5 Retail Store Opening Tips and Ideas for Your Business (2023)

Let's talk about housewarming ceremonies. You probably love shopping online as much as everyone else, but there is something special about visiting your favorite store in person.

Whether it's your local bookstore, a record store, or a foodie favorite you just can't get past, there's something special about retail stores that eCommerce can't quite match.

Well, if you're a retail business owner, multiply that sense of well-being by ten. Actually talking to customers. Interact with them directly in your store. And help them find the perfect product they're looking for. These are things you probably brought to retail in the first place.

But doing business in the physical retail landscape has been a stopover for many of you since the pandemic began. Luckily more and moreRetail stores can openwith more confidence now as many (slowly) learn to adapt to the post-pandemic era.

So let's talk about going back to business, with grand openings and reopenings.

In this article we talk about:

  • Why Grand Openings can be helpful for you
  • Why big reopenings work too
  • Five more tips for the big event
  • And how a good POS system can help.

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What are openings and why are they useful?

Amid curbside pickup, online shopping, and the convenience of home delivery, retailers need to celebrate shoppers' thirst for in-person experiences.

This is the vision ofCarrie Habel, senior manager at Parker Avery, a retail and consumer goods consulting firm. "Growth events can reinforce brands wanting to connect on a personal level," Habel said.

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By hosting a special event that lets your customers know you're staying, you can generate buzz in your store, increase walk-in traffic, and market your business to future leads.

Major post-pandemic reopenings

While new stores often turn to opening ceremonies to get the PR revenue they generate, there's no reason existing stores can't use a reopening event to achieve the same goals.

"As stores opened after the pandemic, I also saw reopening events," said Hillary Senko Cullum, aWholesale and retail consultantfocuses on increasing sales and profits for brands and retailers.

Physical retail has been reinvented by our experiences over the past year and growing reliance on e-commerce, Cullum believes. “While consumers have shifted their traffic and spending online, having a brick-and-mortar presence and store is still incredibly important. The role of the store is changing.”

That means metrics likethe successvonsales per square meterare only partially relevant according to Cullum. "The success of a store or brick-and-mortar location must now go beyond sales, as the purpose of the store is to serve as marketing, as a service center, and as a fulfillment center," she said.

Opening (and reopening) ideas.

So what do you need to know when considering a reopening event?

Here are six tips to help you prepare.

1. Balance your event budget

Openings have many advantages. Think of presence, foot traffic and public relations opportunities. Not to mention speaking to customers in person again.

But you should keep an eye on the cost of the event and your projected return on investment. "It's important to align marketing and events spend with planned sales," Cullum said. And others agree.

"Planning a grand opening can mean holding a large event on the day to attract stakeholders and tour the venue," said Ben Reynold, CEO and Founder ofCertain Dividend. "But you can get into financial trouble if you don'tCreate a budget and spending capfor this reason."

2. Promote the event on social media

a well thought out onemarketing strategyis a big part of opening or reopening a retail store as a Lightspeed customerCapitol Nutritionprove. The company partnered with a fitness influencerexpand the reach of social mediaits grand reopening in May 2021, as explained by John Frigo, the company's head of digital marketing.

"We did a 20% store-wide sale and also had PJ Braun, a fitness influencer and owner of supplement company Blackstone Labs, come in store," Frigo said. Braun signed products, answered questions and held a meet-and-greet with Capitol Nutrition customers.

“Getting PJ Braun was great as he is very popular on Instagram and in the fitness and bodybuilding community so getting him out was a huge win. We also had him promote the event on his social media,” Frigo said. The company also used Facebook and Google Adwords ads to promote the event to people interested in fitness, health and nutritional supplements nearby.

Bryan Philips, head of marketing for the agencyMarketing in motion, believes that social media marketing is key to a successful opening or re-opening event in 2021. “Creating well-informed and creative content will capture the attention of your potential customers. This, combined with the promise of a good deal or a good time, should help them decide whether to attend," he said.

3. Collaborate with other retailers

Partnering with other stores also allows you to attract more people to your event.Moriartys Jewelery, a family-owned jewelry company based in Indiana, has done just that. Moriarty's has announced its reopening to target specific demographics in the company's hometown, said Jeff Moriarty, the company's marketing manager.

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“We've partnered with a local brewery and local shops to help spread the word too. In addition, we have sent emails, text messages and postcards to our previous clients to let them know we are open for business. It wasone of our biggest sales days in 2021“, disse Moriarty.

“For small businesses with physical locations, I highly recommend working with other businesses in the area. It's really helped us introduce new people to our business, and the same goes for them," he added.

Frigo agrees that partnerships can be a powerful opening and reopening strategy for small retail businesses. “During the spring and summer we hold many events, such as tent sales, ax throwing and community bike rides. We work with local gyms, trainers, chiropractors, army recruiters and so on. It allows us to cross-promote them so they are in touch with our customer base and vice versa,” he said.

4. Ensure a smooth checkout

If you generate excitement and interest before the event, think about how you can deliver a great shopping experience on the big day and beyond. If you haven't seen many of your customers in a while, you might be surprised by their new buying habits and expectations.

The pace of change in retail is accelerating, said Parker Avery's Habel, and brands need to consider how the customer has evolved. "That means they're looking at how they shop, how they choose their purchases, and what experiences they expect to change."

Make sure safety is a priority before reopening andSchedule integrated checkout experiences like self-checkout orcontactless payment.

Carlos Castelán, Director General of Retail Consultancy,The ship group, suggests that if done right, a more efficient checkout experience can increase security for both shoppers and employees and improve the customer experience.

5. Improve your delivery and pickup options

Buy online, collect in store (BOPIS) and collect in store can continue to meet customer needs, said Castelan. These options are especially important for any customers who may be hesitant to return to brick-and-mortar retail. “Physical store owners who have invested in these fulfillment models during the pandemic will see more growth,” Castelán said.

Think of customers who want to buy from you without showing up to your grand openingpersonal. Ben Wallington is the CEO ofThe designer clothes, a UK-based luxury online retailer selling men's and children's clothing. He believes retail brands benefit from the ability to deliver products where the customers are.

"Even if you do manage to open (or reopen) your retail store to vaccinated shoppers, it's still a benefit that customers can shop right from their couches," Wallington said.

Castelán agrees that brick-and-mortar stores should bolster their online retail capabilities, as that will be key to supporting openings or reopenings. "Until [more] shoppers feel comfortable going back to physical stores, we can expect to see a lot of stores doing business with them online," Castelán said.

How a good POS system can help

Yes, the pandemic has made it clear that retailers are expected to meet both physical and digital needs. It is important to connect these channels together. Especially if you plan your grand opening event (smartly) not just for sales on the day, but also for online store visitors and online cart conversions in the future. Before the big day, consider preparing oneRetail POS systemlike Lightspeed, which integrates with your accounting software and tracks your sales and inventory across all channels.

Open (and reopen) with confidence

Your grand opening or reopening doesn't have to be daunting. Use the opening ideas, expert tips, and retailer insights above to plan your store's big event. Combine these best practices with aLightspeed-Videodemoto find out how our POS can contribute to making this special day a complete success.

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Written by

Lucas O'Neill

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Luke O'Neill writes for growth companies in the fintech, legal SaaS and education sectors. He hasreal communication, which helps CMOs, founders and marketing teams build brands and win customers.


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