Creating an exciting retail grand opening or anniversary event requires work upfront, but in the long run will make your store drive sales. Still, this can often be a challenge for small, independent convenience store chains who often lack the promotional power of huge chains. But with some careful planning and strategic attention to detail, your celebration can be just as memorable.
Your goal is to create a buzz in the community that your store is alive and kicking! Here are just a few proven ideas:
Be Buttoned Up: Be smart when you select your grand opening/anniversary date, avoiding holidays and other conflicting events. Develop a budget that provides enough investment to raise customer awareness.
Understand Your Trade Area: To get a leg up on your competition, you need to know everything about them, and this is your chance to differentiate your store from theirs.
Over-Communicate: You are the new kid on the block, so don’t be shy. Over-communicate your upcoming event with signage, public relations and especially word-of-mouth advertising.
Plan Weeklong Activities: Your event should be more than a day so consider having a weeklong celebration with activities planned throughout. Give back to the community by contributing a charitable donation; plan local celebrity appearances; and include daily events.
Get Known: Make the rounds at local chamber of commerce meetings and other community events to network in advance of your grand opening or anniversary.
Create A Party Atmosphere: It’s your party — make it memorable. Create a party ambiance with balloons, streamers, mascots, giveaways, etc.
Make It Last: Lastly, cement your event by sending out thank-you cards to all key contacts and customers who attended to make sure you keep your sales momentum going.
A successful grand opening or anniversary event should be a part of an ongoing local store marketing strategy that every retailer should develop and be committed to year-round.
View this slideshow for more tips on how to make your event a success.
John Matthews is the president and CEO of Gray Cat Enterprises and is responsible for the management of all consulting activities for the firm, which include retail consulting for multiunit operations; interim executive management; and project management. Prior to founding his own company in 2004, Matthews held senior management positions as president of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches and as VP of marketing, merchandising, facilities, corporate communications, and real estate at Clark Retail Enterprises, Inc. Additionally, Matthews worked for nine years in marketing management as the national marketing director of the Little Caesars Pizza Corporation.