My husband and I recently took a road trip several states away to visit family. I took the opportunity to stop at a number of quilt shops and chat with the owners or managers. I asked them about successful events and promotions they have to bring customers into their stores. The top two answers were an annual store wide sale and participation in a shop hop.
Annual sales are a favorite among customers, especially when they are held on a day when many are on a work holiday such as New Year's Day or Labor Day. Shoppers can take advantage of special pricing and add to their stash. Shop owners can feature new items at introductory prices, demo new gadgets and introduce customers to new notions. A big sale also helps shops make room for new fabric and products. Make sure you post it where people are looking (like QuiltingHub) and Facebook.
Shop Hops are a lot of work but the rewards can be worth it. The general opinion is that Hops need to changed up every few years to keep them fresh. Bringing different staff members on board to brainstorm new ideas helps. Remember as well that the group of folks from participating shops who plan it all need a break after several years! New heads with new ideas will bring new life to your Shop Hop! Always participated in a large Hop, perhaps statewide? One shop reported they have a great response to smaller, five shop only hop. Within easy driving distance hoppers often backtrack to participating shops for a second stop. Prizes in the Hop raffle of generous gift cards from each shop brings them back again!
A weekly coupon offered via email or Facebook is another great idea. Customers can print it out, or as one store reports they simply have them show the coupon on their smartphone at time of checkout. Who doesn't like coupons?
Wine anyone? A quilter friend told me of a shop that has an ongoing "Gallery" display featuring a collection of quilts from a regular customer. Periodically the collection is changed and a "Gallery Night" is held after hours offering a glass of wine and "quilty talk" with the featured quilter. It's a chance to honor a valued and talented customer and provide a relaxed and unhurried experience for everyone. What a great idea! Make sure you post it where people are looking (like QuiltingHub) and Facebook.
Of course the popular Row by Row promotion has brought customers from all over into shops all across the country. Make it easy for them to find your shop by subscribing to your shop listing on QuiltingHub. It puts important information like location and hours at the fingertips of quilters who are on a mission! Many of them use the Trip Planner feature on QuiltingHub to map out their route.
The one recurring theme I heard from shop owners and staff was the importance of trying new things and not letting your promotions and events become "the same old thing". New fabric floods shops twice a year and shops need keep up with new ways to sell it!
Check out the most popular tool on QuiltingHub. Use the search 'Map Of Resources' or the 'Resources Trip Planner' to the right (or below).