Soaring temperatures across Europe this summer prompted some intriguing retail plays. K-Supermarket in Finland, for example, invited 100 customers to spend the night at its air-conditioned store in Helsinki to escape the heat.
Consumers needing to cool down and get away from the muggy nights were invited to stay overnight at the store, and to also get dinner and breakfast on request. What a fantastic way to boost brand engagement and drive people through the shop doors!
K-Supermarket’s initiative was a consequence of the heatwave, but many retailers and brands are hosting events and special occasions on their premises all year round to give customers a fresh reason to visit their stores.
We’ve picked out five illuminating examples of traffic-driving retail store events from across Europe.
Women-only DIY workshops at Bauhaus
European DIY retailer Bauhaus’s women-only DIY workshop events have been a big hit, giving consumers a chance to gather in stores in Germany to gain tips and advice about home improvement projects and everyday tasks in the home.
With a glass of Champagne in hand and with like-minded individuals in the room, the women get a chance to talk tools and tactics, as well as watch DIY demonstrations. The events aim to make DIY understandable and easy, and they encourage a new consumer group – women — to build new skills in laying tiles and drilling. Bauhaus can use these gatherings as an opportunity to showcase its products and expertise, and perhaps attract new customers for life.
Hotel Chocolat lock-ins
UK-based Hotel Chocolat is expanding its footprint across the continent, recently striking a new franchise deal to stretch out its presence in Denmark. Chocolate lock-ins, where people pay £10 to receive VIP treatment and partake in chocolate tastings at a premium location, were cited as a key customer engagement tactic in its last financial year.
“The deep knowledge of our School of Chocolate-trained retail teams and our experiential Chocolate Lock-in sessions continue to underpin the allure of our multichannel model,” CEO and co-founder Angus Thirlwell earlier this summer.
For the third year in succession in 2018, athletic apparel retailer Lululemon held its two-day Sweatlife Festival in London.
The event, which also ran in Berlin and Paris this year, gave the brand an opportunity to showcase an exclusive new range, but it was supplemented with sessions run by fitness experts and inspirational speakers, including the founders of Park Run and Good Gym.
Although not held in the actual stores, the annual event gives Lululemon a chance to engage with its loyal customers and help strengthen consumer relationships by embedding itself in the community it aims to serve.
Fjällräven Q&A sessions
Swedish rucksack and outdoor equipment retailer Fjällräven hosts events that reflect the brand, such as environmental discussions, which are hosted in Q&A format with trekking experts.
The objective here is to ensure consumers develop and maintain an interest in outdoor life, and it is all brought to bear in stores to give the business an opportunity to promote its products and give consumers crucial insights into their hobby. The brand launched Fjällräven Classic in Sweden in 2005 a hiking programme to encourage more people to trek in the Swedish mountains. Since then, it has expanded into more accessible walks encouraging newcomers to the hobby of hiking in Denmark, the US and Hong Kong.
These five varied examples illustrate how retailers and brands can offer added value to their customers, and judging by the successful take-up of these events and the longevity of some of them, they must be providing real return on investment (ROI). With the advent of technology, such as virtual reality, we can foresee opportunities for travel companies, technology retailers, and luxury players – for example – to offer consumers a chance to visit a store and experience products and services before making a purchase.
Shopping malls are also changing their profiles, to become a destination for customers seeking new experiences. The physical mall space is undergoing a change but what hasn’t altered is the human desire to socialise.
Track event traffic and build on your successes
The traffic impact of store events must be measured, and conversion rates carefully tracked to ensure the objectives are met, and the investment is worthwhile. It might be that events only deliver an ROI in certain types of stores or at key times of the year. One thing is for sure: traffic data will show the way.
Contact ShopperTrak if you’d like to improve the performance of your stores, based on traffic data insights.