27 October 2010

Collaborative retail- part 2

Retail isn't about exchanging goods for money.  Well, that isn't what it means to me.  I love the interaction with people and participating in their experience in the shop.  I guess that's why I'm pro brick-and-mortar.  I'm not anti online- just prefer people to keyboards and screens.

When people wander in to my shop I immediately share the store policy with them.  They must have fun!  The only way to do that is to touch everything otherwise they will miss that some things are made of hot glue or plastic or that they make music or make you laugh.  If they accidentally break something, then they must say sorry.  I believe in good manners.  (note: no one has ever followed policy and ever broken a thing.)

So in my quest for creating a fun experience for customers, I've collaborated with my landlord (Hands-on 3rd), SCVNGR and my neighbors at The Traveler's Bookcase. 
TWEAK99 now open inside Hands-on 3rd

Since Hands-on has classes for adults and kids on how-to make things with their hands (sewing, knitting, etc) I decided that we should have a gift card making station.  Customers can now buy a gift and step back into the art studio to make their own cards.
Make your own gift cards

We also added a rock painting area so that kids can stay occupied while parents shop.  We then invite them to place their creations in our rock garden in front of the shop.

Paint a rock and add it to the garden

In December, we are launching Wednesday Wraps.  People can drop in with their unwrapped gifts and spread out at our work tables to do their projects.  We have scissors, kraft paper and embellishments for them to use.  Imagine, parents can drop their kids off to school in the morning then head over to our tables, do their holiday gift wrapping and then head back to school for pick up.  We also have gift wrap elves on hand to help coach some creative options for wrap.  Maybe go onto your friend's facebook page, and print their photos on paper.  Turn it into festive wrap with a coat of cellophane and ribbon.

Also, in December, I'm creating Scavenger Sundays.  Customers go around the store with their smart phones in hand scanning QR codes.  Not only will they learn more about the artists and products, but one of the codes will reveal the day's promotion.  Could be a 2-for1 deal, a percentage of the sale, or perhaps a Fiona Shopping Bag.

Since I'm a huge fan of the QR code, it was a natural for Tweak99 to join as one of the first retail venues on SCVNGR.  It's an interactive app where people walk into businesses, do challenges, earn points and claim rewards.  In my shop, you get one point for checking in.  If you shop with SCVNGR playing friends, you get even more points.  If you tweet or post on facebook, you earn points.  If you challenge me to an arm wrestle toy fight, you get two points.  Points are also given for posting pics of your gift card and rock creations.  If you earn 10 points (easy on a first visit) then you're rewarded with 10% off the sale.  If you earn 25 points, you can be rewarded with 30% off a TWEAK home styling consultation.


Future collaborations are still on the drawing board with the neighbors.  December 9th is the annual W3rd St block party- the ultimate collaborative retail effort.  I'm thinking we should get a photo booth for the shop that night.  The wine is a no brainer.

Bottom line- collaborating with like minded business simply creates a more interesting interactive shopping experience.