Ladies’ nights and other customer appreciation events geared toward your DIY customers are a great way to advertise your store and promote community involvement, but the next time you plan an event, don’t forget about another segment of your customer base—the pro.
While pro customers may not need the how-to advice that consumers do, they’re still a group you can cater to as you plan these events.
Brian Baker, owner of Builders Lumber & Hardware in Shelbyville, Indiana, did just that when he held an invitation-only contractor event at his store.
“We invited 12 of our top vendors, as well as our top builder and remodeler customers and a handful of prospective customers,” Baker says. “We set up booths and tables in our store for the vendors, and the contractors could walk through and meet with them.”
He set up each vendor near a related display—the exterior door vendor was near the door displays and the cabinet vendor was near the cabinet displays—which spread vendors throughout the store. When the customers arrived, they checked in at the door and received a small welcome bag with some information about the vendors and products they were featuring that evening. They also were served some refreshments.
“Because many of our customers use the same products over and over again, there are many other (items) our vendors offer that they may not know about—this was a good way for them to learn more,” Baker says.
All customers got a paper that vendors stamped when they visited their booths, and those who got the whole sheet stamped were eligible for drawings for prizes, which included everything from restaurant gift cards and tools to a grill.
And Baker’s total cost for the event? $0. Each vendor paid $250 to take part in the event, which added up to enough to cover the prizes, welcome bags and food and drinks.
“At $250, the vendors thought it was very affordable,” Baker says. The event ran for two hours after the store closed, so it didn’t interfere with the business’s daily activities or any other customers’ shopping. And Baker says he’s received positive feedback about the evening.
“I’ve had a few customers tell me they saw a product that night that they’re going to try on an upcoming job,” he says. “That was the goal of the evening—to promote product awareness and to host an event to show how much we appreciate our contractor customers.”