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Benefits of Hosting In-Store Events for Sewing and Fabric Retail Business Owners

by | Apr 9, 2024

A quilt store is more than just a place to buy supplies and leave. It is a place where quilting and sewing enthusiasts can gather, meet other like-minded people, be inspired, and grow their skills. A key ingredient in creating this kind of environment is in hosting in-store events like classes and workshops. Holding these events creates a sense of community and increases customer engagement. This strategy can bring more customers into your store, promote your products and brand, and increase sales. Read on to learn how events can energize your retail quilt store.


Creating a Vibrant Community Hub

Avid quilters want a store they can rely on for the supplies they need, but they also value expertise and guidance. They want to talk to other quilters who can provide them with information, ideas, and inspiration for their next project. When they’ve made these connections, they feel a sense of belonging and want to return. Holding classes in your store can help your customers make these connections with you, your staff, and other customers. Engaging in conversation with your customers will create friendships that will enrich both your life and your business.

The most common events that quilt shops hold are classes and workshops. You could hold a beginners quilting class as well as hold demonstrations of more advanced sewing techniques. Some events could have a greater emphasis on teaching skills while others could provide more work time for people to work on projects and converse with each other. You could even hold a show-and-tell night where quilters bring in their finished projects, talk about them, and offer tips and ideas to other members of the group.


Increasing Foot Traffic and Customer Loyalty

In-store events are a great way to draw in new customers. Quilters who sign up for events are likely to tell their friends, causing people to come to your store who may not have heard of it otherwise.

Ideally, attendees of these events will enjoy their time in your store, browse the products you have to offer, and become loyal customers. This is most likely to happen if attendees have a memorable experience in your store, which means it’s important to put effort into creating quality events. Make sure the curriculum taught is valuable and effective, the teachers are experienced and reliable, and the tools you provide are of a high quality. In the long-term, community events can help you retain customers by generating more excitement about quilting and your store.


Showcasing Products and Demonstrating Techniques

In-store events are a great opportunity to showcase your products. You can demonstrate features and show customers how to use the threads, fabrics, and tools you offer. As customers better understand the process of how to use these products, they will feel more confident in making purchases. Be sure to showcase new arrivals that customers may be less familiar with.

As you make decisions about the events you will hold and the curriculum you will teach, be sure they align with your customers’ interests. It may be beneficial to conduct a survey to determine what projects your customers are most interested in doing and what techniques they are most interested in learning about. This will help keep your customers engaged.


Generating Buzz and Promoting Brand Awareness

Hosting in-store events is a great way to generate buzz and excitement around your brand. When you plan an event, it’s important to get the word out. You can create paper flyers and post them on community event boards. You can also use social media, posting events on sites like Facebook and Instagram. Encourage those who sign up to tell their friends, as word-of-mouth can be one of the best ways to increase sign-ups.


Driving Sales and Revenue Growth

In-store events can be a significant driver of revenue. You can charge a fee to attend a class, and by holding a class, you can get dozens of customers in your store who are likely to browse and make a purchase. You could also require certain materials to be purchased to participate in a class, or offer special discounts in conjunction with classes and other events. In-store events are an important source of revenue for many quilt stores across the country.


Enhancing the Customer Experience

Your goal should be to hold great events that are memorable for all who attend. Events like this require creativity, logistical planning, and hard work, so it’s easy to lean towards doing the bare minimum or filling your calendar with an obligatory string of events. However, creating quality events that are instructional, inspiring, and fun will create a strong community and do wonders for your brand.

Personal interactions can improve a customer’s experience at an event or while simply browsing the store. Some events may be so large that you won’t be able to speak with everyone. At smaller events, try to walk around the room at appropriate moments to meet and greet people. During regular store hours, you can ask customers what projects they’re working on, how they got into quilting and sewing, and other questions to develop a rapport.

You can make events more interesting by incorporating a theme or celebrating an occasion. For example, the fourth Saturday in January each year has been designated Local Quilt Shop Day, and the third Saturday in March is known as Worldwide Quilting Day. You could hold events on these days as well as offer discounts. A common theme for quilt activities is a “UFO night” which stands for unfinished objects. A UFO night is a work night where customers can bring in whatever project they want and work on it together with others. Activities based on a theme or occasion generate more interest and may lead to greater attendance.


Building Partnerships and Collaborations

Another great way to expand the reach of your brand is to partner with other members of the community. These could be other quilters, small business owners, or social media influencers. Strategically determine who in your community could be beneficial to work with. If you find a popular quilt and sewing social media account run by someone geographically near you, you could host an event together. It can be beneficial to interact with the owners of other quilt shops, as there is a lot owners can learn from one another. If there is a popular restaurant close by, you could hire them to provide refreshments for an activity, and perhaps they could post your event on a community event board at their location. Collaborations can be mutually beneficial for both parties as they increase awareness of both organizations.


Measuring Success and Iterating Strategies

As you begin holding events, determine how successful they’ve been. You can look at attendance numbers and if sales increased as a result of the events. As you evaluate the success of your events, you can set goals for future events and make plans for how you will achieve these goals. You can also look past numbers and ask attendees what they’ve thought of the events. You can ask them for their thoughts in-person, or you can ask them to leave you a review or fill out a survey. This more qualitative data can also help you get a sense of how effective your events have been.

Adapt your events to meet your customers’ preferences and make adjustments to meet your business goals. As you hold more events, the experience you gain will help you refine your process.


Events: The Next Step for your Retail Store

Holding events in your quilt store can be one of your most successful strategies for building a community and finding greater success for your business. They can get more people in your store and create more visibility for your products, leading to increased sales. Great events provide your guests with memorable experiences and make them want to return. Organizing these events can seem like an overwhelming task, but with the proper planning, logistical work, and promotion, these events can transform your business.

LikeSew’s all-in-one point-of-sale platform has the tools you need to run great events. With features that allow you organize events, manage online sign-ups, and get the word out to your customers, you’ll be able to focus on making your events the best they can be. Schedule a demo today!

Contact us today to learn more!