Shop closures mean that there are currently very few points of contact remaining between retailers and customers. In the stress of daily routine too, though, there is often not enough time to engage with customers intensively. In order to counteract this problem, digital events can serve as a means of communication. Retailers can use them to represent their business and the products they carry in an authentic way, convey genuine enthusiasm and recount their own experiences, including after shop closing time. This allows your business to win points, while customers will feel like they are being well looked after as far as advice is concerned. Especially small round tables adapt well to the online sphere, where they can be used to kick-start a conversation and thereby make a significant contribution to creating and keeping customer loyalty.
Compared with physical events, virtual events are much more time efficient and can be implemented entirely independent of location. As the organiser, this allows you not only greater flexibility in scheduling, you can also reach a broader target group, since people interested in attending a virtual event are freed from both having to undertake long journeys and the expense of travel. The number of participants is also practically unlimited. If a participant is still not able to make it at the given time in spite of this, there is always the option of recording events and making them available to interested parties afterwards.
Even digital events can be set up to be interactive. What is important here is to have the right concept. Questions are rare during plenary sessions if there is a large audience. Participants often do not want to attract attention or they are afraid of making a fool of themselves. In the digital realm, there are fewer hurdles to participation from the outset because of anonymity and features like chats. Further options, such as surveys or reacting through emojis, allow you to easily obtain feedback in a playful way and to ask for opinions. Your interest in feedback not only shows customers that you value them, it also provides an important basis for optimising future events or fine-tuning the store concept.
Digital events can be integrated superbly into your existing content marketing strategy. The aim should be to establish your shop as the contact point for all questions and concerns relating to your products. Devise different content around this that you can transpose into event form. Some examples include:
If you would like to increase the reach of your event, participation should be free and a recording of the event or workshop should be made available afterwards. That way, appointments and recordings can be forwarded on to friends and colleagues without any problem, allowing potential new customers to be reached. If your aim is to address particularly loyal customers, you should make your event more exclusive. You can then send personal invitations and keep the numbers down to a small circle of participants.
Before you get into planning the details, you should define what goal you want to achieve with your event. From this, you can derive the initial framework conditions, such as how many participants you would like to allow, whether you will charge for the event and whether you are aiming for interactive participation or just a simple stream.
After you have defined your goals, you can start searching for a suitable platform. When doing so, above all keep in mind the framework conditions you have already set for your event. In addition, you should now also have a look at basic design, user friendliness and whether the design can be customised.
Depending on the goal and your wider intentions in the area of digital events, it may be worth purchasing equipment and developing the corresponding know-how. For smaller workshops, it usually suffices to use what you already have available and to expand this, if need be, with cost-effective products. The most important things are good image and good sound but it is not necessary to have an entire studio to achieve those. Try out different settings with headsets and the cameras available to you, as well as light sources. If you are lacking technical affinity or would like to have your event put on professionally, it is advisable to gather quotes from the relevant service providers in good time.
Patience and the inhibition level for leaving an event are lower in the virtual realm. You should therefore not allow too much time at the start of the event and should absolutely avoid long pauses. Discuss the sequence of all organisational points with the moderator before the event. Processes that may seem obvious to you are not necessarily things the moderator has thought about. To ensure that interaction with participants works well, it is advisable to have the assistance of an additional co-moderator. Their task is to moderate questions from the audience and ensure that everyone is following along in workshops.
Virtual events are no longer a novelty. With a little lead-time and a good concept, affordable tools will allow you to realise successful events in the digital space. Even small retailers can achieve a lot here with minimal effort and expense so should not let the opportunity pass them by.