Whether your retail shop is housed in a competitive retail mall or is located in a tucked-away street, getting customers to step into your store can be tricky. While you may be making the best efforts to increase footfall in your retail store, when you’re up against a lot of competition, and fighting against longstanding shopping habits, these efforts aren’t always enough.
Bringing in customers in a saturated market is one of the biggest challenges that businesses of all sizes face. Following the closure of many stores and the unprecedented effects of Covid 19, it’s normal to feel deflated at the prospect of driving customers back into your shop.
Don’t worry. We’re on hand to provide tips on how to increase footfall in-store, that could even help revive your revenue.
How to improve footfall in retail
1. Make your shop front engaging
First things first, the most obvious driving force for customers is an eye-catching shop front. Make sure you assess yours before even thinking about taking the next steps. An inviting shop front is welcoming, uncluttered, attractive, and seasonal. Your doors should be wide open. You don’t want your customers wondering whether you’re closed - you need to seem approachable by encouraging customers to enter.
Make sure you change your display every couple of weeks, removing any signage or seasonal items out of your window poster holders that are no longer relevant. This is particularly important when it comes to offers or deals, there’s nothing more disappointing to a customer than entering a store for a displayed deal, to find it’s already finished.
2. Take to the street with demos and deals
You may feel like you’re limited to the four walls of your shop, but in many cases, there’s no reason not to head to the streets in search of customers. It’s a great opportunity to share your brand with the world. Talk to the public, get to know what they’re shopping for. Offer demonstrations, discount vouchers, and free samples, because let’s face it, who doesn’t like a freebie?
These freebies don’t have to take up a huge amount of your budget, depending what you’re selling, products like food, drink, hand cream, perfume, and other cosmetic products generally go down a storm. This gives potential customers a taste, smell or feel for your product, which can be a great way to entice them into buying. You could even offer voucher cards to retrieve the freebie in store.
A-boards and pavement signs are a popular and eye-catching choice when it comes to pavement promotion. They are great for attracting new customers, displaying offers and again, creating brand awareness. Weather and wind-resistant, they can be used all year round to entice customers into the store.
What about social distancing?
Before Covid 19, we would have encouraged applying products to customers' hands and exchanging vouchers and goods in close proximity. The restrictions put in place due to Covid 19 mean you need to rethink your approach. You could create a stand outside, or nearby your shop, with packaged up freebie parcels, or vouchers, that you encourage customers to pick up themselves. Ensure you’re wearing appropriate PPE equipment, and have appropriate social distancing protection in place. Adding a floor standing sneeze guard will also ensure staff and customers are protected against the risk of infection.
Remember, don’t be shy, you need to get out there. Raise your profile and boost your brand awareness.
3. Create relationships with loyalty schemes
Loyalty schemes are a great way of increasing footfall amongst existing customers, and work in a way to keep them on board and away from the pull of pesky competitors. Repeat, and loyal customers are the bread and butter of any successful business, so they deserve their recognition.
You can offer discounts, incentives, reward cards or other creative schemes. You could present an incentive on a customer’s fifth purchase, birthday vouchers, percentage points etc.
Whether you’re a hairdressing salon, coffee shop, clothing store or sector where there are many competitors in the area, a loyalty scheme will help differentiate your firm.
4. Get social
Both offline and online.
While the streets may be low on footfall, there’s plenty of potential online, get active on social media and boast about your store.
While some of your customers may prefer to purchase online, you can use an online presence to drive in-store traffic. Here are a few online tricks you can use to improve footfall in store:
● Advertise exclusive in-store discounts.
● Post pictures of engaging in-store displays on Instagram.
● Adopt an omnichannel social presence (be seen everywhere).
● Promote in-store promotions and products.
● Gather feedback from social customers.
● Encourage customers to post pictures of their buys.
● Showcase your unique selling points.
● Make it easy for customers to ‘check-in’ on social media to your store.
● Make your store Instagrammable.
● Encourage customers to take selfies by setting up great photo opportunities.
● Remind customers to leave a review online. Sites like Yelp, Google+, or Facebook are fab.
● Set an official hashtag for your business so used posts can be curated in one place.
● Respond to social media messages frequently, and post them to your own story.
● Use digital signage to display live social feeds of what customers are sharing in-store.
Here are the platforms you should be considering having a presence on:
● Facebook: One of the most varied, broad-based audiences. Great for creating pages and groups.
● Instagram: Best for sharing user-created images.
● Pinterest: Best for sharing brand-created images and creative ideas..
● Periscope: Users can live-stream their experience straight to social media.
● Twitter: Best for fast, real-time updates and replying to customer comments.
● Tumblr: Good for businesses that regularly create content on their blog.
● Snapchat: Popular platform for users under 25. Good for sharing stories.
● LinkedIn: Focuses primarily on professionals.
● Yelp: Platform to explore reviews.
● Foursquare: Local directory platform.
● Google+: Assists with local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and includes customer reviews.
5. Boost marketing
It’s essential that potential customers know who exactly what you are and what your brand stands for. This means you need to make sure your marketing efforts are comprehensive and targeted with goals and strategic plans.
You need to be aware of your target audience, and you must make sure each trick we’ve covered aligns with their needs. Think about where your target audience is hanging out online, what their posting, or what types of freebies they’d be most likely to be enticed by. You will also need to think about the types of displays that are going to stop them in their tracks.
Increasing awareness of your retail business is key to increasing footfall. Think about how you can take a competitive edge. How is your store different? Why should customers shop with you? What can you offer that other competitors don’t? Develop your marketing strategy from here.
You could even benefit from partnering up with other local retailers in the area. If there’s a related business build bridges, not walls. A hairdressing salon could create links with a nail bar to offer packages, or a coffee shop could make links with local food places. A cosmetic shop could even create seasonal partnerships with chocolatiers for the ultimate gift package. This type of customer-crossover can be beneficial for both parties and can help create brand awareness in your local community or area.
Customer relationship management (CRM) can assist you in creating positive customer relationships and can allow you to formulate strategies and change your approach. Gathering data on your customers will not only help you determine exactly who your customers are, but it will also help you spot where you’re not servicing them. Try encouraging customer surveys (online, by email, or in-person), as well as assessing social media comments and reviews regularly.
Are you ready to improve footfall in your store?
While increasing footfall is an absolute must, if you’re not offering products or services that match customers expectations, it doesn’t matter how many customers you get through the door, conversions won’t be made. You must be confident with what you have to offer in-store, and be sure that customers are going to leave completely happy with their experience.
Your store needs to be dynamic and capture the interest of your customers. Whether it’s how your products are displayed, or how your store tells your brand story, customers must feel inclined to visit again. If you’d like some Advice and Inspiration from industry-leading experts, be sure to check out our hub where you’ll find in-depth articles full of top tips to implement immediately.
Here at Displaysense, we stock a range of display and merchandising to help boost sales, from POS to merchandising display accessories. Our products are sure to offer an easy shopping experience for your customers. You’ll also find a range of literature and information which helps draw attention to promotions or certain displays, as well as social distancing and hygiene products to keep both your customers and staff safe.