Hello, everyone!

The leaves are just beginning to change colors and there is an unmistakable feeling in the air! It’s finally FALL — a wonderful time of the year filled with anticipation and promise! And for the Gifts and Accessories Industry, it’s the official kickoff to the holiday season!  Embrace all of the promise that the season has to offer by having an Open House! It’s not nearly as difficult as you’re probably thinking. In fact, we are confident that a Fall Open House event will become a crucial element to your 4th quarter business.  The idea is to create another period that mimics the increased traffic and sales volume of Black Friday.

We’ve helped a number of our customers hold successful Open House events — and we want to help you too! Seize this opportunity to capture some early holiday sales. Position your business as the exciting go-to store in town that is sure to bring consumers in before and throughout the holiday season.  You might just find that your Open House date represents your biggest sales dollars of the year.  So let’s get started!

—  Josh McKay,  VP of Sales & Marketing

Step 1 —  Set The Date

Picking out a winning date is key.  Check the calendar of events in your area and select a Saturday where the population in your area is likely to be at its highest. Consider the schedules of your state’s football teams and other national and local events that might impact your event (positively or negatively) and plan accordingly. If you are in a football town, take advantage of that increased traffic, but time the event carefully.

Step 2 — Plan Promotions / Giveaways

Generate excitement with well-considered promotions. Don't think of it as Giving Away The Store. Instead, view it as making a small investment to create an exciting environment that people will want to flock to.  Incentives create eager customers!

Be sure to work with your vendors who may have dollars budgeted to help with events. They may have deeply-discounted merchandise that you can purchase for the purpose of giveaways.

Promotion possibilities:
• Store-wide discounts
• Hourly drawings for gifts or gift cards
• Free gift with every purchase
• Enter email to win grand prize

Step 3 — Get the word out

Make it known that you've got a cool gig happening that no one will want to miss!  Create an email blast to invite all to your special event. If you don’t collect your customers' emails – START!

If you have a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account – use it (with imagery from the store) to spread the word about your event. Or go traditional and "snail mail" an invitation to your customer address list.  

Don't forget advertising in the local newspaper.  In many towns, the local paper still commands an audience.  Your presence in the paper not only serves as an invitation to your open house, but says that you are invested in the community. You will find that the most successful and coolest store in town is always one that is engaged and visible in the community.  Combined, these efforts will drive customers to your storefront!

If any of these marketing tasks are unfamiliar to you, ask your rep for help getting started.  After all, not only do they have experience in this, they’re here to help you!  And they can provide valuable feedback when you are planning an event.

Marketing options:
• Email marketing
• Social media
• Print
• Mailers

Step 4 — Create the experience

An Open House is like a party, so make sure your store has the party atmosphere!  You need to create an experience that appeals to all of the senses.  Along with well-merchandised, eye-catching, idea-inspiring displays, reach the customer with an inviting aroma and cheerful music. First impressions are everything!

Candles are fine, but the mouth-watering smell of fresh baked cookies is hard to ignore!   Make sure to have a nice display of appetizing treats and refreshing drinks for your party guests (aka shoppers). And for music…. try a playlist of light jazz tunes, but nothing overpowering.
Think about those places where you love to shop. What is it about them? It's probably because their service and attention makes you feel special and you can count on having a pleasant experience. That is the feeling you want to create in the hearts and minds of your customers!  

Event checklist:
• Create a festive atmosphere
• Provide refreshing drinks and tasty treats
• Offer attentive, friendly service
• Be prepared with extra help

Enter our contest:

To reward you beyond the incredible sales that you’re sure to gain, Kalalou would like to receive images, videos and stories capturing your open house event! One lucky winner will be awarded a $1000 shopping spree!  Submit your entry to sales@kalalou.  Good luck and have fun!

This Way To Success

Kalalou is celebrating our 30th Anniversary — "The Road Was Long And Oh So Sweet!"  In our Kalalou Tutorial Series, we want to share some ideas and tips we have learned along the way.  We're here to help.  Give your rep a call today!  And cheers to a successful pre-holiday and holiday selling season!

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