Top 10 Tips for Hosting a Successful In-Store Event - NHSD EditionTop 10 Tips for Hosting a Successful In-Store Event – NHSD Edition – Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to host a great in-store event please allow me, to give you a brief description of my background and experience.

I have enjoyed working with different types of events since I was in my teens. Through this, I discovered that my passion is really seeing other people enjoy their passions. I get great fulfillment of purpose and joy in event management by helping to bring people together to enjoy and share in those various pursuits.

When I worked for Upper Deck, where I did all things events, that was my fast and furious intro to all things collecting! Through all my years in events, I have never met a group of people more passionate than collectors and it was infectious! I am so excited to now be here with GTS Distribution and to be helping all of you with a great return to National Hobby Shop Day!!

I have found that the two most important things needed to put on a successful event are: 1) to have a complete understanding of your target customer and 2) defining the goal of the event. Understanding how those two things work together is the key.

You already have an intimate understanding of your current customer, what keeps them coming back, and what keeps them engaged. However, the goal of the event will vary from store to store. Yes, of course, every shop has an overarching desire of making more sales. However, there may be many different goals for the event aside from revenue.

One goal might be to use NHSD as a simple thank you to current customers. Another might be using it as a way to reintroduce in-store events following COVID. Others might be to get new collectors into the shop or increase social media following and engagement. Still another could be simply having as much fun as possible with your customers.

The list of potential goals for an event can be endless. Whatever your specific goal, if you identify it and can successfully engage your customers, then the increase in sales will come as a natural by-product. That being said, here are a some of my tips and tricks to help you achieve your own event goals!

Top 10 Tips for Hosting a Successful In-Store Event – NHSD Edition

1. Make a list! I swear by to-do lists. The secret of event success is well-implemented checklists. There is no way to remember everything one must do, leading up to an event, or on the day of the event. Keep your list handy and add to it as you go. I usually keep notes and reminders on my phone to ensure that I don’t forget important things. Then once the event is over you can modify and update the list for next year and your life will be even easier.

2. Order/purchase refreshments ahead of time. Have a plan for getting your food and drinks ordered in advance and how you are going to get them to the shop. That could be by designating a staff member to go and pick it up or by getting it delivered. This becomes one less thing to worry about the day of.

3. Clean & organize your shop. I know that there never seems to be a good time to take time out of the business day to clean up the shop. If you’ve been waiting for a reason to do it, this is it!

When all of the promotion of the event pays off and you have a shop full of customers, who maybe haven’t been in the shop for a while, you want them to feel welcome and be able to find what they’re looking for easily.

Also, a clean organized shop gives you more space to use for the event. Clear out any clutter, any empty product boxes that can be discarded, dust, sweep, vacuum, mop, reorganize the product that you are trying to promote and put that front and center.

Trust me, I hate cleaning more than most but it has a direct impact on how collectors feel in your shop.

4. Promote! Promote! Promote! And when in doubt Promote some more!! We have become a society with short attention spans; skimmers and not readers and aisles with infinite options. As a result, you have significantly less time to grab someone’s focus and attention than ever.

To counter that, you need to get in front of people more frequently to get them to take action. Numerous business studies show that the more engaged a customer, or potential customer is, the more successful you will be at getting them to purchase from you.

The key is staying top of mind when there are so many alternative choices out there for consumers to choose to spend their time and money. Email blasts, social media posts, printed marketing pieces at your counter, reminder cards are all great ways to get the word out there and stay top of mind.

5. Free advertising is the best advertising! Incentivize your customers and social media followers to share your posts on Instagram and other social media pages. If you are going to be raffling prizes you could offer additional raffle tickets if they share the post to their social pages.

If you aren’t on social media or your customer isn’t on social media, there are other things you can do. One idea is to offer additional raffle tickets if they bring a friend or family member with them that hasn’t come in before. We naturally trust the word of people we are close with. A loyal customers’ recommendation is one of the best forms of marketing.

6. Create an event on your Facebook page and invite your followers. This is a quick way to get social media working for you! Once you have created the event and your customers and followers are invited, it will also start showing up on other people’s pages as an event they might be interested in attending. How? Because they have attended similar events or visited similar Facebook pages. Brilliant!

7. Take pictures! The first thing that gets forgotten during a busy event is pictures. I’ve done it countless times and it is always my biggest regret. Designate, ahead of time (great item to add to the list), a staff member, spouse, your child, friend, loyal customer etc. to take pictures throughout the event.

Hobby Shop Prizes 768x576

There are several benefits to taking pictures.  If you are posting pictures during and after your event and other collectors see what they missed, it could be the reminder they need to get them into the shop. At the very least, they will be sure to not miss the next event! Also, GTS and our vendor partners would love to be able to post and share your photos and the success of each of your events. We need you to take pictures to be able to do that.

8. Multiple raffle prize boxes. Instead of having one bucket to draw out of for all the different raffle items you might be drawing from during the event, put out a box for each item or bundles of items so that people can pick what their tickets go towards.

This can be started before the event as collectors are qualifying for raffle tickets. As you know, not all collectors are fans of the same things so this way they can increase their odds of getting something they really want, and you increase the feeling of satisfaction in your customer.

9. Don’t give away everything on event day. Use National Hobby Shop Day as a kickoff. Then keep the momentum going for a week by giving away some of the bigger prizes the following Saturday. The best way to increase business over time is to keep customers engaged and this does just that! It also gives people who might have been busy on the day of the event an ability to participate. (Thanks for the great tip Mike’s Stadium Sportscards!!)

10. Incentivize purchases of slower moving inventory. This is an opportunity to promote products that aren’t selling as well by giving more raffle tickets for purchasing them. That way you can move product without having to discount it.

**Bonus Tip** HAVE FUN!!!! At the end of the day, this is really the most important thing. This event is designed to bring collectors together to have fun and engage in something we all have in common, the love of collecting!  Get creative with interactive games, pack wars, spin wheels, raffles throughout the day, photo ops, whatever you can think of to engage your customers to make it a memorable day!!

 

Top 10 Tips for Hosting a Successful In-Store Event – NHSD Edition

Sarah Martin
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