1. Make sure you have a primary display that elicits a response from every customer. The first display or set of products that a customer sees in your store needs to be an attention-grabber. It could be an incredibly interesting product ("Very cool"), or a great deal (Wow!"), or products displayed in a fun or amazing way ("That's awesome")
You can use bulk, motion, music, lighting, or a combination of them. You could also do something fun with a mannequin, or even post a silly sign like "25% Off and Free Good Karma with Every Purchase." Get your staff involved in brainstorming your unique primary display impression.
2. Welcome your customers in a non-traditional way. Skip "how may I help you" or "what brings you in today" and go for something unique. A few examples include:
* If your state is one of the several holding a sales tax holiday this weekend, welcome customers with a "Happy Holidays." It's simple but it stands out. US stores could do it on Labor Weekend too.
* Offer customers Mardi Gras beads, something to drink and/or eat, or something else different they come in.
* Theme your weekend and welcome the customer that way. "Welcome to the Never Ending Summer Weekend at the ABC store. We're refusing to let summer end." I'm thinking grass skirt and all. One of our readers did an all Elvis weekend.
The Stamp Addict store in San Diego had two "Meet Elvis" weekends this month. They have Elvis music playing in the store, Elvis decorations throughout, and customers can get their picture taken with Elvis by a local photographer. Now there's a store that has a lot of Shake, Rattle and Roll going on!
* Invite a Girl Scout troop or some other organization to be the weekend's official welcoming committee. You donate to their cause and they look cute and tell people they're the official greeters for the weekend. It may sound weird, but it works.
3. Engage your customer with a unique offer that also creates future sales.
* Do a "Tweet and Like" event. Ask customers to either tweet or post a Facebook message about your store and they get a free gift or a coupon.
* Similarly, stores that want to increase their Facebook presence can have a Facebook weekend. It takes a bit of work but I think it's worth the effort. Set a computer up in the store and give customers a gift if they access their Facebook page and "Like" your store. To make this successful you'll probably need to station someone at the computer all weekend.
* Offer a weekend-only drawing for customers who sign-up for your newsletter or more. Make the prize something that every customer will say "Wow" and fall over each other for the chance to win. A $10 gift card isn't the answer, but a $100 gift card might be. That contact information will be worth in the long run a lot more than $100. Next week send a $10 gift card to every customer who didn't win, with a note inviting them back to the store.
So how about it? Are you ready to make the best first impression this weekend?