Grand openings are exciting news for communities and retailers alike. With decades of experience planning and executing retail grand openings, we embrace the opportunity to introduce a new location into a market. However, once the grand opening is complete, the work has just begun.
For most retailers, it is essential to begin hitting sales goals on day one. With this in mind, how do you keep interest high in the weeks and months after the grand opening buzz? Read on for some key strategies and inspiration to drive traffic all year long.
- Keep the long-term in mind from the get-go. When kicking off the grand opening planning process, be sure to include a strategy to support the new location afterwards. Whether this is three, six, or 12 months, our responsibility as marketers doesn’t end with the ribbon cutting. We need to ensure the store’s success beyond the grand opening. Furthermore, creating a comprehensive plan from the beginning will allow you to design a more effective, cohesive campaign versus two disjointed campaigns – one for the grand opening, and scrambling to create a secondary one afterward.
- Continue to offer store sales and promotions, as relevant. Special discounts are a big incentive on grand opening day. While extreme sales are not financially possible all-year round, incorporate promotions as they are relevant to your company and business cycle. Then be sure your audience is informed when sales are happening with ads , e-blasts, on social media, direct mail, etc.
- Leverage media relationships you built during the opening. Stay in touch with reporters and producers by sharing company news, updates and any other relevant content you can provide (photos, videos, interviews, a how-to segment, etc.). Be sure to send these materials through personal emails and not mass distributions – you want to build a relationship with each contact, not just bombard your contacts.
- Stay engaged and become part of the community. There are many other voices in a community beyond the media. Research local nonprofits, bloggers, and organizations/clubs in the area that are relevant to your brand values. Connect with them in a variety of ways to stay involved in the community – donate to a nonprofit, provide products to bloggers, host an event for a club or sponsor a local event.
- Don’t let your ads disappear. It’s tempting to allocate all your media dollars around the grand opening, but with advertising, frequency is king. Your audience may not make it to the store right away, so stay top of mind by spreading your media buys several weeks and even months after the event.
- Get social. In an increasingly connected world, social media is a key channel of communication between customers and brands. It can be demanding to constantly feed content through your channels, but it’s important to keep brand pages active and engaging. Also, be sure to respond to all customer comments, messages and especially complaints in a timely manner.
- Employees are brand ambassadors. Don’t forget a key resource: your employees! Workers are the face of the company and perhaps even more importantly, members of the community. Give them the tools and pride to represent your brand and increase visibility – whether that’s through their own social media channels or even just word of mouth.