First impressions count … Even when it comes to organizing the inauguration of a shop: some tips to start off on the right foot and take over once the trust of potential customers …
The inauguration of a shop is perhaps the most important day for the beginning of a new business, because it will be decisive in defining its identity and its values. And with them, her success. It is therefore essential that everything is planned in advance and in detail, then taking a well in advance and evaluating every aspect of this crucial moment.
Use your network of contacts
Obviously, the purpose of an inauguration is to attract more people as possible : each of us, setting foot in a store (or a local) vacuum, warns the first thing a sense of uncertainty and mistrust. An empty space is an omen of doom, remember.
To be able to muster a real crowd, you will need to draw from in the first place for all your personal contacts, both from a personal point of view and from the professional. If you’ve had previous professional experiences, gather your former colleagues and employers, if you have attended training courses or otherwise related to your business, invite fellow students and teachers. Of course, relatives and friends, they can perhaps give you a psychological and moral support at a time so challenging to the start of your new adventure.
Be sure to invite local authorities, the mayor in the first place. Though it may seem anachronistic, do not forget the pastor of your church or neighborhood of the commander. We have still some traditions remain, moreover even if your target audience should be very young at the end may be the parents and even grandparents to finance purchases of your audience. In addition, the presence of the authorities will grant you most likely a short article if not a genuine article in the local press, which is good for sure.
Put that something will go wrong
This is not pessimism, but of pragmatism. Anything can happen. A black out, a few bumps in the catering refreshments, the intrusion of any side to be removed without creating havoc, or just a shower that can discourage people to leave home …
Draw up a checklist with everything you can think of that could go wrong, talk to your co-workers and elaborate a plan B in case.
Think about the right way to encourage customers to return
If it already is not easy to attract customers for the first time, it is still not easy to get them back. Offer discount coupons that you can use on their next visit. Although it is possible that the opening day you can already do in sales, your success will be determined influence future customers. A small incentive will certainly be more useful.
And please, unless it is not really something exclusive and extremely useful, avoids free gifts and gadgets : are things that in most cases end up in oblivion, or thrown in the first trash outside of your store.
Establish a model professional communication strategy well in advance
Avoid DIY or suggestions of the wife of your cousin who studied 15 days Communication in London and she knows everything. The image and the presentation of your store should be entrusted to professionals, and therefore should be covered in your business plan from the beginning.
Even if you are able to perfectly master the various social networks, is not enough. You may have the need for a website, definitely a coordinated image, maybe a specific PR plan for the inauguration, to be able to continue your activities exploiting already at full capacity all of these media.
Get ready for a huge crowd
Certainly a fact desirable, but an excess of presence to your inauguration could be counterproductive. If a customer fails to come into your store because there’s too many people, it may be encouraged to return, but might also find it annoying and irritating. Again, you must be able to anticipate this eventuality.
For example, providing for a limited and organizing a private event personal invitation. This possibility will have a potential in communication and attract the curiosity of those who, once opened your business, you will go to see and touch this new reality so exclusive.
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Seeks the support of trade associations
Adhering to some association, both nationally and locally you will benefit from a support network, which often includes the printing and dissemination of printed publications, the news spread to one or more websites and through social networks, the good connections with the local press, the discounts on the implementation and dissemination of leaflets, postcards, posters and street saying.
It goes without saying that local representatives of these associations should be absolutely on your list of VIP guests.
An inauguration may involve lot of stress, for you and for your employees. Be prepared, loads, motivated. On that day your potential customers will make their first impression is that it is not the last. This holds true for any external consultants hired for the occasion, such as those involved in the music or refreshments.
On this occasion the musician rolling drunk from the stage to the third song or the inexperienced waiter spilling a tray of Bellini on a wheelchair can harm you as much as the salesman who responds poorly to a customer.
Carefully selects all staff and suppliers, gives precise guidelines, review all the problems that could develop in a way that everyone knows how to react in the right way to an unexpected or emergency. And remember, you will always be better to have spent money to one or two more people even if at the end of the day you realize that you could do without it, than to risk finding you in the opposite situation.
Scan multiple contacts that you can
Your first day of opening is your first opportunity to establish an ongoing relationship with your customers. Try to develop their contacts, and in particular their email address, is the first thing you need to think.
Now there is less suspicion than once to leave their email address. Almost all of us we have more than one, so the request to fill out a form or simply provide the name, last name and email address you do not much trouble. It can be the checkout staff to request this information at the time of purchase, or you can think of putting a person at the door that requires this data to clients who are coming out of the store.
Sometimes it can be enough a simple “To stay informed about our offers and promotions,” but if there is a benefit particularly for sure people will be better prepared to provide their data.
The ability to receive immediately a discount coupon for the next purchase, or something even more tempting as the opportunity to win a gift card is always a great incentive. And do not forget the privacy release. A firmament and you’re done!
Expect a loyalty program
Talk about customer loyalty from the first opening day may seem premature. Let’s say that it is not appropriate. You should think about it before the inauguration. Prepare to time a good number of loyalty cards that enable people who come into possession of being able to take advantage of the long-term benefits: a permanent discounts, or a particular bonus after reaching a certain spending threshold are always very attractive solutions for a customer.
The loyalty card is also the perfect incentive to collect customer data, and if advertised properly can be a great boost to entice the public to show up to your grand opening, for example by communicating that “the first 100 visitors will receive a free fidelity card”.
Create an ad hoc buzz
The inauguration of your business should be perceived as a real event, it must be communicated as such. We want to assume that you’ve done before you even develop your business plan, market research, in which you have made of your target audience analysis and the elements to which it is particularly sensitive.
Well, it uses all the data you have available and turn them into communication arguments to promote your inauguration. Your goal is to touch all the right chords to stimulate the curiosity and interest of your target audience. Then, taking advantage of all the resources that you have allocated to guarantee a communication to all serious round, incisive and professional, you will need to make sure that the public not only knows your inauguration, but that cannot wait to reach that point.