OMAHA, Neb. — Have you recently upgraded your washers or dryers, changed your services or finished a retool? If the answer is yes, a grand reopening should be in your future.
A grand reopening is a great opportunity for your current and new customers to get a fresh look at your store. Although a small financial investment is required, the return can be significant for both you and your customers.
The event should be held to celebrate new machines in your store. If you’ve recently replaced all of your washers, for example, an event to highlight this shows customers your commitment to both the store and their business.
To really show off your store, make sure everything is in place. When hosting a grand reopening, you should take the time to paint the walls, wax the floor, replace stained ceiling tiles, and add new signage. Although not all of those fixes may be necessary, an event is a great time to evaluate the condition of the store. Customers assume you have functioning equipment, but the difference between your store and the one down the street lies in the details.
Now that you know what qualifies as an appropriate time to have a grand reopening, when should you actually host the event?
Although weekends are most likely your busiest period of the week, they still provide the best time for your event. More people can attend then than during the week, and it shows that you, as an owner, want to thank them for their business during a convenient time.
Market the Event
To draw the most traffic to your event, a little marketing is needed. Direct-mail pieces, flyers, or door hangers are always good options.
Also, consider community newspapers and local radio stations as a means to reach clientele.
Social media sites are another place to publicize your event. If your store currently has Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts, make sure to promote the event through these channels. You can also offer an incentive to customers who check in to your event on Facebook Places or Foursquare.
Word-of-mouth advertising is the most flattering form of marketing. Make sure to tell current customers about the event and its highlights. They can tell their friends and family, who could wind up using your store’s services.
Activities and Promotions
If you had a grand opening, many of the events that happen during the grand reopening will be similar. When it comes to the activities offered, make sure you’re aware of your demographics.
An idea that I’ve seen work extremely well in the past is reaching out to a local radio station that resonates with your target consumer. If you have a significant Hispanic population, for example, the Hispanic radio station may be willing to broadcast from your store. The presence of the radio station will attract your primary target audience.
It’s important to plan family events as those customers bring in the biggest loads. For example, project a movie on the side of the building and create a drive-in atmosphere. This shows that you’re in tune with their needs.
Offering food at your event is essential. It can be something as simple as having a barbecue with hot dogs and hamburgers, which shows your customers that you appreciate their business—building loyalty in the process.
Promotions going on during your event draw new customers into the store. They should coincide with the machines you just replaced. For example, if you just had all new dryers installed, you may want to offer free dry time. If you’ve replaced washers, offer half off certain wash cycles. Either way, provide an incentive for customers to use the machines and become familiar with them.
You may also want to offer some sort of giveaway—especially if it ties into your new machines. For example, if you recently replaced your top loaders with front loaders, you may offer your customers a sample of high-efficiency soap. This will help them become familiar with your product, keeping them coming back regularly.
Making the Impact Last
During your event, it’s important to connect with your attendees and build a relationship that makes them become repeat customers.
In order to make a new customer a regular, you should make sure to promote your weekly specials at the event. If you offer dollar-off washes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, let your attendees know that through handouts and by word of mouth. Make sure to print materials in both English and the language spoken by most of your customers. This ensures that customers will not only understand your message, but it will help them feel welcomed at your store.
Store owners should aim for a 25-30% increase in customers following the event. Have a sign-up sheet for promotions at your event to help keep customers coming back. This can be hard to measure, but it’s not impossible.
Tapping Your Distributor for Help
If having an event at your store seems overwhelming, or if you just would like extra guidance, contact your distributor. They have been a part of events like this in the past and can offer best practices that they have found to be successful in your area.
On-Going Customer Marketing
Even after the grand reopening, you must continue to attract new customers and retain the ones you have. Try to connect with your customers every month by offering a promotion to show that you value their business.
With proper planning and execution, a grand reopening is the perfect opportunity to show how your laundry fits into the community and can help you grow your business in the process.