On Thursday, July 12, 2018, stuffed animal retailer Build-A-Bear Workshop will hold a Pay Your Age event at locations throughout the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. It's a fairly self-explanatory concept: Guests visiting stores to create a furry friend pay fees equivalent to their current age at checkout.
Small businesses can learn three valuable lessons from this company if they're looking to hold a buzzworthy event that gets plenty of new foot traffic.
Dig into your customer data.
There are two approaches to hosting a special in-store occasion that a small business can take. The first is to hold an event for the sake of having an event. A wine and cheese night, for example, could be of some interest to consumers, but it may border on being more random than tailored to your business.
The second approach is to study your customer data to strategize an event that consumers would not only be genuinely excited to attend but would offer the chance to create wonderful new memories.
Use a successful event as a jumping-off point for more offers.
Nearly one-third of Build-A-Bear Workshop's sales are linked to birthdays. The company is also launching a year-round Count Your Candles offer. Much like the Pay Your Age initiative, guests can make their own birthday bear, with the price equivalent to the age the individual turned during their birthday month.
If a small business hosts a successful event, it's in their best interest to determine what went well during said event and strategize on opportunities that keep customers coming back year-round. How will they know what customers liked and didn't like and keep them updated on fun happenings in the works? That leads me to my final point …
Encourage customers to join a rewards program.
In order to participate in Build-A-Bar's programs guests need to be members of its bonus club. Like many reward clubs, it offers incentives for signing up and the ability to earn points for bigger rewards.
Small businesses can also establish reward programs or clubs for their customers – just don't forget to keep it updated or delay the project to a later date. If you worry that those two possibilities might happen, have guests join an e-newsletter mailing list so you can send updates, information on upcoming events, and chances to share feedback by taking surveys to better keep everyone in the loop.