How Your Retail Business Can Take Advantage of Local Events
Whether you participate in a large holiday show or a smaller fair, local events like this can build name recognition, attract new customers and boost sales for retail businesses. However, it is not enough to ask for a booth, put out a few flyers and wait for profits to start rolling in. If you want to take advantage of local events, consider the following tips.
Focus on local events first
Although there are shows, fairs and expos across the country, if you have a small retail business, it may be better to start with local events. You can save money on travel and lodging costs by sticking to your city. You can always expand to national shows later, but starting locally will give you a chance to experiment in a safe way.
Evaluate the real value of the event
Some events, such as bridal, home or holiday shows, let you rent a booth and become an exhibitor. Likewise, local expos and fairs usually offer something similar to retailers. You are able to reach your target audience directly at these shows as a participating vendor. However, it is crucial to do your homework first and figure out the real value of the event.
Start by evaluating the audience and making sure they are your ideal customer. What types of people typically visit the show or expo, and would they be interested in your store? Booths and other forms of advertisement at local events can be expensive, so you do not want to waste money on an event that is not going to have potential customers.
Consider sponsoring an event
If you have determined that an event is worth it for your retail business, then think about sponsoring it. Most shows and expos have different sponsorship levels that can fit a variety of budgets. A typical sponsorship offers a more prominent display of your brand name and logo in advertisements, commercials and other content.
Figure out payment systems in advance
Imagine spending months planning your participation in a local event and not being able to accept credit cards because the card reader on your smartphone stops working. Your goal at an expo or show is to make money and show customers you are professional. Figure out your payment systems in advance by investing in a chip and swipe reader from a point of sale system and have a backup plan. Make sure the system you select can take credit cards, debit cards and other forms of payment like Apple or Android Pay.
Plan your booth or exhibit
The best retail booths or exhibits at shows have weeks of planning behind them. Start by figuring out what you will showcase at the event. Even if your retail business is small, you probably will not be able to display every item you sell. Instead, focus on the products that the target audience at the event is likely to enjoy and buy. Then, think about the overall look of your booth or exhibit. You want to it be attractive yet on brand with your store. Consider investing in large professional banners with your brand name and custom printing items. Do not just hand out boring business cards. As an alternative, make brochures, flyers and offer some swag like keychains with your logo.
Consider having a charging station
One of the biggest complaints from attendees at shows is that there never seem to be enough charging stations for their phones and other devices. This is your chance to make people happy while promoting your business. Check if you can set up some charging stations at your booth and purchase some inexpensive ones. You may end up with one of the most popular booths at the show.
Create a raffle or offer prizes
Raffles and prizes can attract new customers to your retail booth at an event. Offer one or two high-priced items for the raffle and announce winners during the show. This can be a fun way to get attention while spreading the word about your store.
Spread the word
You should be proud of participating in a local event, but do not expect the show or expo to do all the advertising for you. Make sure you spread the word about your attendance online and offline. Create flyers, advertise, post on a blog and send invites.
Don’t forget social media at the event
Take advantage of attending a local event by sharing your entire experience on social media. Post updates from the show on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Make sure you use the proper hashtags, so people can find you.
Local events such as expos, shows and fairs can help retail businesses grow. They can help you reach more customers and create buzz around your brand. The key is to approach them strategically and plan ahead.