Create A Happy Retail Experience

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

For many of your customers and many of the people in your community this song from Louis Armstrong is probably not something they seem to be humming these days. So, why not take the opportunity and engage in a guerilla marketing tactic I’m calling – “ROTRFL – Rolling On The Retail Floor Laughing”. Make you store a destination for fun, joy, laughter and smiles.

Over the past few months I’ve seen some great examples of simple, fun and engaging tactics used by retailers in the Christian Retail industry. Earlier this year the crew at Lighthouse Christian Supply in Dublin, CA created an event called the Ultimate Chicken Dance Off. They invited customers to get their “Chicken Dance” on IN THE STORE for a chance to win prizes and have some fun. Not only did the grand prize winner sna an iPad but event engaged customers, created buzz but it brought a lot of fun and laughter to the store. They integrated offline and online marketing to create a very interactive experience for their customers. You can visit Lighthouse Christian Supply on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dublinlighthouse and scroll down to their updates in May of this year to see how everything unfolded.

Another fun example that I observed earlier this year was a retailer who invited customers, via their Facebook page, to bring in jokes and receive a discount on their purchase. They promoted the event in store, on their website and through their Facebook page. It cost them very little time and virtually no money to pull off the event.

Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing and put you on the road to bringing a smile to your customers face.

Comedy Night – Leverage the rise of Christian comedians like Chonda Pierce, Jeff Allen, Anita Renfroe and others and host a comedy day or night in your store. Play the latest comedy DVD’s and offer special discounts on all of your comedy or family friendly DVD’s. Take this idea to the next level by inviting local Christian comedians to perform in your story on a Friday or Saturday night.

Carnival day – Everyone loves a party and games. Partner with local churches and youth groups to host a carnival in your store. For a list of great carnival game ideas check out http://www.kidspartyfun.com.

Make the staff laugh – Invite your customers to tell you a joke, humorous story or perform a funny act and then give them a small discount on their purchase. Add a little more fun by marking off an area around your cash register area where they can “perform” – set up a camera (video or still) and catch them in the act – then post their performance on your Facebook page to add some viral marketing potential.

Press release Let the local media know about your store spreading joy. Invite them to come out to one of your event and interview you and your customers about how your are helping encourage people in your community.

Pick a month and promote it as “Happy Month At Your Store”. Post jokes and funny stories to your Facebook page during “Happy Month”. Encourage your customers to post their jokes and stories to your page as well and pick a winner each week. Hand out smiley stickers to everyone who comes through your doors.

Happy banners – hang a sign over your front door or right inside your entry way that announces to your customers that they are now entering an “Encouragement or Happy Zone”.

Roadside clowns – Go old school sandwich board marketing by positioning clowns at the road in front of your store holding signs with big smiles on them, directing them to your store. Don’t rule this tactic out too quickly. In my local town of Kernersville, NC we have a gold, cash and antique store who employs a guy named Kenny who dances while holding a sign that points people to the store. In a recent interview the owners of the store said that 1 in 3 people who come into the store do so as a result of seeing Kenny.

Answer the phone with a smile and fun salutation – We have all heard it before but it’s always worth a reminder. People can hear you smiling or frowning on the other end of the line. When you smile and talk your spreading a good mood to the person you are talking too. Try a salutation like, “Thank you for calling (insert your store name) – how can we add some happiness to your day?”

So…how can you use the “punch line” to impact your “bottom line”?

Have you created or been a part of creating an event like this?

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