Properties & Leasing

How to engage customers through in-store events

Posted by: Jen Maisch Jen Maisch
on February 27, 2015

Getting customers through the door is half the battle. So what are businesses doing to attract customers to their shops? A recent trend shows retail chains hosting events to entice customers and boost sales. These in-store events vary by store and brand but they all have the same goal in mind–get the consumer in the store and keep them there.

Here are some of our favorite examples of recent in-store events:

ELFSTRAVAGANT: Children decorate cookies at Wonder Works Elfstravaganza holiday event.

Getting crafty. One of the more popular types of events we’ve seen is the hosting of arts and crafts sessions in store. At an Elfstravaganza holiday event hosted by Wonder Works toy store at Kimco’s St. Andrew’s Shopping Center, children enjoyed face painting, writing letters to Santa, decorating snow cookies, and creating outdoor holiday ornaments. Brands like Pottery Barn Kids and Michaels often hold these events to drive both parents and children inside. Some are free to attend, while others require a small fee for the attendee to cover supply costs. Overall, hosting a crafting event in store is inexpensive for both the retailer and the consumer and gives customers a reason to spend an extended period of time at your location, while offering fun for the whole family.

IN-STORE FUN: Healthy cooking classes attract customers to The Pomegranate Café.

Educational demonstrations. Some retailers take a more practical approach when hosting events at their locations and promote their products directly through the event. Companies like Microsoft and The Home Depot regularly host educational events that feature their own products and allow the consumer to test out the goods with the experts. Other stores like Ace Hardware will welcome manufacturers of popular grills to do in-store cook-offs and demonstrations. The Pomegranate Café in Kimco’s Plaza @ Mountainside, for example, hosts healthy cooking classes, meditation nights, and health and wellness lectures. These experts know their products and services in-and-out and can properly respond to consumer inquiries on the spot. Interactive events not only attract and retain foot traffic, but also influence customer purchases by allowing them the opportunity to see and feel what the product has to offer.

In-store giveaways. Depending on what your brand offers, in-store giveaways might be a viable option for your location. These events are simple to run and will drive customers into the store, but tend to be the most costly of the in-store event options. Retailers like Toys “R” Us hold giveaway events at their many locations knowing that they will increase traffic to the store and families will most likely leave the event with an additional purchase. Keep that added bonus in mind when planning your next in-store giveaway.

LIVE ENTERTAINMENT: Shoppers enjoyed music while checking out the new Fresh Thyme Farmers Market during its Fairview City Centre grand opening.

The ultimate customer experience. Providing an out-of-the-ordinary experience will cause customers to flock to your location. Snowopolis, a dessert restaurant located in Kimco’s Montebello Town Square, holds a photo shoot for its customers once a month with a different celebrity that’s big in the area to keep Snowopolis a trendy location. Events that contain an aspect of entertainment bring consumers in to your store, even potential shoppers who haven’t previously visited. At the Fresh Thyme Farmers Market grand opening in Kimco’s Fairview City Centre, shoppers were entertained with live music, face painting and other activities, and of course, delicious food. With these types of events, shoppers will browse your products and take advantage of your services while being simultaneously entertained.

Another example is Macy’s annual Flower Show, which takes place every year at several of the chain’s largest and most popular locations. The springtime show takes place over the course of several days and features incredible floral art, in-store presentations, and live music, among other activities. For a less extravagant idea, hosting local musicians and artists in store is a great opportunity to welcome members of your community.

If you are considering hosting an event at your location, here are five tips to help make your event a success:

  • Ensure the event is targeted to your consumer base
  • Promote the event well in advance to both consumers and local media
  • Prepare all employees for potential situations during the event
  • Practice the highest level of customer service
  • Receive feedback from attendees for future events

Have you hosted an exciting in-store event or do you have one planned for this year? We’d love to hear about it! Send us an email, or leave a comment below.


Great ideas in this! It’s great to get customers excited about your business. Thanks for sharing!

February 27, 2015

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