Five Steps to Planning the Perfect In-Store Event

Written by: Stephanie Scott 

In-store visits are a great way to connect to your consumer, create some buzz, hear feedback from your consumers and get to know your retailer at the store level. Here are our five simple steps to planning a successful personal appearance:

1.     Contact the Store Manager before and upon arrival. Your product may be on the shelf, but you are a guest while at the store. As soon as you have dates for your in-store event selected, contact the buyer to request the day and time. Once approved, you can proceed. On the day of the event, be sure to arrive an hour early, go directly to the counter, introduce yourself and the company that you represent and ask to speak with the manager to let him or her know that you are there. Ask where you can store your coat and bag so that they are off of the selling floor. Use this time to learn from your retail partner. I like to bring any new press hits so that they can see how hard you are working to make the partnership successful and so that you can hear any feedback on their end. Store managers can share which SKU’s are selling the best and how their customers feel about the line. They may share how the customers hear about your brand. This information is valuable and helps to foster the relationship between you and the salespeople who are working so hard to promote your brand.

2.     Promote in local papers and online. National placements are great but when it comes to store events, nothing beats local buzz. Ask your PR pro (or if you’re looking for one, contact First and Last PR) to contact the local newspapers, radio stations, bloggers and television outlets to announce this event in the events section. Offer interviews before the store visit and set up dial-in interviews the days before and leading up to the event.

3.     Offer industry advice – Guests will show up that day to meet the founder or a brand representative for a variety of reasons. Some will want to learn more about the brand, some will want to learn from product demonstrations and others will want a selfie opportunity. This is a great opportunity to really show what the brand is about so show up and show out (as Bruno Mars says). If you’re a skincare specialist, offer mini facials. If you’re debuting a cosmetics line, offer makeovers. Give the visitors something to look forward to that they would not otherwise receive on other days while visiting the store.

4.     Have something special for those who show up.  – As a way to thank consumers for taking the time out of their day to attend the event and to encourage sales, offer a gift with purchase (GWP) and promotional materials that they can take home to enjoy the brand more. Make sure that you have adequate stock and request that your buyer order additional products to plan for the crowd. If allowed, consider having a DJ or lite bites that are aligned with the brand to set the fun mood.

5.     Take plenty of photos – We’re living in the social age so a picture really does go a long way. Create a special hashtag for the event and ask your social media manager to follow the conversation online. Ask consumers to tag you or tag them in the photos. It’s a great way to engage and extend your presence while memorializing the awesome occasion.