Retail In-Store Event Strategies to Increase Foot Traffic

Foley Marketing AdvisorsEvent Marketing, Retail Strategies

In recent years e-commerce store sales have been soaring, unfortunately for traditional retail stores, in-store traffic is at an all-time low. Some brick-and-mortar stores like video and music stores are completely wiped out. In-store foot traffic is important to many types of businesses, particularly retail establishments, as higher foot traffic can lead to higher sales. Landlords also care about the volume of foot traffic because their own businesses are tied to the success of retail tenants. To help small business owners, we’ve listed in-store retail event ideas to increase foot traffic for five different types of retail stores.

Clothes/ Shoes

  1. Health and Wellness Event. Partner with a local fitness instructor to lead a yoga or pilates class in store. Also partner with a local health food store where they can provide a free smoothie, healthy snack samples and/or coupons. Offer discounts on fitness-inspired products in the store during the event.
  2. Small Fashion Show Event. If you’re launching a new product, create a runway show to showcase your items. Ask your customers to be the models, have snacks/beverages and ask your customers to participate. Invite local media to cover the event. Offer discounts during the event.
  3. Exclusive Sample Sale Event. When a purchase is made, customers will be entered into a drawing. Those selected will get to attend an exclusive sample sale of new products at a discounted price (similar to a friends/family sale).
  4. Back to School Event. Include free agenda or other low-priced school supplies for a certain amount spent.  Usually, there are discounts on clothing and shoes in late August for students starting school.
  5. “Give Back” Event.  Donate a percentage of a day’s revenue to a local charity found within your community. Identify through social media what charity your customers would be most excited to support. Decorate the store in the colors associated with that particular charity, create a display of products that share the charity’s color.  For a shoe store, donate a pair of shoes for every 5 pairs sold. Can be done for a day, or limited time.
  6. Holiday-themed Events.  Take a free photo with the Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, etc. with a store purchase. Decorate the store in the holiday theme and allow a free picture with the character in front of a store logo backdrop.  


  1. Bridal/Wedding Event.  Network with wedding dress stores, event planners, catering companies, etc…, to host an event together. The event can be a “bridal event”, where all of the different stores agree on a location and come together. Conceptually, like a mini bridal “convention”, couples can check out different caters, wedding gowns, tuxes, wedding jewelry, shoes, bakeries, venues and etc.
  2. Fashion Show Event.  Network with nearby clothing and shoe boutiques to have people model the clothing, with the new line of jewelry.
  3. Stylist Night.  Have a local stylist come and customers bring an outfit that they need help finding the right accessories for. The stylist helps them pick something out.


  1. Plant Night Event.  People get together and make a mini plant arrangement.  For instance, someone leads participants step-by-step in making a mini Zen garden, succulent arrangement, or tiny terrarium. The store should provide all the materials, the pots, the plants, the dirt, etc.
  2. BBQ Fest. Have food for customers, match up with discounts/promotions on grills, outdoor seating, and furniture.  
  3. DIY Night.  Feature a new project  (picture frames, wooden coat rack, jewelry box) one night each week that customers can learn to build and decorate themselves.
  4. Teaching Seminar.  A series of “how to” courses (2 hours max).  Examples: “How to choose the right color paint for the exterior/interior of your home”, “How to get that perfect lawn”, “Learn about the plants, shrubs, and trees in your garden”, “How to properly clean (whatever), etc…


  1. Reading Event/ Story Time.  Pick a popular kids book and have a reading event where someone can read to the children at the store. Light snacks and/or drinks to be available. An employee can sit and read a book to the children, while their parent’s shop.
  2. “One for all” Event.  For every toy bought (or every 3 toys bought) offer to donate part of the proceeds to a charity (local if possible). Or for every (certain amount) of toys sold, offer to donate one to a child in need. Or, simply a percentage of sales from that day are donated to the charity. Can work well around the holiday season.
  3. Arts and Crafts Event.  Feature a new simple project one day each week where moms and their children can create items themselves (picture frames, birdhouses, etc…).
  4. Host Birthday Parties. Only if you have a private area to maintain this. This can include party packages with food, decorations, games, crafts, goody bags, etc.

Home Goods

  1. Crafts Event.  For adults, to create decor for their homes (flower arrangements, plants, paintings, wall art, soap making, candle making, centerpieces, etc…).
  2. Registry Events. An employee can walk the customers through the store, showing them different registry packages/ideas and different themes for their homes, etc… There can be snacks and drinks provided.
  3. Cooking Classes.
  4. Wine Tasting Classes.

In-store events are a great way to bring foot traffic to your store to help your small business grow. We hope that these ideas are a helpful start to get your events going.  If you have any questions during your planning stages feel free to reach out, we’re always happy to help!

Danielle Foley, Owner
Foley Marketing Advisors

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