‘Retail Therapy’ Gives Local-Loyal Customers Incentive to Shop

From: IGC Retailer, March/April, 2014

‘Retail Therapy’ Gives Local-Loyal Customers Incentive to Shop

Caan Floral & Greenhouses, Sheboygan, WI

Retail Therapy Night at Caan Floral & Greenhouses brought in local vendors to show their offerings in booths across the garden center, giving customers a feel-good opportunity to support local business while shopping a variety of selections. “We wanted to position ourselves with the ‘shop local’ initiative and get people to realize we’re a local business, too,” says Caan’s Marketing Manager Justin Illig. 

The vendors, which ranged from homemade dog treats and a local bakery to makeup and jewelry businesses, were spaced far enough apart that customers were able to shop the garden center’s displays as well. “We pull new customers from events like this because the vendors tell their support base to come in,” says Illig. 

The customers who come to this type of event, he says, are very loyal to local businesses and supportive of the local economy. That support was encouraged with a fun challenge: When customers visited each booth and filled out and turned in a card provided by the garden center, they were entered into a drawing to win free prizes, including garden center merchandise and gift baskets from the vendors. 

Caan began promoting the event a couple of weeks in advance on Facebook and via e-mail. For future Retail Therapy Nights, Illig plans to add direct mail invitations and handpick a vendor lineup whose products are closely tied to what Caan carries. He noticed the homemade dog treats did really well positioned next to Caan’s Backyard Bird Center, and he would like to bring in a custom pottery business that complements Caan’s current selection. 

Next time, too, the event, previously held during the week, will be scheduled for a weekend evening to promote maximum exposure and attendance. 

Another tweak: showing a selection of vendors that offer budget-friendly items. “If we have vendors with affordable goods, customers will have more money to spend in our store,” says Illig.

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