As a very loyal reader of my amazing blog (I'm taking self-esteem courses now, you can tell, right?) you all know me as the event planner.
But I also have a second business, So-Phi. It is a new and small fashion brand. It does not make me rich (yet!), but it teaches me so much about the world of fashion and retail. And even more : it convinces me that event marketing is the future of retail.
Let me explain.
We sell online and through a couple of great concept stores, hairdressers and beauty shops. In this process I see a lot of retailers struggling to survive. They are struggling on two sides : a huge cost of investment (staffing, rental, fixed costs, stock,...) and on the other hand a changing world of (online) shopping, where the customer is looking for a winwin situation. And by "winwin", I mean that the customer wants to win twice - on price and on convenience.
On the other hand, it is too easy to complain and to say that it is "all the fault of online shopping".
I think retailers, shops, must reinvent themselves, and not only think of themselves as resellers of products. Because that my friends, that is what you do online with a glass of wine in the couch.
It is here that I am convinced that the principles of event marketing come into play.
Ok, off course, you all know the classics that you hear on all congresses : more focus on customer experience, more branding, more innovation, blablabla - it is all theory, and no one of you knows what to do with it, right?
I will try to give you some REAL value and some real advice to apply to your shop.
According to me, it starts by being really customer centric. I mean, really customer centric. That means that if it is cheaper and quicker and better for your customer to buy online : let her buy online. help her, give her advice, and propose solutions. You could offer her to get the products delivered in the shop, etc. Thàt is real customer centricity : doing what is best for your client. No worries, you might lose some money on that first transaction, but you will get rich on the long term.
After that start, you need to develop and determine your brand DNA. That's right, your shop is the brand. Not the brands that you sell are the brand, YOUR SHOP is the brand. that means you need to think as a brand, and set a clear strategy : positioning, target group, unique selling proposition, value proposition, etc. You need to make that exercice to position yourself as a brand with a clear personality and a clear message.
When you have determined your brand DNA, you develop a highly experiential shop. You design your shop in a creative way so that your brand message is clear to all the people entering your shop. Make it unique, creative and personal. Remember, you and your shop are the brand.
A very important add-on : the human touch. As long as robots are not more empathetic than humans (that time is coming, though), you have 1 huge advantage : you are human, and you can interact with your customer in a very human and personal way. That means you need to train yourself AND you need to train your staff. It is about warmth, friendliness, real customer centricity and relationships. Remember the time of your grandparents. When they went to the butcher or the hairdresser, that retailer knew all about them. Their taste, their life, their ambitions, their fears,... That is what you need to do : get personal. Care. Now!
Finally, you need to be relevant as a shop. Not only by the products you sell and the amazing staff you have, but also by being relevant to People and Planet. Try to be an added value to the community around you. Not for a good cause. For the ones living around your shop. You know what makes you different than an online outlet shop? You have a physical place!
Think about what you could offer : you could rent your shop as an event venue. For brands, for neighbours, but also for creative students who would like to expose their first creations. Or for start up brands who would like to do a 1 day activation.
You could also make room for a table where people can have meetings. Or do some coworking.
Be creative. Think about what you could do with your space.
So, these were some ideas on how to incorporate the principles of event marketing on your retail store.
Hope this was useful to you? If it was, please share this with your friends and colleagues. It would mean the world to me.
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