Sometimes I wonder how our shop ever survives, as we don’t do much around big national events.
In our store, Hopes of Longtown, we rarely celebrate national events such as the football World Cup as they don’t have any impact on our footfall. It’s not that we don’t do anything – we may put flags or bunting up, have an appropriate theme on display and communicate that to customers – it’s just that for those events it rarely converts to increased sales for us.
However, this summer we are concentrating on a local event a month in the store. We’re promoting a local supplier – or a service that runs alongside the ethos of the business – in the shop on a Saturday morning.
In May, we held a bread baking competition to tie in with Real Bread Week, which ran from May 9-15, and received some fantastic entries from customers.
And then last month, we led a walk for Herefordshire Walking Festival, which helped us introduce completely new customers to our store as we offered tea and Tina’s homemade Welsh cakes afterwards.
This month, we are doing a lot of work around promoting the local show that takes place in August, including selling prize draw tickets to raise funds for the show and engaging with the public to encourage them to attend.
Finally, in August, we have a tasting with local supplier Forage Fine Foods, while a new supplier of cards that are produced under three miles away are bringing a mini printing press into the shop.
All of our in-store events are promoted via our newsletter and stallholders themselves help to publicise them. Social media is also massively important, so we have been sending out information through Facebook and Twitter to promote ourselves to a wider audience. It demonstrates our commitment to our community and as people buy from people, it is an opportunity to get right in front of customers in a different format.