At least 41% of marketers maintain that events are the most effective marketing channel over digital advertising, email marketing and content marketing—an increase of 32% since 2017.
Events are certainly a great way for retailers to take advantage of their physical space by entertaining and engaging their customers face-to-face—delivering experiences that go beyond the sell. In fact, between 2017 and 2018, the number of companies hosting 20 or more events per year increased by 17%.
These companies obviously recognize the value of event marketing when it comes to increasing foot traffic, boosting customer loyalty and selling more products and services.
As you know, in-store events aren’t new to the retail world. Department stores hold fashion shows to introduce new clothing lines, while stores like Costco feature lots of tasty food sampling tables.
“Retailers know that these experiences can deliver an emotional connection that stands out against the broader promotional noise with which customers are bombarded online and offline.”
Today’s businesses, however, are more ambitious about event marketing. They’re planning for a year-round calendar of events, offering value-added services that bring them into close contact with shoppers more frequently. You might say they’re aiming to create an event-based culture that combines the power of the physical location with the engagement factor of memorable experiences.
The Benefits of Shifting to an Event-based Culture
As a brick and mortar retailer, it would be worth your while to make the most of your physical location by becoming what JRNI refers to as an ‘experience venue’. In this capacity, you’ll have the opportunity to entertain, inform, and educate customers who will be more naturally inclined to spend.
Here are 5 ways hosting events—in all their forms—can benefit your business:
1. Increase foot traffic to your store
Hosting a compelling event helps attract customers who have never visited your store before, while also providing new reasons for existing customers to make return visits.
“Events are primarily used in customer acquisition and retention and only 14% regard them as a place to make and close deals.”
Even on days when your store isn’t very busy, unique events serve as a viable way of generating foot traffic. By way of example, consider the department store that offers a lot of the same skincare products as its competitors. If that department store invites, say, a popular beauty blogger to demonstrate their preferred products and offer advice to customers regarding their individual beauty concerns, odds are very good that the event will get more bodies in the doors.
And since it’s on a slow day, there will be great opportunities to provide each visitor with more personalized service—a win win senario.
2. Build customer loyalty
Events provide the kind of face-to-face interactions with customers that allow you to discuss products and services in a way that shows your interest in them and their lifestyle—and not just their wallets.
For example, if you were a container/organizing store, you could offer one-to-one consultations with an industry expert that provides customers with tips for decluttering their homes or rearranging trouble areas. When it’s time to purchase items necessary for their organization projects, customers are more likely to return to your store because you spent time focusing on their individual concerns.
3. Raise product awareness
Event marketing helps to eliminate all the online and offline advertising noise bombarding today’s consumers by giving them a chance to try out products first-hand as they socialize with people who have similar interests.
Studies show that 84% of event attendees have a more positive opinion about the company, brand, product or service being promoted after an event.
Smart companies like Lululemon understand this. The company recently opened a 20,000 square foot store in Chicago that not only features space dedicated to clothing, but is also designed to let customers experience it’s classes, health-oriented restaurant, and skin care line.
4. Boost revenue
According to Lead Liaison, 79% of marketers in the U.S. generate sales through event marketing and 52% of business leaders report that event marketing drives more ROI than other marketing channels.
A company that offers free consultations with a personal stylist isn’t just generating the purchase of a special occasion dress or suit, but by extension is also encouraging customers to visit the store’s alteration department, hair salon, and/or accessories counter.
5. Collect customer data and feedback
Data analytics are key in helping businesses like yours understand and reach consumers. That’s why events are so valuable. Where there’s a crowd of customers assembled, there’s an instant focus group just waiting to be tapped.
Not only do customers share personal data when they register for the event, but they can also provide more in-depth feedback and personal opinions during the event.
This information helps brands understand key audience segments which will aid them in creating personalized marketing campaigns in the future.
As Bizzabo points out, 81% of marketers believe that events will become increasingly important to their organization’s success in upcoming years.
That’s because consumers today aren’t judging retailers just by their products, prices, or the proximity of their stores. “What increasingly makes a retailer stand out is the customer experience it offers—an experience that can be given greater clout through events and appointments that showcase its expertise and its commitment to customers,” says JRNI.
Instead of focusing soley on discounts and promotions, smart retailers are benefiting from organizing memorable events that combine customer conversations, industry expertise, and personalized services together in one location.