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It’s a wrap on the summer of 2017, the season of travel and visits to theme parks, attractions and special events. I had the opportunity to get away and enjoy an amazing few weeks in Portugal – that included seeing some of the world’s most famous tourist attractions … and of course, their gift shops.

Throughout my time visiting and working with gift shops, I have noticed trends and themes. Even stores that aren’t attached to attractions are adopting the “gift shop” feel for their stores: think Indigo or the Drake General Store, or pop up shops that open in various locations for a short amount of time (for example, fans of the beauty brand Glossier had a week to visit the recent Glossier pop up shop in Toronto). Even local “main streets” are full of stores with that boutique or gift shop “feel.” Whether you’re visiting an attraction’s gift shop or popping into a local store to pick up something from your weekend stroll down Main Street, these stores all have something in common. I have worked with many gift shops as well as general retail stores, and here is what I know:

Often as a way to cherish the memories from these special visits, we head over to the gift shop to pick up a souvenir. Maybe a hat, a t-shirt, or a water bottle. While as a customer this may see to be just a souvenir, for the venue it is a way to engage further with the visitor… not to mention the opportunity to drive revenue!

 

Here are my FIVE key essentials to creating an amazing gift shop:

1) Have the right stuff: Retail in venues, such as tourism, is an opportunity to keep the feeling of the experience in our minds well after the trip or visit has ended (and not to mention – drive revenue for the business!). Make sure your gift shop or boutique is a curation of the right products that reflect your brand and your customer.

2) Make it entertaining and engaging: Customers are at the event or attraction to participate and be engaged, and this should include your retail program as well! Make the whole shop experience exciting and memorable.

3) Make it Social: Using social media as a tool for marketing and promotion is a great way to attract new customers. Engage and encourage customers to post themselves on social media wearing or using your products. Take Disney, for example: their theme parks are experts at this, as they drive customers through the gift shops as the enter and exit the parks and rides, giving the customer plenty of opportunities to peruse items for sale. It’s part of the Disney culture to walk around in costume or wear Mickey Mouse ears – and you’ll see this all over social media!

4) Know your audience: If your gift shop is located in a tourist attraction that frequently sees families as patrons, don’t forget the kids! Ensure that the gift shop experience includes fun stuff for kids of all ages. Better yet, look past the products, and focus on the experience: providing a fun experience will have them talking about the shop – not just the attraction they were there to see.

5) Don’t forget the impulse area: Mini or pick-up items located near the cash registers are amazing (and easy!) ways to drive additional sales. It’s so easy to be tempted while you’re waiting in line! Sephora does a great job of this, displaying tons of mini or travel items near the registers. The key with making this work is keeping your impulse items small and inexpensive.

 

Keep my 5 key essentials in mind the next time you go to revamp your gift shop our boutique to ensure you have your customers enjoying their experience and coming back for more!

 

LHR Consultants has considerable experience working with retail operations to help them modernize and meet emerging trends. To discuss your specific retail needs, contact us for a free consultation at lisa@lisahutcheson.ca.