Hosting a Holiday Open House at your shop can net you one of your biggest sales days of the year. Consider having one each quarter. Come up with ideas that make sense for your shop. Obviously we have a Holiday Open House as soon as we’ve decorated the shop for Christmas. We have one in the spring near Easter, one for Mother’s Day because 99.9% of our customers are women, and a fourth one late in the summer to celebrate the date we opened. We call that one our Anniversary Open House.
During your Holiday Open Houses you have the opportunity for your customers to sample your wares, particularly if you have foods that you sell.
We carry scone mixes, cheeseballs mixes, teas, chocolate, coffee, and cider drink mixes, etc. We sell cookbooks. During our holiday open houses we would make a selection of foods and drinks based on our products, on our cookbooks. A number of things that we would have to nibble on throughout the shop were cheesy, easy things. Pretzels dipped in chocolate, M&M’s, small trays of cookies etc. were things we would use to augment everything, but it was essential to allow customers to sample our wares.
When sampling your wares, make it very obvious what they are tasting. Set up a display of those items in that sampling area. When we had customers come in who we know have never purchased one of these items, we try to get them to just have a taste of it. Many times all they had to do is taste it and they change their mind about what they think about it. Get them to realize that this will make their life so much easier at their next party.
Make sure that your staff has tasted everything that you are serving as well. They need to be able to talk knowledgeably about it and give recommendations for how that can be served and how it would make your customer’s life easier at a specific event. “For holiday entertaining it is really nice to be able to just open this up, add two ingredients and you have the most unique and delicious appetizer or dessert. I don’t have a party without serving these.” These are the kinds of things your staff needs to be able to say.
Above all, your customers need to feel as though they have been invited to something special, and when they come in they need to be greeted that way as well. Make sure you have enough staff on hand to help people find items, talk to them about what you’re serving, and above all make sure you can check them out quickly. Most people are quite willing to wait when they know they’re getting something special.
By treating your customers as honored guests at a Holiday Open House, you guarantee that they will return every single time you host one.