Connecting Creatively: Fun Ideas for In-Store Events for Christmas 2022 – National Jeweler | Directory Mayhem

As the holiday season approaches, many people are looking forward to getting back on the road this year. However, some are still reluctant to spend time with strangers indoors.

So how can retailers this year increase traffic and in-store fun while balancing everyone’s needs and preferences?

Creativity and care are key – plan great customer experiences and offer comprehensive options to keep everyone in your store, with your employees and most importantly, with your Christmas decorations or gift items, having fun.

For this latest column, we spoke to jewelry experts to explore some fun themed events and the best ways to run them.

We’ll also discuss how to add options to make it more accessible to anyone who can’t or doesn’t want to attend in person.

Themed events
Ellen Fruchtman, President of Fruchtman Marketing, has been developing creative events for her retail clients for decades.

She proposes themed Christmas parties that will make everyone have a good time and create a special attraction to draw people into the store.

“We’ve hosted many types of themed parties, from decade themed parties (50’s, 60’s, 70’s) to glamorous parties where customers are encouraged to dress up. The staff is also disguised. The food all fits the theme, along with signature drinks and fun signage. It’s about carrying the theme throughout the store.”

For a “mystery” mystery-solving event, the company hired a local theater company to mingle with the crowd and strike up conversation.

“Obviously, the invitation made customers aware of what that would be, so there were no surprises,” Fruchtman said. “When the customer walked in, they received a card with several stories about the alleged ‘criminals,’ including ‘the crime’ they may have committed and the submission time for their participation in the prize.”

The timing on the cards encouraged customers to stay in store longer. Customers filled out their cards with their best guesses about whodunnit.

All correct answers were placed in a separate bowl at a given time. The jeweler then calmed the crowd, thanked them for coming, and drew the winner’s card.

“They won something pretty significant, which was noted on the invite and handout, another good reason to stay. People loved it!”

For another customer, Fruchtmann Marketing had a treasure chest with 15 to 20 gifts, all wrapped.

“Gifts can come from the retailer or other outside vendors, or a combination of both with a grand prize,” she advised.

The store sent out an invitation with a key and required each customer to bring the key to the store to see if they had won any of the gifts.

“Forgive the pun, but the key to this was wrapping lots of gifts so customers felt like they had a good chance of winning. Incidentally, this has been done with both upscale retailers and some more mid-market retailers. And every customer loved it.”

Each key sent to customers was actually a dummy key as the store had no idea who or how many would respond.

When the customers came in, they could immediately try their key in the treasure chest. When it didn’t open, there was a Second Chance bowl that contained about the right number of keys based on the RSVPs, plus a few more.

“The winning keys were shuffled into the second chance bowl,” Fruchtman explained. “When the treasure chest was opened, there was always a great response from customers. And we rang a bell so everyone knew when an award was presented.”

Other fun Fruchtman events include Ladies’ Night with in-store experience stations like manicure/pedicure, makeover and massage, or Gentlemen’s Night with bourbon tasting, mixology classes, blackjack with the shopkeeper and sports quiz.

Select events that your customers are likely to respond to and offer prizes that entice them to come, such as gift cards, discounts or experiences, or products from other local luxury service providers.

“We always ask our retailers to create an invite list dating back no more than four years, with individual and cumulative purchases of a certain dollar amount, based on retailer tier. The invitation is often enough to make a good customer want to attend. Honestly, if you throw a nice party, they look forward to it,” Fruchtman said.

“In addition to the printed invitation, we recommend emailing a save-the-date notification ahead of time. Another email should be sent immediately after receiving the printed invitation and a third the day before as a final reminder.”

For those retailers who find that many of their guests are still hesitant to attend a crowded indoor event, get creative with hybrid events.

Perhaps online partygoers can still guess the whodunnit at a virtual event or play along with sports trivia.

For more experiential events like manicures/pedicures or massages, offer appointments earlier in the day for those who want to avoid a crowded store.

Two gifts on Treasure Hunt night could be saved for later, with chances by appointment only being offered to Keyholders who had received the invitation but were unable to attend.

Virtual attendance options could also prove effective should the pandemic take another unexpected turn.

Consider adding social media to the fun, too.

For example, each time a customer likes or shares one of your posts, they may be eligible for an additional chance to win a grand prize drawing.

Or if customers post a photo of themselves in their favorite jewelry purchased from your store and tag you, they can receive a discount, prize, or chance to win.


Piercing and ‘zapping’ parties
Katherine Whitacre, US sales manager for Chic Pistachio’s Aurelie Gi brand, said her retailers have recently had great success with durable jewelry, offering it as a personalized jewelry experience and not just another product sale.

“The so-called ‘zapping parties’ are everywhere now! So if you’re not keeping up with the trend, you’re losing customers to other retailers,” Whitacre said.

And they’re not just for vacations. Permanent bracelets offer year-round sales opportunities as mother-daughter duos, couples, best friends, and bridal showers can all schedule a time to pop into the store to “zap” together.

To gift the bracelet, Whitacre suggests creating a special note or card to include in the gift box inviting the recipient to a future zapping appointment.

Also, consider offering your bridal clients or your jewelry best clients to host a zapping experience and invite them to bring their loved ones. Snacks and services like manicures could be part of the experience.

Piercing events have also become popular as the trend of curating the perfect ear continues.

“Piercing parties are so much fun and in demand,” Whitacre said.

She recommended working with a professional piercer and doing some thoughtful planning to make this type of event safe and successful.

“The first step is to make sure you meet the requirements of your state’s health department, including obtaining a temporary license. Next, find a professional piercer to perform a safe needle piercing (no guns!). Be sure to check Google reviews to find a reputable piercer with good hygiene.”

Some stores combine the trends to offer piercing & zapping parties.

Each customer can potentially go home with a new piece of jewelry, either a permanent bracelet or new earrings.

For best results, make these events intergenerational; Invite mothers, daughters and grandmothers, and encourage everyone you invite to bring their loved ones.

It can be a powerful and unforgettable moment when people are “zapped” together. Make sure a staff member snaps some pics for Instagram, but ask permission before posting.

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