While we live in a world that’s becoming increasingly online, brick and mortar stores still need to rely on some offline tactics to bring in customers.
The first step is understanding your target market. Once you know your customer like the back of your hand, you can pinpoint which of these 18 strategies will increase foot traffic to your business.
18 Ways to Increase Foot Traffic
Here are 18 of the best ways for attracting new customers and getting more foot traffic into your store.
- Keep your storefront well-maintained
- Add curbside “extras”
- Make sure your sales staff look busy
- Invest in employee training
- Build your online presence
- Give customers the option to click-and-collect
- Get listed online to increase foot traffic
- Explore social media opportunities
- Use email marketing
- Make customer loyalty a bigger focus
- Offer in-store services
- Employ experts to help your customers
- Host classes your customers will love
- Work with influencers and brand ambassadors
- Hold in-store events
- Use targeted promotions
- Give back to the local community
- Hydrate your customers
Let’s explore these in more detail:
1. Keep your storefront well-maintained
Did you know that you and your business have 7 seconds to make a good first impression?
If your storefront isn’t enticing, potential customers are going to keep on walking, and your cash register is going to carry on collecting dust.
Here are some quick ways you can boost the appeal of your store and get people through your front door:
Invest in signage: Signage is often the first thing people will see. Don’t be afraid to get creative and help your brand stand out from the rest.
Cleanliness: One sure-fire way to get people to leave without buying a single thing is any sign of dirt. Before you open your shop, mop your floors, dust your shelves and put any wayward products back in their right place.
Be attention-grabbing: Spend time curating a storefront that showcases the best your shop has to offer. Use colour to make your display pop or intrigue people with unusual items, or funny decorations that fit your brand.
2. Add curbside “extras”
You don’t need to only rely on your storefront to stop shoppers in their tracks. You can take your business to the next level with curbside marketing!
For example, if you own a cafe, you can put a board on the sidewalk that has a witty message or calls attention to a special offer.
If your shop is in an area that’s popular with freelancers, you can use the board to advertise your free and fast WiFi facilities.
3. Make sure your sales staff look busy
You can have the most beautiful eye-catching storefront in the world, but if the energy inside your shop is a low vibe, your potential customers will leave.
You want every person to feel welcome the moment they walk in and creating this experience starts with your associates.
Make sure your fellow shop keepers look busy, friendly and happy. Sales staff that look bored or unapproachable will quickly stop people from spending their money in your shop.
4. Invest in employee training
The quickest way to kill the growth of any business is bad customer service.
You don’t want to invest time and money in figuring out how to get foot traffic to your store and then losing the business because your staff have zero customer skills.
What’s even worse is if the disgruntled customer gets onto Yelp and starts writing negative reviews about their experience. Not only have you lost that customer, but you’re potentially losing countless more in process.
According to a study by American Express, 33% of Americans say that poor customer service will make them switch brands immediately.
To avoid this, business owners need to invest in their employees. If you don’t have the budget to bring in a professional customer service expert, you can start small.
Here are some things you can start doing right now:
- Ban cellphones on the shop floor
- Show appreciation by saying “Thank you for shopping with us”
- Always treat the customer with respect and politeness
- Don’t let your bad mood impact the service you’re providing
5. Build your online presence
Physical stores need an online presence more than ever. When someone types in “pet store near me”, you need to make sure that your business pops up in Google’s Places box.
It’s an easy way to increase foot traffic to your storefront and your website with zero marketing budget.
Don’t forget: your potential customers need to be able to actually find your physical business premises. A store locator embedded on your contact page is an effective way to make sure people can easily find you (and become a customer).
6. Give customers the option to click-and-collect
Are you already running an eCommerce store? Kick it up a notch by offering in-store collections of purchases.
It’s an excellent way to get people into your store, and hopefully, pick up a thing or two while grabbing their previous purchase.
In a survey conducted by UPS, 50% of respondents selected in-store pick-up, and of those consumers, 45% bought something else in store.
If you want to encourage your customers to select this option, you can entice them with zero shipping fees.
Who doesn’t love saving a few dollars?
7. Get listed online to increase foot traffic
In a world of Yelpers, Facebook Check-ins and “just Google it”, your business needs to be listed online if it wants to be successful.
If you’re relying on people to find you the ol’ fashioned way (the Yellow Pages, or people accidentally turning down the wrong road), you’re playing a game of dodge ball with your potential income.
If you do one thing today for your business, get your online listings up as soon as possible! Make sure you have all the important details (business hours, address, contact details) and add a few photos that sell your business.
Once that’s all up and running, get your staff to encourage people to start leaving reviews. In a month or two, your business will climb up those search engine rankings, and more people will find your store.
8. Explore social media opportunities
If you’ve got a marketing budget, it’s time to dip your toes into running social media ads.
One of the best platforms is Facebook. You can set up a campaign to boost your FB page, drive click-throughs to your website or incentivise store traffic with a Facebook Offer.
These offers can be a discount code or a freebie that people can claim in-store.
For businesses that don’t have extra money for ads, you should still keep your social media pages active. Regularly post about your latest specials, share photos your customers have taken of your products and engage with your online community.
9. Use email marketing
While a lot of businesses focuses on their follower counts and getting the elusive 10K on Instagram, smart business owners know that the real power lies in email marketing.
One day, we could all wake up to the news that Instagram is shutting down. When that happens, you’ll instantly lose access to that community you’ve spent hours building.
The best way to avoid such a catastrophe is to build your email list consistently. You’ll always have access to those people and if someone has signed up for your newsletter, you know they are a raving fan.
Plus, email marketing delivers a strong return on investment. For every dollar you spend, you can expect an average ROI of $32! (DMA,2018)
10. Make customer loyalty a bigger focus
Repeat business is how you boost sales with little effort. Once you’re on a customer’s radar, you want them to keep coming back – preferably with their friends and family in tow.
Just increasing your customer retention rates by 5% can lead to a 25% increase in profit! (Bain & Company)
Lush, a handmade cosmetics store, encourages repeat customers by giving away a free face mask. All people need to do is bring back five empty Lush containers.
Not only does the store increase sales with this tactic, but it rewards people for being loyal to the brand.
11. Offer in-store services
If you sell a product that requires maintenance, you can use that as a service to attract people to your store.
Here are some ideas to increase sales in retail stores:
- If you run a camera store, you can offer a free in-store sensor cleaning to customers. While they are waiting around for their device, the customer can browse around and see if there’s anything else they need.
- If you notice something wrong with the camera, you can offer to repair it.
Both scenarios show you how to increase foot traffic and boost your bottom line.
12. Employ experts to help your customers
Depending on the type of store you own, you can use experts to help educate your customers on your products.
Sephora and MAC are pros are using this tactic. Both shops sell make-up and offer customers free makeovers with professional make-up artists.
It’s a life-saver for anyone who is struggling to find their right shade of foundation or has no idea how to contour.
Not only do customers leave the store feeling beautiful, but the make-up artists have equipped them with knowledge and the best products for their skin type.
13. Host classes your customers will love
Don’t be afraid to use your store as a space to hold classes.
No matter what type of products your selling, there are tons of creative classes you can offer to get people off their couches and into your store.
Here are some ways on how to get customers in the door:
- A cosmetics shop can hold a make-up masterclass by a popular beauty influencer to increase store traffic.
- A health and fitness store can advertise a free pilates class where customers can try the latest resistance bands.
- A music store can hold a class teaching kids how to play the guitar.
14. Work with influencers and brand ambassadors
Influencer marketing is incredibly powerful when it’s done correctly. It gets your brand in front of your ideal customer, and you have someone the audience trusts promoting your products.
Not sure how to get customers in the door with influencers?
You can work with influencers by asking them to post an Instagram Story about your sale, or you can create an affiliate/referral program.
An affiliate/referral program is where the influencer will receive a small portion of every sale they bring in. It incentivises the influencer to promote your product even more because they have the opportunity to earn extra money.
15. Hold in-store events
Hold an event at your store and offer your customers a one-of-a-kind in-store experience!
Do you own a book store? Great! Invite your customers to attend a special reading by a famous author.
Or you can create a weekly book club event. It’s an easy way to encourage people to buy your products and a way to connect people who others that share the same hobby.
16. Use targeted promotions
Gone are the days where the “spray and pray” marketing tactic has any value. These days, if you want your promotions to have a positive effect on your bottom line, you need to create a targeted campaign.
The easiest way for business owners to do this is with a CRM system. A CRM lets you collect valuable data on your customers and use it to see who your most loyal customers are and what products they have bought in the past.
Once you have all this information at your fingertips, you can craft a targetted email marketing campaign to let your customers who have bought a scented candle in the last six months know that they’re on sale.
Or if you have a store that sells various brands, target customers that have bought a specific brand in the past. Send out an email with a coupon for that brand that customers can redeem in store.
17. Give back to the local community
Is a big part of your brand about giving back to the community? Use that to sell more products and create customer loyalty.
One brand that does altruism well is Typo, a stationery shop in Australia. The retailer often sells reusable shopping bags and donates the proceeds to a charity.
The bags usually feature designs from pop culture classics like Harry Potter. Not only does the customer feel good about the purchase, but there’s a high chance that their friends and family will ask about the bag.
As a result, word about Typo spreads on the street, the brand is associated with altruism, and more people will want to go into the store.
18. Hydrate your customers
Walking around the mall for a few hours is no joke. Help your customers take a load off by offering a hydration station.
It can be as simple as a water dispenser, or you can set up a cappuccino machine and offer people a free coffee.
Both will attract thirsty people to your store and keep them inside for longer, increasing your chances of them leaving with something off your shelves.
There are tons of innovative ideas to increase sales in retail stores. The key is understanding what your target market wants and using that as a way to make your brand stand out from the rest.