Great Event Ideas for Retail Stores and How to Pull Them Off

It’s clear that customers are always looking for more from retailers which is why you’re always going to be in a battle with online giants like Amazon and eBay where your audience is regularly turning to. Thankfully, research from Barclaycard has revealed that there’s hope for retailers like you, stating that hosting in-store events and creating an immersive experience can help you both survive that online onslaught and excel when it comes to increasing sales.

Here are some examples of event ideas for retail ideas and how you can take inspiration from them.

special deal for retail store

Click on the relevant links below to read more about the creative ideas some big retailers have tried and succeeded with.

Chanel’s Product Launch

A way to make your customers feel valued is by offering them an opportunity to attend a product launch before it goes on general sale. It’s a great way to make them feel special and can entice them to make a purchase before the general public can.

Chanel has mastered this experience. They enticed customers to their pop-up store on London’s luxury shopping location of Bond Street by inviting customers to not only see but also experience their latest scent. There was a history lesson to learn more about Gabrielle, or Coco, Chanel, as well as workshops to experience the fragrance further.

chanel perfumeImage Credit: S Magazine Official

John Lewis’ National Treasures Campaign

In 2017, John Lewis launched an in-store experience that focused on celebrating the British summer. Entitled National Treasures, the campaign featured 220 life-size cartoon displays by artist Paul Thurlby in storefront windows.

All 48 John Lewis stores featured the designs and encapsulated the typical British summertime from ice cream vans to sunburn and fish and chips. It was all interactive, including videos and live workshops which were designed to promote the John Lewis stores.

John Lewis National TreasuresImage Credit: The Industry

There were Q&A sessions, fitness sessions and workshops along with a Gardening Society themed rooftop space on London’s famous Oxford Street. This entire in-store campaign helped to attract people to their stores, improve the relationship between John Lewis and their customers as well as exposing those in attendance to their products.

Selfridges’ Festivity Campaign

Like product launches, making customers feel valuable is a good way of making sure they come back to your store time and time again. Taking a leaf out of Selfridges book, you can tap into the festive season and other occasions like they did over Christmas.

Selfridges launched festive events to make their customers feel VIPs. This included breakfast with Santa, an in-store pantomime and personal shoppers – given the name ‘Elfridges’ – who assisted customers with whatever they needed.

ElfridgesImage Credit: Selfridges Twitter

Through this, Selfridges were able to make their customers feel appreciated by giving them the opportunity to access these exclusive services and events which were usually strictly for those with higher budgets.

Apple’s ‘Today at Apple’ Concept

Apple is famous for its unique in-store concepts and a popular concept they created was rolling out educational sessions in 495 Apple stores, titled Today at Apple. Featuring photography, coding, art, design, music and so much more, these interactive sessions were led by Apple experts who taught the basics, how-to sessions and professional programs.

Apple workshopImage Credit: Apple

Apple’s purpose here was to make each store a central community nerve centre, brought together by shared technology. The aim was to create a welcome space where people can come to discover a new passion or take their skills to a new level. It’s designed to be fun and enlightening, so people will continue to pour in.

If you can educate, then consider hosting sessions in your retail store to help connections as well as potentially selling more products.

Warby Parker’s Green Room

Eyewear retail store Warby Parker has seen significant growth recently and they’ve continued their savvy and innovative ways of standing out by creating unique, immersive in-store experiences which customers end up sharing on social media platforms, like Instagram.

At their LA Melrose Avenue store, they converted one of their spare rooms into a green room, effectively a green screen. It was essentially a photo booth experience which allowed customers to record their own short videos with plenty of entertaining backgrounds and props.

warby parker green roomImage Credit: Warby Parker Blog

Warby Parker was paying homage to the fact that they were so close to Hollywood and its film industry. The bigger picture here was to drive people into their store with uniquely immersive experiences.

Try to do the same in yours – give customers a reason to actually want to come into your store and encourage them to share it on social media for even more exposure

Westfield’s Christmas Grotto

Here’s another example of tapping into the festive season to drive customers into your store. Westfield shopping centre in London cashed in on Christmas with a special grotto for children and adults in the build-up to the big day.

westfield grottoImage Credit: Eventbrite

By going all out with their grotto and making it much bigger and better than what you usually see, Westfield managed to attract shoppers that would have usually gone to a different shopping centre.

Consider doing the same if you want to attract customers into your store and are looking for a special experience.


Rafi’s Spicebox Demos and Menu Tastings

Rafi’s Spicebox is a family-run business in London attempting to get more local people making their own authentic Indian dishes. To get people involved, they regularly host in-store demos, menu tastings, pop-up events and cooking classes. They even teamed up with Brew York, a local brewery, for a beer and curry World Cup event.

Rafi's SpiceboxImage Credit: Telegraph

They realised that working with other independent businesses and coming together to serve a larger shared customer basis helped massively.

This shows how easy an effective event idea can be for independent brands, even if it means grouping together with others. Collaborative pop-up events and demos are simple, but great ways to engage with the public and build up their interest further in your product while forming good relationships with other local businesses.

Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights – Reading Spa

Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights implemented a quirky ‘event’ of sorts where they offer reading spas. Along with a subscription service which in itself can be a good idea, this book shop continues to thrive as they allow people to sit in their bibliotherapy room and talk with their team one-to-one about books.

Mr B's Reading SpaImage Credit: Mr B’s Emporium

This creates a personal connection between the readers and the retailer, where customers go away with personalised recommendations and plenty of ideas.

Pulling Off an Event For Your Own Store

The above are all great examples of great event ideas for retail stores. Here are some more tips on types of events you can implement in your own store to help boost sales:

  • Add compelling window displays to naturally grab attention.

  • Drum up publicity.

  • Give out freebies.

  • Document your events.

  • Consider serving refreshments.

  • Host themed events.

  • Flash sales.

  • Partnerships with businesses and charities.

  • Host pop-up events to draw interest.

  • Implement loyalty programs.

  • Add impressive and functional exterior products. These include signage, building wraps, barriers, marquees, flags, billboards, posters, hoardings, banners, exterior window graphics and more. This helps to gain publicity and draw attention.

  • Add interior products to impress your audience when they step inside your store for your event to make your store memorable. Ideas include signage, printed flooring, light boxes, photo wallpapers, window graphics, banners and more.

Take The Next Step in Creating Your Own Event

To host a successful event, you’re going to need a lot of visual assistance to help make your store stand out in the first place. Ordinary signage and underwhelming banners just won’t do – different events will require different products. To help, we’ve put it all together into one catalogue for you to check out.

The guide is full of large format print ideas, options you should consider for your own retail events, how they can help and so much more. Overall, it helps to improve brand awareness so to grab your free copy, click on the link below.