In-Store Events Gone Wild!
By Tom Ryan
British fashion mecca Topshop hosts weekly in-store DJ sets, free
tea and cake stands, roller-skating parties and photo booths that automatically
load pictures to its Facebook page. The store is one of many showcasing in-store
bashes for their customers to drive traffic and build awareness.
At Saks, 25
new marketing personal were hired last year to help tailor in-store experiences
by location, according to an article in The Wall Street
Journal. Cocktail-infused designer meet-and-greets and auctions to benefit
local charities are regularly held in stores. Many stores also have “community
rooms” for customers to throw private birthday parties or hold book club
“Many of our customers already feel that Saks is a home away from
Grabel, Saks’s senior vice president of marketing, told the Journal. “We
need to give customers a reason to come in to the store.”
boutique on New York’s Bowery, which replaced the legendary punk-rock club
CBGB’s in 2008, offers free rock concerts and drinks the first Thursday of
“It’s not enough just to get traffic to your stores. You need to make
shoppers excited, happy and leave feeling that they want to come back,” said
The article claims that purchases increase during in-store shindigs,
although it didn’t explore whether they justify the added costs.
stores pushing the envelope on in-store events:
- The Dressing Room on the Lower East Side in Manhattan features a boutique
upstairs, a vintage-clothing exchange downstairs, and a full bar.
- Elsa in New York’s East Village is a tailor shop by day, bar by night.
- Saturday’s, in New York’s SoHo district, is a surf shop that serves coffee
and beer in a back garden.
- Catherine Malandrino added a café in front of its new Los Angeles
- French boutique agnès b.’s 15,000-square-foot concept store in Hong
Kong includes a florist, restaurant and chocolate counter.
“The [retail] industry’s been flipped on its head,” Robin Lewis,
a freelance retail consultant and the former executive editor of Women’s Wear
Daily, told the Journal. “The store used to be at the
center. Now stores have to go to the consumers. For stores to get them, they
must give them an experience, a destination.”
Discussion Questions: Is the rash of in-store bashes a clever differentiater/traffic
driving strategy or a bit far-fetched? What are the pros and cons of such