Your grand opening was awesome.
New business. New clients. All the imaginable potential, and the moment your dream became reality.
Grand openings are great opportunities, like pushing yourself off the starting line in a full sprint.
Unfortunately, over time that race drags to a crawl or the track gets muddled. Sometimes you have to throw that opening party again.
Because of things like pandemic shutdowns, closures for personal reasons, or just the changes in how businesses now operate, grand reopenings are back in a big way. It doesn’t matter whether your business was actually shut down or not; the incredible shifts and changes in customer behavior during the past few years has definitely led to the need to officially “re-open.”
You can reopen with a bang, knowing when to have a reopening as well as how to plan one so it goes smoothly. We’ll show you how.
When to have a grand reopening
There are some stores that are always having a liquidation sale or a grand reopening. After a while, it’s easy to stop paying attention.
That’s the last thing you want to do.
A reopening is a big deal, as much as your opening day. If you’re calling attention to your business and demanding attention from customers, you need to have a good reason and know how to maximize the moment.
Grand reopenings have a specific purpose:
- You need to remind or reintroduce yourself to customers due to things like stagnation or competition.
- You’ve moved to a new location.
- You’ve done a brand refresh, a remodel, or made some other significant changes.
- You’ve been closed for a while, long enough for customers to have made new habits without you.
- You’ve reinvented your business model and need to do a “hard” reset to let people know.
For the most part, grand reopenings are about how to re-engage your customers . Whatever the reason, some distance might have appeared and now you need to make it easy for them to come back. Reopening your business is not easy, and it matters that you do it right.
So when do you have a grand reopening?
Only after you are able to define the reason you’re thinking of having one. Does it fit into the list above? Will your customers feel cheated if they show up and it feels overblown?
When you’re sure a grand reopening is a go, then it’s all about the planning.
How to successfully plan your grand reopening
Grand reopenings are celebrations. There’s a reason people hire party planners; great celebrations don’t happen on their own
From announcing the event to the moment the last bit of confetti falls, you’ll be planning, planning, and more planning.
#1: What kind of event will it be?
Grand openings can be parking lot extravaganzas with live music and a festival atmosphere, door-busting sales, punctuated with prizes and giveaways, support worthy causes, have an exclusive guest list for a fancy soiree, tease with pop-up shops around town, or even feature speakers or workshops. It may even go on for several days or a week.
If your grand reopening is due to a major revamp of how you do business, you might want to have a soft opening first, followed by the full-on grand reopening (meaning you have two different events to prepare for).
Your event should match what your customers value and are attracted to. If your event is a big celebration, by all means, hire an event planner. Or, ask for employee input and help, since this will end up being a team event.
#2: Pick the date.
Plan nothing without getting the date locked in.
Make sure you’re not competing with other business or community events, if possible. Avoid major holidays.
Don’t pick something too soon that adds stress and makes it hard to get everything in place in time. Rush the date, and you get a rushed event that has less impact that it could have with just a bit more time to simmer.
And finally, pick a time that’s seasonably ideal. If you have a ski lodge, winter is great. But for a burger joint, summer might be better. If you’ll need a lot of staff on hand, choose a date when your seasonal help is present.
#3: Get the word out.
If no one comes in the door, is it really all that grand?
Mailed invitations, press releases, radio or podcast interviews, social media campaigns with hashtags, advertising in local publications, posters, website updates—you know your customers and demographics best. Which methods would get their attention?
Building interest and suspense for your grand reopening is helpful. Think of a matching social media and storefront campaign that lets people know something is coming, but doesn’t spill the beans. Just about everyone is curious; people will show up just to see what all the fuss was about.
#4: Prepare your staff and equipment.
When the day arrives, you don’t want confused staff, inventory gaps, and malfunctioning equipment.
Order any giveaways or promotional items so they will be there in time. That means knowing any themes, colors, or tie-ins early on.
Make sure you’ve scheduled enough staff to be on hand. It’s tough to estimate what kind of turnout you’ll get, but it’s better to have too many than too few.
Do a few dry runs. Make sure everyone knows the plan. Train your team on sale prices, new menu options, and any questions customers might have before the actual day. This is where a soft opening can help out.
Have a backup plan if the weather looks bad and you have outdoor activities. Be sure to indicate on your website, social media, and other advertising what people should know, or where they should look, in case that happens.
#5: Make the most of your grand reopening day.
When the day arrives, it’s too late to get things set up. Be prepared the day before, or long before the doors open.
Get your goodie bags ready. Have your point of sale equipment locked and loaded. Be sure you have enough inventory for sale or popular items. The last thing you want to hand out to new customers on your grand reopening is a bunch of rain checks or apologies.
And finally, make sure you have a way of getting contact information from the people flooding into your business. Email sign-ups, business card prize drawings, in-app purchases—however you go about it, remember you’re not just after a single sale. You’re after loyal customers. You’ll need that contact information for the next step.
#6: Follow through on follow-up.
Your grand reopening isn’t done when the event is done. There’s follow up that has to happen. Getting someone in your door one time is great, but you want that to repeat.
A great way to encourage that is to give out coupons to encourage next visits. If you’ve collected contact information, you can mail or email upcoming specials, sales, or workshop opportunities.
Remember, one visit makes a visitor; more visits make a customer. You want customers.
If your business or brand has been sluggish, or if you’re trying to come back from closures, a grand reopening might be just the thing to not only catch your customers’ attention, but also rejuvenate you and your team. A restart can get you thinking ahead of the curve instead of struggling behind it, opening your eyes to seeing new opportunities as well as places for improvement.
So take a moment right now, and think of what it would mean if you had a grand reopening. Can you taste a bit of that excitement? Your dream is still there. It’s still as great as the first day you opened your doors. It might just need a little extra kick to get moving again.