Even as “nonessential” retailers operate exclusively online during the COVID-19 pandemic, they still have the chance to rethink in-store experiences for when they open again. Demonstrating how in-store events can serve as a top loyalty driver, Anthropologie increased foot traffic from 4,500+ attendee check-ins at 593 events in 2018 to 6,300+ check-ins at 665 in-store events in 2019. The retailer also expanded its email list with 3,000+ new customers in a three-month span between September and November 2019.
“We’ve seen that consistent trajectory where it seems that once customers make that initial interaction with us through an event, they are more likely to come back to others,” said Jessica McGuinn, Experiential Marketing Manager at Anthropologie in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Additionally, they are more likely to make purchases at that event or directly following.”
Anthropologie first partnered with event marketing company Splash in late 2017 to run its event strategy throughout the entire the shopper journey — from selling tickets or monitoring attendance through RSVPs and gathering post-event feedback from shoppers.
The retailer has hosted a wide range of events across many of its locations, for new store openings, fashion shows, interactive workshops, trunk shows, personal styling parties and pop-up markets with a local vendor selling products within the store. Some events are held for landmark occasions such as store anniversaries, others for influencer-facing events such as private shopping nights. Shoppers are encouraged to share photos, videos and other content on social platforms with the hashtag #AnthroEvents.
“I come up with concepts for each month and each quarter that we then share out with our field teams,” said McGuinn. “There are different events for our home category, our apparel category, beauty, wellness, you name it. Once we have a list of who’s hosting which events, we can go into Splash, create unique RSVP pages or ticketed workshop or fashion show pages, and set it up so that we can have anywhere from 20 to 50 stores hosting the same thing.”
With the events becoming such a big part of the Anthropologie brand experience, the retailer markets them as a major benefit within its AnthroPERKS loyalty program alongside complementary styling services. Loyalty members are technically the only shoppers invited to the in-store events, but anybody can sign up to be an AnthroPERKS member.
Post-Event Spend Tracking Starts At Select Events
Anthropologie store teams also can use the platform to submit a recap of each event they host, enabling the retailer to gather all the information from the event. The retailer has started to track certain metrics during and after select events to learn more about individual shoppers’ spending habits.
“After the shopper attended certain events we’ve held, we’ve tracked how much spending they would do over the next two, three or six weeks,” McGuinn said. “We’ve definitely noticed that customers that attend our events are more likely to spend more in those weeks following their in-store touch points through an activation. We don’t do it for every event, but it’s something we’ve dabbled with in the past. From a loyalty perspective, we’re able to look at customers who attended one event in 2017 or 2018, and then came back in 2019 for three events. We’re looking to hopefully have that customer come back for five events in 2020.”