Hardware Retailing

MAR 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

Issue link: http://hardwareretailing.epubxp.com/i/945288

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Page 87 of 114

March 2018 | HARDWARE RETAILING 81 When the event is over, your work isn't done. If you want to plan effectively for the next event, learn from your mistakes and successes. Get Input Early and From Everyone Don't wait until next year to reflect on your event's success. Do it right away. A day or two after your event, while it's still fresh in your mind, gather your employees and talk about it. Save those notes for the next time you host the event. And listen to everyone, including staff, business owners who partnered and customers, during the event or later when you see them in the store. "We get a lot of feedback from our customers every time we have an event, and we listen to their advice," Unterreiner says. "You need to have the same attitude of customer service when running an event as you do any other day. If you do well and please the customer, they will come back and talk positively about you to others." Look for Problem Points and Adjust The most beneficial part of evaluation is finding problem points and fixing them, especially if your event is new or you've not had much experience running one. Think through every detail and ask questions such as: Were we able to get customers through the registers quickly? Was there enough parking? Did we have enough food and giveaways? Look for solutions and don't be discouraged if it takes a few times to get it right. "During our first ladies' night, we had a huge turnout, but our store layout put us in a bind," Wilkins says. "There were long lines and people had difficulty getting to the food. The next year we changed a few things, and then finally, by the third year, it was smoother." If customer interest is low and the difficulties outweigh the successes, don't be afraid to stop hosting a particular event. Know when it's time to move on and try something else. Don't Focus Only on Sales Especially for events that revolve around sales, it may be easy to emphasize dollars rung up at the register. However, that isn't the only true measure of success. It's difficult to measure the residual effects of having a large group of people excited about being at your business. There may be increased awareness about a particular product or department or increased customer loyalty because of the good time people had. Look for new faces in the crowd and work on building relationships. The goodwill generated will stick with your customers long into the future. Change It Up Your event may have gone well, but that doesn't mean you should do it exactly the same way next time. Getting stuck in a pattern could mean it loses its energy. The Huddlestons' safety day has been very successful and continues to grow. Still, Jason looks for ways each year to try something new. "Don't just continue to do the same thing over and over," he says. "Each year, it needs to be fresh. We are constantly talking to staff and customers, getting feedback on what we could do better, or just something we can do differently." Evaluate At Rocking R Ace, Wilkins found he needed to make a few alterations to the store layout to help managing the large crowd at ladies' night.

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