for classes with no availability.

Social / Experiential

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Experiential giving now forms a massive part of the global gift market, with 75% of gifters saying they would prefer to give someone an unforgettable experience rather than a hit-or-miss material gift. Retailers that can offer an experiential event are gaining more of this lucrative market whilst introducing new customers to the brand.

Waitrose Cookery School are doing a great job of cracking the experiential giving market with cooking lessons ranging from Knife Skills to Bao - Steamed Buns and Churros and Hot Chocolate. Since opening the first cooking school in 2010, Waitrose have expanded and opened up two more with an average of 1,700 bookings a month.

The ability to purchase gift vouchers for the Cookery School, or buy a loved one a full day experience through existing retailers, has given Waitrose the ability to reach new potential customers and expose them to their product range, all whilst the customer is enjoying themselves.

Charity

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Events for the greater good are always very popular as they have the ‘do good, feel good’ element. Often, customers are willing to spend a little bit more if it’s for a good cause. Affiliating the brand with a charity that is also close to your customers’ hearts makes the brand more personable and in return encourages loyalty.

Hamleys are showing their customers the true meaning of Christmas with ‘Mission Christmas, Cash for Kids’ campaign. Customers are encouraged to bring in toys or buy at a discounted rate in store to give to children who are less fortunate over the festive period.

Bring a friend event

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Word-of-mouth has remained one of the strongest marketing tools for retailers for all time. People are known to value recommendations from family or friends over any other form of advertising and brands are capitalizing on this with ‘bring-a-friend’ events.

IKEA held a Bring Your Own Friend event, or "BYOF" for short, and invited followers of their Facebook page to "like" the event page to see the secret deals available to people who brought their friends to the event in-store. Those Facebookers then could invite their friends through the site, increasing brand visibility during the promotion. Once in store, IKEA offered the friends free food, discounted rates and a chance to win a shopping spree.

Want to continue learning about retail events? Download our free eBook, Transforming the Customer Experience Through In-Store Events here.

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