Throughout the pandemic, event creators have worked hard to adapt to changing circumstances and develop unique experiences that engage people while keeping them safe. Brands have leveraged Eventbrite to organize and promote their events while experimenting with new strategies.
Since March, virtual events have become all the rage, and now they’re here to stay. In a recent survey, Eventbrite found that 71% of participants said they’ll continue to participate in online events even after COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. That means that creators can still delight their attendees virtually and take advantage of the expanded audience that online events offer.
But it’s important to keep looking ahead. In-person events will always offer a unique and valuable experience to event-goers that can’t be captured online. So how can your brand get the best of both worlds?
Many creators are figuring out how to restart their in-person events while still capturing their newly found online audience. The retailer Anthropologie has seen success leveraging Eventbrite to organize its new lineup of online and in-person events to engage its customer base.
Meeting customers online
Anthropologie is a global retail brand with more than 200 locations worldwide that focuses on clothing, home furniture, jewelry, and beauty products. Like so many other businesses, it needed to make some changes when the pandemic struck.
Anthropologie was no stranger to hosting events. In ordinary times, the brand hosted in-store events to help engage their customer base and inspire a sense of community. From pop-up markets to DIY tutorials to mini fashion shows, these events, which averaged about ten attendees, were also a great chance to give back by donating proceeds to arts and art education nonprofits.
At the start of the pandemic, Anthropolgie needed to find a way to move this engagement strategy online. To do that, it needed a platform that made organizing online events easy and straightforward.
“We’ve been organizing a range of online events on Zoom since April,” says Joty Kaur, Junior PR & Events Manager at Anthropologie Europe. “That’s included everything from dream decoding to face yoga, from cooking workshops to exercise classes.” With a maximum hosting capacity of 500 attendees, online classes have helped Anthropologie expand the reach of their events.
The ease of communication offered by Eventbrite has helped Anthropologie stay connected to its customers. “Just the ease of navigating around Eventbrite was another great feature,” Kaur says. “It’s great having all your details in one place, and being able to email everybody in one go if there are any changes or cancellations, or if events are put on hold.”
Eventbrite has also helped the retailer evolve its approach to online events and classes. Anthropologie started by offering two online classes a week in April, although that’s since shifted to one a week.
Reopening in style
Anthropologie has seen success bringing customers back safely to its store for events. As Kaur stresses, there are a few things they’ve done that have made the whole process easier and have helped them take their popular classes to the next level.
“Since September, we’ve started to introduce smaller scale, in-store events, such as calligraphy workshops or collage-making,” Kaur says. Its overall approach to event organizing has become more hybrid as well. “We’re keeping most of our events digital via Zoom, and then peppering in some in-store events in smaller groups, keeping to the rule of six [people maximum].”
When organizing in-store events, safety measures were key. Because Anthropologie’s in-store events are limited in size, this keeps them intimate. Attendees wear masks during the events, and must sanitize their hands when they arrive at the store. During the event, customers are spaced out, one per trestle table. Communicating these measures over Eventbrite keeps customers informed about how the company plans to keep everyone attending safe.
In our current moment, flexibility is key. “My advice is to keep the event small and intimate,” Kaur says. Carefully designed programming helps Anthropologie Europe stay light on its feet. “For all our in-store events, we’ve tried to keep the content designed in such a way that it’s easy to transfer to digital if there’s another lockdown situation,” Kaur says. “So we won’t need to cancel the event altogether.”
Looking ahead, Anthropologie plans to develop more hybrid events. “For future large-scale events, we’re hoping to stream via Zoom so we can reach out to both audiences, in-store and online,” Kaur says. “We’ve had such a great reception with people saying hello from all around the world, so we’re keen to keep our online events going.”
Given its newfound success organizing online events, Anthropologie wanted to give back. Eventbrite’s flexible ticket types helped them do just that. “Having the voluntary donation feature was so helpful during lockdown,” Kaur says. “We were able to quickly set up free events, but with an option for customers to donate what they wished to our chosen charities. We raised a fantastic amount.”
Eventbrite’s ticketing features also helped Anthropologie regulate attendance and standardize events. While Anthropologie hosts a few private events that are handled in-house, public events are run exclusively through Eventbrite.
“All tickets are available to purchase via Eventbrite only,” Kaur says. “And our online tickets are only available before the event goes live.”
Finally, setting the right tone keeps customers coming back. “In general, we’ve organized lighthearted, fun, creative content,” Kaur says, “since we’ve found lots of our customers enjoy having something to look forward to.”