This is a story from the “You may have missed the real lesson” files:
A business owner mentioned taking a walk in their own downtown late on a Saturday. Apparently, it was a popular time for walking because they saw folks peering into the front window of their own business. Then, a few days later, a person came in and instantly bought a large item. Turns out they were they weekend window peepers. They had seen this big item through the window, really wanted it, and so they drove 1.5 hours back to make the purchase. The shop owner tagged this story as #LoveWhatYouDo.
Now, here’s my question: was the real lesson “love what you do” or was it “maybe you should think about being open late weekend hours when many people (including you) have been getting out and about in downtown”?
Think of all the customers who weren’t willing to wait around and come back when it was convenient for you. For the one you noticed, there must be many more who you never knew about. Potential customers lost without a sound.
Inconvenient hours remains the number one complaint I hear about businesses in small towns. If there is only one thing you work on improving in your business over the next six months, make it extending your hours to late evenings and especially late evenings on weekends.
If you’re struggling with ways to get local store owners to stretch their hours and be open later, special events can help. Lots of towns do shopping events like Girls Night Out or Sip n’ Stroll (with refreshments) or Night Owls (love that name!).
A Pop-Up Fair with new and different vendors right on the sidewalk out front can work, too. By overlapping times that existing stores are already open and extending that into a later evening time, you can coax them into longer opening times as well as training shoppers that there is more available in the evening. If you want to learn how to do a successful Pop-Up Fair, Deb Brown and I are offering a Pop-Up Fair Mini Course. We walk you through the process and support you with weekly emails while you work on making it happen. Registration for the mini course closes in just 5 days, on Monday June 15.
You can shape the future of your town,
PS – I saw that the Town of Delaware, Ohio, is trying native plants, in place of high maintenance flowers, in their downtown decor. Smart move!