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5 in-store events to engage with customers

5 in-store events to engage with customers

With the rising popularity of online shopping, brick and mortar retailers are faced with the challenge of getting customers off the couch and into their stores. The ability to host in-store events is one huge advantage that physical retailers have over online shops. An in-store event gets your customer excited to visit your store, creating an emotional connection as the customer leaves your event not only with some holiday purchases, but with lasting memories. Here are 5 clever ideas for holiday in-store events for brick and mortar retailers.

1. Gift wrapping workshop

 (image courtesy  thepreppypostgrad.com )

(image courtesy thepreppypostgrad.com)

 (image courtesy  stylelogistics )

(image courtesy stylelogistics)

Retail employees quickly become gift-wrapping experts after their first holiday season, and often have a reputation among family and friends as being a gift-wrapping guru when it comes time to present holiday presents with style. Why not take advantage of this specialized knowledge and share it with customers by hosting an in-store gift-wrapping tutorial?

A gift-wrapping tutorial gives customers the chance to engage their creativity and learn a new skill that they’ll remember for years to come. Make your event extra engaging by including a DIY element. For example, using simple black kraft paper and some white markers, shoppers have the chance to create their own unique, chalkboard-inspired designs. Or, use brown kraft paper, paint, twine, and some simple sprigs of holiday greenery to create a rustic-chic, minimalist look.

If you need some more DIY gift wrap inspiration, HGTV has 40 great ideas.

 

2.    DIY holiday card workshop

 (image courtesty  buzzfeed )

(image courtesty buzzfeed)

A holiday card is a great way to show you care, even from far away. Help your customers maintain important connections with family and friends by hosting a DIY holiday card workshop. A do-it-yourself card says so much more than a standard drug-store greeting card. Showing your customers how to make their own creative cards is a low-cost, simple activity that is fun and engaging. Even kids can get involved!

You can give folks a head-start by providing some pre-printed templates, like a simple, minimalist Christmas tree that kids (and the young-at-heart) can decorate with fun watercolor paints. Or provide some twine and fresh herb cuttings to create unique mini-wreaths.

If you need some more inspiration for do-it-yourself holiday cards, Buzzfeed has a handy list of 49 ideas for you.

 (image courtesy  frolic-blog )

(image courtesy frolic-blog)

3. Tree decorating workshop

 (image courtesy  removeandreplace )

(image courtesy removeandreplace)

Decorating the Christmas tree for the year is perhaps one of the most important holiday traditions for many families. Who doesn’t have warm memories of hanging ornaments or crafting decorations as a kid? That’s why hosting a Christmas tree decorating workshop is a great way to create an emotional connection with your holiday shoppers and draw them into your store.

Your workshop can cover certain basics that most folks might overlook. The chart above highlights the various features of different varieties of Christmas trees, which can help shoppers pick the tree best suited for their needs.

We also found this great infographic that provides a good rule of thumb for figuring out how many lights, ornaments, and garland you’ll need to create a picture perfect tree. Remember, for every 1 foot of tree height, you’ll need approximately 100 lights, 9 feet of garland, and 20 ornaments. Of course, this will vary somewhat based on the width and fullness of individual Christmas trees and due to personal preferences, but it’s a good start.

You can also help customers pick a theme for their tree which will help them focus their creative abilities. For example, an “elegant” themed Christmas tree might focus on white twinkle lights, gold and silver ornaments, and a traditional tree skirt. A “whimsical” themed Christmas tree might use colored lights, bright colors such as reds, blues, and greens, and a more on-trend tree skirt. A “rustic” theme can use non-traditional garlands, such as burlap, and hand-crafted ornaments, like old-fashioned strings of hand-strung popcorn and cranberries. 

 (image courtesy  styleathome )

(image courtesy styleathome)

4. Cookies for Santa recipe contest

Holding a contest can be a way more fun and interactive way of offering an in-store discount than simply issuing a coupon or marking down merchandise. It draws customers into your store and gets shoppers to engage with your brand.

Consider holding a “Cookies for Santa” recipe contest. Ask shoppers to bring in their favorite cookie recipes for Christmas eve treats for Santa and his reindeer. Then, you and store employees can pick the best recipe and award the winner with a store gift certificate.

Also consider offering a discount to everyone who submits a recipe as a way to encourage folks to enter! 

 (image courtesy  indulgy )

(image courtesy indulgy)

5. Hold a canned food drive or a coat drive

 (image courtesy  themodernmrsblog )

(image courtesy themodernmrsblog)

The holidays are just as much about giving as they are about getting. Hosting a canned food drive or a coat drive is a great way to show your connection to the community and to give something back.

Reach out to a local non-profit to see if they’d be interested in partnering with you on this event. Consider soup kitchens, churches, food pantries, non-profit led thrift stores, and organizations that serve the homeless. Most organizations welcome the extra help, especially around the holidays.

To encourage shoppers to bring donations in, consider offering a discount as a reward for doing so. This shows that you care about both your shoppers and the larger community.

If you need some help setting up your coat drive or canned food drive, dosomething.org has a list of great questions to ask charitable organizations when you’re considering partnering with them and some ideas on how to promote your event. While aimed at community-minded school children, it’s still a good starting point for small retailers who may not have partnered with charitable organizations in the past. 


By hosting one of these in-store holiday events, you’ll be sure to draw shoppers into your store this holiday season. By hosting a fun, hands-on event, you’ll be sure to make an emotional connection with shoppers that will have them coming back to your store for years to come. 

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