What do small towns do in the summer months to bring their communities together and foster relationships? They hold special events—music in the park, ice cream socials, nights out. Retailers, especially small dealers struggling to get attention in the face of rising competition and declining incomes, can do themselves a lot of good by borrowing a few of those ideas. Dealers these days have to get creative, and the best, most successful of them are doing just that.
Take our Retail Excellence Award winners for example. Pennsylvania’s World Wide Stereo regularly holds special promotions from martini tasting events in the showroom to car audio shows at local high schools. New York’s Stereo Advantage includes an outdoor café, beer, wine and free Wi-Fi.
What’s the point of all that? In these times when competition for the consumer dollar is at its highest, dealers need to do everything they can to give a potential buyer an excuse to come through the door. Special events, even ones that aren’t specifically focused around a sale, serve to create a bond between the retailer and the customer. If the event doesn’t result in a lot of immediate purchases, rest assured that when a customer who enjoyed the free music or drink at your store is ready to make a purchase, guess who he or she is going to think of first. That’s real value. And who are they going to recommend to their friends, the store with the bigger sign or the store that sponsored the Guitar Hero contest and sent everyone home with a T-shirt. Ask any book store how important an author book signing is to their business.