The idea of a cash mob is fairly simple: a locally owned small business sets a date and time where they try to get as many people as they can to come into their store and spend at least $20 a person within that time period. Usually it is on a week night and lasts about three hours.
My question today is whether or not events like these have a long term benefit or if they give a small business a boost in sales for just that one day. To look into this further, I spoke with Derek Drushel from Joey’s Pet Outfitters in Williamston, MI. Their business just held a cash mob a few weeks ago and I asked him a few questions about the success of the event.
I wanted to analyze the long and short term benefits of doing a cash mob. First I asked him how successful he thought the event was. “It went well,” said Derek, “It definitely was a significant portion of our sales that day, and I think it helped our average ticket sale even with people who weren’t part of the event because it created a more positive buzz in the store.” He followed up by saying, “anytime you can up the overall energy level in the store it’s a good thing.” His answers followed much of the research that I conducted about the short term benefits of cash mobs. On average, a cash mob will double or even triple a store’s normal sales for the day; it makes sense that an event such as this could have such a positive effect on a small business for that one particular day.
But I wanted to know what he thought of the long term effects of the event. I asked if he thought he gained any lifetime customers from the event and if he found that many of the people that came to the store that night were new customers. “Unfortunately I don’t think it was really a longtime business builder for the majority of folks who came in…it had more of a one-time feel than you would hope,” said Derek. In the articles that I found online, there was little mention of the long term effects of a cash mob. I personally believe that most of the people that attend the event would tend to be current customers as they probably will want to support a business they are already familiar with. It is difficult to get the news out to new potential customers as the way most cash mobs are promoted is usually through social media. Derek did follow up by saying, “we did add some business, however, from those people that knew about our store, but maybe didn’t realize all we had to offer.” So even though their store may not have gained new life long customers, they may have turned occasional shoppers into life time customers through this event.
So in conclusion, it is really hard to say what kind of benefits-short or long term-a business will have from a cash mob event. There are things you can do to improve your odds of a good turn out however.
1) Promote your event via social media, print media, and your local chamber of commerce. Use as many avenues as you can to promote the event if you want to attract new customers.
2) Promote your event as a “Shop Local” event. This is a huge trend right now and will be sure to attract at least a few more customers for the event.
3) Don’t forget about your current customers! These customers are the ones that will most likely become life time shoppers as they already do business with you, so make sure to send them a personal invite to attend.
Best of luck to all of you with this new business trend! Please comment if you have any tips and tricks from your business’s experience with cash mobs.
“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.” – Nolan Bushnell