Alice Chen of Alice Alan Shoes
Alice Chen, founder of Alice Alan Shoes and one of our Design Entrepreneurs NYC participants hosts a lot of private events to engage with her customers and also acquire new ones. Her events are strategic, based on her sales goals and planned out in advance. We asked Alice to give us a few tips on how to create a successful event. Here’s what she said:
1. Define your objective and stick to it
Identify what you want to get out of hosting an event. For example, if your goal is to have a trunk show to clear out samples and last season’s inventory, then all of your subsequent actions must directly work towards it. Therefore, your top priorities should focus on how to generate sales at your event.
2. Know your invitation list
Reach your objectives by being methodical about your guest list. Invite those who can help you achieve your goal. If you have a sales objective, your list should consist of existing customers and prospects (intent to buy, not casual window shoppers).
3. Pay attention to the date of the event
You should give advance notice of your event. Weekly reminders (2-3 weeks ahead) leading up to the event helps you stay relevant on someone’s schedule. Choose the day wisely, especially around the holidays or the summer. Be prepared for last minute responses, cancellations and no shows.
4. Offer something exclusive for the evening
Exclusivity makes all of us feel special. An exclusive sale rack and/or a discount just for the evening are great ways to entice guests to buy at the event. Limited time offers create immediacy to make a purchase decision on the spot.
5. Food and goody bags are a nice to have but not a necessity
Food can lead to greasy hands touching your products, so shy away from it. Provide some wine and water. It is nice to unwind with a glass of wine while shopping. A little alcohol could lead to looser wallets. Giveaways, unless they are useful, will go unused. Unless you set expectations of freebies, no one will expect it and you can plow that money back into your business.
6. Master the art of the follow up
Follow up is critical! A mass thank you email is nice, but a personalized email is best. Unique messages allow you to continue the dialogue beyond the event. Thank someone for their purchase and encourage her to spread the word. Extend the exclusive offer to those who were iffy. People appreciate these little things.