Get Found

Scale Your Business

Convert & Keep Customers

Industries We Serve



  • Home
  • Blog
  • 27 Splashy (& Doable!) Grand Opening Ideas for Retail Stores

Your grand opening will be one of the best chances to generate organic momentum and win loyal customers on day one. With the right strategy, you can have a successful opening day with new customers eager to try your retail products.

But no one wants crickets when they open the doors. It takes promotion, planning, and techniques to have a successful event that can pay dividends long after.

We’ve compiled grand opening ideas for retail stores so you can jump in with a splash. But first, let’s review foundational elements that will set you up for success.


Best practices before grand opening day for your retail business

You can have the most exciting, head-turning opening plans, but if you don’t lay the groundwork to spread the word and nurture future customers, then you’re risking a quiet first day.

Last year, I consulted a small business in the community. They had big plans and talked about opening day. But they needed to understand the most crucial principle: your business starts today.

If you can lay the groundwork for your local audience before the grand opening event, you’ll have customers before you even unlock the doors.

Not only are these tools essential for preparation, but you’ll quickly see how these become integrated pillars to the grand opening ideas in this article.

Every retail business should add the following to their checklist.

Build an email list

The email list is your first storefront long before you open a physical store. Interested audience members can sign up for your newsletter to get rewards, news of the grand opening day, and perks.

You can nurture your email subscribers so that they already trust you on opening day, and you can announce the event. Your email newsletter will serve as the prime communication platform.

Create your online presence

Opening your social media accounts, establishing a website, and developing your online presence are critical before opening day.

As the community learns about your business, they can research and learn more about you. Google reports that 83% of shoppers search online before entering a store. This is your opportunity to present your value and show some of the products you provide.

Businesses should also register with Google Business Profile to ensure the retail location is on Google Maps and to add relevant information like store hours and accessibility. Google asks that you verify ownership by recording a video of the area, showing the signage, inside the store, and other details, so it would need to be done closer to the big day.

online presence - google business profile example

📍 Want to know the current state of your online presence? Get an instant audit with our free business listings grader!

Network and nurture the local community

While creating relationships is essential to your online activities, it’s also important to do it locally.

Brands can attend community events, showcase their product or apparel, and interact with future customers. Every time a person shows interest, you can encourage them to sign up for the email list.

Post clear signage at the location

As soon as possible, display your sign. The more a community knows about your brand, the more anticipation and awareness you can benefit from.

Your opening event and business don’t have to be a mystery. Display information on your website, such as how to sign up for your newsletter and a flier about your grand opening day plans. Take advantage of curiosity as locals pass by your future location.

Grand opening ideas for retail businesses

Once you have the essentials, you can start planning for the grand opening. There are plenty of ideas and strategies, and you have many opportunities to get creative.

Below are 26 retail grand opening ideas that you can use. We’ve split ideas based on two stages of your grand opening: promoting and hosting it.

Promoting the day

The more people know about your event ahead of time, the more likely you can pack out your store on its first day. It’s a snowball effect: locals see long lines and crowded stores and also want to check it out. Then, people post on social media, and the momentum continues.

Below are some ways you can promote your store opening.

1. Social media contests

There’s nothing more exciting than social media buzz. Retail brands can hold fun contests while promoting the opening day.

For example, you can encourage users to enter a contest through likes and follows. Then, on opening day, you announce the winner. The winning user can get a free retail item or something you’ve purchased (like a tablet).

example of social media contest on instagram


You can also hold a contest that requires opening-day attendance. Users must like, follow, and share the brand to qualify. Let them know you will draw names at a particular time.

Social media contests are very effective because they increase engagement and ignite digital word of mouth when users complete your requirements to enter.

🚨 Get copy-and-paste social media posts ready for the whole year (including contest posts!) in our free social media template!

2. Partner with local businesses for opening day promotion

There are many non-competing businesses you can partner with for exposure. Find out what other types of businesses your target audience likes.

For example, if you provide apparel for a fitness audience, a few restaurants will likely serve the same kind of customer. You can partner with the restaurants so that their customers get a discount on opening day and special perks. You can also promote their business to your customers, so it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.

If you plan on having a moment to share your vision with your customers, you can also feature those partners during your speech.

3. Announce the presence of a local celebrity or influencer

There are plenty of local influencers. If you know your target audience well, you might already have someone in mind. If you need help, you can search social media, like Instagram, and find out who’s posting in your niche.

Local celebrities already have their audience’s trust, and you can win new customers through association.

One easy way to start the strategy is by inviting many influencers in general. Let them know what you offer and why they might like it. Then, give them a promo code or special perk for themselves and their followers.

When some of their fans visit your store, you can encourage them to post about their experience on social media (more ideas on that).

You can also find an influencer with a high local celebrity factor. You can partner with them where they do a meet and greet. Local celebrities can announce it on their social media.

4. Promote a sneak-peek tour experience

A few days before opening day, you can invite influencers, your most loyal email subscribers, and social followers to get a peek at the store.

Ensure you have merch to give away and some coupons so they can continue to spread the brand message and show up on opening day.

sneak peek post on instagram for new location

In this post, an Instagram user did a virtual tour of the new space for a knitting store that featured the owner. While still an empty room, it garnered excitement from customers.

The sneak-peek tour can unveil some of your products (a great opportunity for visitors to take pictures and share), but it can also be a moment for you to position your brand for the audience. You can share your brand story and why you want to make a difference in the community.

5. Notify your chamber of commerce and local newspapers

There’s nothing like organic partnerships and free PR. You can tell them about your business when you network with your chamber of commerce and build relationships with the local news.

On opening day, those key local leaders can publish the news. You can plan a ribbon-cutting ceremony inviting local representatives to celebrate. They add credibility to your opening (and love the opportunity to show the community’s progress).

6. Allow guests to pre-pay products ahead of time

Do you have a product or two that’ll sell out super fast? Share those products on social media and get audience members excited. You can provide a link to pre-order the items.

Brands can advertise that the person will have their product reserved and they won’t have to wait in a long line. Customers can just pick up the item and enjoy it immediately.

7. Host a pop-up experience

What if you can bring your store to customers instead of the other way around? Pop-ups are a great way to get exposure in high-traffic, walkable areas. Not only will you make some pre-opening sales, but you’ll make an imprint in the community.

example of instagram post promoting pop up grand opening event

The Frenchie Co. leased a temporary space in the mall for a popup store to increase exposure.

Whether you host a stand or create a cool retail truck platform, you can give someone a mini-taste of your store. You should have your core products to easily win customers over and show them the heart of your offerings.

8. Write down the most extensive invite list possible and contact each person

Sometimes, it pays to go old school. Sometimes, you must list all your friends, family, neighbors, and anyone you know. Then, send them a text, invitation card, or email to tell them about the day.

These people already know you—you’ve spent years building trust, and they are willing to try a new idea and product.

9. Offer special coupons in local magazines

Another traditional route is providing coupons for local publications. Everyone loves a deal, and if you can create an attractive offer for opening day, you’ll bring more people to the store.

Magazines already have an audience. You can tap into their influence for more visits.

10. Invite local community members

Social media and localized content help companies highly target the right audience. You can find potential customers by searching on Instagram, X, Facebook, and similar platforms.

For example, you can start with hashtags or a key search term. Let’s say you sell running shoes. You can find hashtags related to running in your area. Then, you can reach out to local users and invite them for opening day.

graphic showing how to find community members for grand opening event

In this example, a business owner would look up marathons in Atlanta to find an audience for their running shoe company.

You can also look for similar stores (or audience-related businesses in different industries) and start networking and nurturing those users. Many will follow you and hear about your opening.

💡 Learn how to increase awareness for your business. Download The Definitive Guide to Brand Awareness: Top Strategies, Examples & How to Measure Success

On the big day

You’re ready to plan the event once you’ve promoted your retail grand opening. Businesses should aim to make the opening memorable and exciting. Most importantly, it should be an opportunity to prove your product-market fit to your customers.

The big goal: you want to find a way to bring the customer back. The more customers return, the better and more sustainable your success will be long after opening day.

11. Provide discount perks for a year

We’ve seen popular year promotions in many industries like “free food for a year” or “one free car wash every month” for the first few visitors. Retail businesses can do the same.

For the first 25, 50, or 100 customers, you can provide exclusive (and your best) perks. It could be a 10% discount for a year, or maybe they get a cool free product every month with a purchase (something different and small like a keychain, or they can pick from old inventory that has to go).

Promote the offer before the grand opening to encourage a line before the doors open (the best way to add some buzz).

12. Offer buy one, get one free

Everyone loves a good BOGO deal. It’s irresistible and hard to say no to.

Choose a specific item you want to highlight. It’s even better if it’s something that customers will need from time to time so you can be at the top of their minds when they need it again (like lotions, socks, pens, and similar items).

To increase exposure, ask customers if they want a gift bag for the free item to encourage them to share it with friends and family.

example of buy one get one promotion for grand opening for retail


13. Give a specific free item after purchase

Maybe you don’t want to do buy-one-get-one-free deals, but you still want to offer something to customers.

You can create a custom giveaway product for purchases. Whether that’s a branded decal, keychain, or smartphone holder, customers love free (and valuable) things. Ensure you add your logo so your brand is identifiable to the customer later down the road and their friends.

14. Offer a trial period for critical products

If you want to stand out, there’s an excellent opportunity to win customers (especially if they are hesitant to purchase). You can offer a “try it on” policy, similar to Amazon’s try before you buy.

You don’t have to make it complicated, though. You can charge the customer and offer a no-questions-asked refund within seven days.

You can test it out with a limited quantity to share the value of a new or different product and get customers who might not have purchased from you (or that product) before.

It’s beneficial for your grand opening day because you’ll convert “window shoppers” with your no-strings-attached offer.

15. Host a party with a DJ or band

Everybody loves a party. You can provide live entertainment with a DJ or band. It makes the experience fun for everyone, and the music attracts passersby to stop and check you out.

The host can also run contests throughout the day, creating a lively and interactive experience.

16. Launch a generous loyalty program

There’s no better way to start a loyalty program than opening day. Customers get immediate benefits from their purchases and feel invested in your brand.

customer loyalty card facebook post

You also immediately create a sense of loyalty because customers will want to redeem or earn more points on a second visit.

On opening day, you can spread awareness and add incentives by announcing “double points” that day only.

17. Sell branded merchandise

On top of your current inventory, ensure you have a few items highlighting your brand. Your name should be visible and noticeable in the first few seconds. No matter your retail store, anyone can sell hats, t-shirts, and tumblers.

It’ll serve as a memento for the customer and benefit you after day one. As customers walk around with your merch, you spread the word.

18. Set up a photo booth for social media

With all the fun events, music, and contests, there’s no doubt people will take pictures. Why not leverage it?

Create a photo booth that anyone can use. The booth can include your social media handle and a unique hashtag. Customers can take a picture and share it with their followers.

To make it even more effective, have a photographer take customer pictures. Have the photographer share it immediately (like AirDrop or email) so it’s shareable as soon as possible on social media.

19. Promote the next event with fliers

What better way to announce the next big event than when everyone’s already here? Hand out fliers and let people know about your next exciting activity.

You can have an author visiting for a book tour, a poetry slam, or a meet-and-greet with someone special. It’s a great way to get a second visit and add more value to the grand opening.

20. Support a cause

You can do some good and win the heart of your community by helping a local organization. It could be for the town, first responders, or a charity that might help the homeless or families.

If you can find a charity that matches what you sell, that’s even better. If not, find organizations that your customers care about. Communicate how the event will help the cause (like a percentage of proceeds going to the organization).

21. Provide outside entertainment for guests who are waiting

Lines aren’t fun if the party is inside. Ensure you have speakers outside if you have your DJ in the store. Or provide special activities outside too.

A lot depends on your market, but if it’s for families, someone making balloon animals and face painting would be great. The photo booth could be outside, too. Or, you can have a comedian, magician, or professional entertainer hosting the area.

22. Encourage your most satisfied customers to share in social community groups

Local social media groups can be very impactful. They are highly focused groups filled with passionate buyers. Go on Facebook Groups or a similar platform to find your community. Get a sense of what matters and what people like in the group.

Then, invite your most excited customers to share it. They can post photos of the product or the visit. If you can connect with top posters beforehand, you can invite them to the store and encourage them to post about it.

23. Give away a BIG prize

Not every business can give away a car. But they can give highly demanded products. Imagine giving away a Kindle Scribe, iPad, MacBook, or Android Galaxy. Everyone wants a cool gadget, and there’s immediate value in the prize.

big prize giveaway for retail grand opening event


Promote it before the grand opening and then do a big announcement and raffle at the end of the day.

24. Open on a key holiday

Holidays are a great way to take advantage of buying seasons. If you sell items like jewelry, purses, gift baskets, or anything for loved ones, Valentine’s Day might be a good option for you. Or, if you sell scented candles, maybe key days during the holidays would attract the most visitors.

Not everyone can pick the ideal holiday for the grand opening because of timing with leases and business planning, but if you have the option, it’s worth pursuing. (Just don’t pick the big holidays where people will be busy!)

👀 Speaking of holidays…Get marketing, promotion, and social post ideas for every holiday of the year >> The Mega Must-Have Marketing Calendar

25. Hand out free brand materials

Maybe you don’t want to sell merchandise. But you can give it away. Create branded bumper stickers, magnets, pens, or whatever fits with your target audience. Then, give it all away.

After your grand opening event

You can spread the word long after your opening day.

26. Keep it going: Tell customers about day two

Most importantly, find a way to bring customers back. You can mention a special deal, a new line of products, or win more trust with gift cards to a partner local coffee shop. If you can return those customers immediately, you’ve had a successful grand opening.

27. Send an email wrap-up

Let your customers know about the success of your grand opening event via email. You can include pictures, highlights, and even videos that showcase your grand opening. Then, you can plug upcoming events, promotions, or services that your new customers should try.

Make your retail grand opening a grand success

These retail grand opening ideas should help you plan your big day. Grand openings are one of the best ways to get exposure. You only get to do it once, so make it remarkable. A successful event can kick off hard-to-get momentum and introduce you to the community. Use these ideas to carve out your own strategy.

Here are the best retail grand opening ideas:

  1. Social media contests
  2. Partner with local businesses for opening day promotion
  3. Announce the presence of a local celebrity or influencer
  4. Promote a sneak-peek tour experience
  5. Host a pop-up experience
  6. Invite local community members
  7. Notify your chamber of commerce and local newspapers
  8. Allow guests to pre-pay products ahead of time
  9. Write down the most extensive invite list possible and contact each person
  10. Offer special coupons in local magazines
  11. Provide discount perks for a year
  12. Offer buy one, get one free
  13. Give a specific free item after purchase
  14. Offer a trial period for critical products
  15. Host a party with a DJ or band
  16. Launch a generous loyalty program
  17. Sell branded merchandise
  18. Set up a photo booth for social media
  19. Promote the next event with fliers
  20. Support a cause
  21. Provide outside entertainment for guests who are waiting
  22. Encourage your most satisfied customers to share in social community groups
  23. Give away a BIG prize
  24. Open on a key holiday
  25. Hand out free brand materials
  26. Keep it going: Tell customers about day two
  27. Send an email wrap-up

Sign up for our newsletter

Get the latest marketing tips and actionable insights for your business.