Introducing your new store to the all-important three-mile radius surrounding it through a solid grand opening is the single greatest first step you can make. Creating an exciting retail environment requires work upfront, but in the long run will make your store start off on the right foot in your community. It is critical to make a great first impression to both the community as well as your individual customers-and jump-start sales.
Your goal is to create a buzz in the community that your store is now open and ready for business. Successful grand openings attract enough new customers to your retail establishment, with the goal of providing these customers excellent service and products that will have them returning again and again. Here are just a few proven ideas that help retailers kick off their initial sales:
Be Buttoned Up: First, be smart when you select your grand opening date, avoiding holidays and other conflicting events. Develop a budget that provides enough investment to raise maximum customer awareness–and by all means, make sure you comply with local ordinances and obtain any necessary permits.
Understand Your Trade Area: To get a leg up on your competition, you need to know everything about them and your grand opening is your chance to differentiate your store from theirs. In addition, identify key businesses and residential areas to promote your store, positioning your store for its greatest success.
Over-Communicate: You are the new kid on the block, so don’t be shy! Over-communicate your upcoming grand opening with signage, public relations, social media and especially word-of-mouth advertising. This is your chance to scream from the mountaintop–don’t be timid!
Plan Week-Long 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 during your celebration; plan local celebrity appearance to attract crowds; and include daily events that draw a cross-section of different target-customer demographics.
Get Known: Make the rounds at local chamber of commerce meetings and other community events to network in advance of your grand opening. Create and communicate precisely your brand and upcoming grand opening through advertising and local media coverage.
Create A Party Atmosphere: It’s your party–make it memorable! Create a party ambiance with balloons, streamers, mascots, giveaways, etc. Like with any successful party, though, make a thorough things-to-do checklist to ensure everything runs according to your grand opening plan.
Make It Last: Lastly, cement your grand opening goodwill by sending out thank-you cards to all key contacts and customers who attended. After your grand opening excitement begins to subside, make sure you keep your sales momentum going through ongoing local store marketing and social media posts.
Most store owners get into retail because they have a love for both people and the products they sell. They build their stores, hire friendly staff, unlock the doors and wait for the world to come in. The question in their minds isn’t if customers will come, but when. All too often, retail business owners fall victim to “the new guy” syndrome: they build a new store, open their doors, and rest on their laurels only to see their sales erode–rapidly.
A successful grand opening is just the start of an ongoing local store marketing strategy that every retailer should develop and be committed to year-round. It’s easy to get excited when your store first becomes visible to customers during your grand opening, but it’s another thing to generate this customer excitement some two years later. Don’t fall for “the new guy” syndrome-develop strong local store marketing strategies to maintain your store’s sales momentum well beyond your initial period.
Want more ideas? For more information on killer Grand Openings, visit the Gray Cat store at: https://graycatenterprises.com/store/