Start-Ups: How to Find Your First Customers

By Sam Iontton19/01/2023

Start-Ups: How to Find Your First Customers

Starting a business can take a lot of work; you’ve secured a retail space and created an in-store experience ready for your customers. But how do you get your first customers through the door to purchase? This is a worry for many new businesses.

At Displaysense, we know this can be a cause for concern, but we’re here to help you find your first customers and get on your way to becoming a successful and established business.

Keep reading to discover the strategies and tactics you can use to secure your first customer as a start-up business.

Spread the word on social media

Utilising social media to gain buzz and attraction for the opening of your business is a useful tactic. On platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, you can create a teaser post for your new business to create user excitement.

This also allows you to gain a following online, making promoting your new business easier and letting you show off your product offering or services to potential new customers.

You can use social media to target certain age ranges, locations and those with interests that are similar to your business. Ensuring that your targeting is accurate and in line with the customers that you want to reach is important; otherwise, you could be spending money online to share messaging that isn’t relevant.

Conduct some customer and competitor research before you do this so that you know exactly who to target.

Plan a launch event

Hosting an opening event can be a great way to attract customers and get local press coverage. Invite local businesses and the local community to attend your opening event. You can provide samples of your products or services and offer goody bags or a discount for those in attendance.

This can be a great way to get your first customer to purchase and create local contacts in your community. These contacts will be vital in your first year of business, so try and focus on how you can help them instead of how they can help you, and your contacts will be more receptive to your efforts.

Use your network

Don’t underestimate your existing network and its usefulness to you and your business. You may have some useful contacts amongst your friends and family that can help you in your first few months of business.

Whether they provide you with feedback about your services or products or become your actual customers, it will be valuable to get an honest opinion. Your friends and family are more likely to spread the word about your business through word of mouth, which could lead to a wide range of customers who want to purchase from you.

Use your network


Create an online presence

You may think this falls under the same category as spreading the word on social media. In some ways, it does, but creating an online presence is more than just social platforms and offers more opportunities to bring in customers. Here are some online tactics you can use to get customers through your door:

Blogging - If you have a website, creating a blog and answering queries about your chosen industry can be a great way to become a known voice to users who want to know more about your business. This will also help with SEO (search engine optimisation) and brand awareness, ensuring that when customers are ready to purchase, you’ll be at the forefront of their minds.


Email marketing - Capturing email marketing data can also be a valuable tool for start-ups. You can create engaging emails that showcase your products and services and remind potential customers that you exist and are ready to cater to their needs.


Launch a Google PPC campaign - You can target customers in a very specific way with a Google PPC campaign to drive sales and customers to your store. A PPC campaign allows you to bid on relevant keywords to your business and can drive customers to your website or store.


Set up a Google My Business page - A Google My Business account will allow you to set up key information about your business, such as an address, phone number and more. Users will be able to see this information when searching for your business and be equipped with the information to visit your store or call you for more information about what you can offer.



Create an online presence



Use influencers

Influencers can be a great tool for businesses that are starting out and want to spread the word about their products and services. Gifting your products and services to influencers can be useful to drive traffic to your website or even footfall into your retail store.


Be selective with your influencers

When choosing your influencers, you should consider the end goal of what you want to achieve. If you want to get people into your store, select an influencer with a large local presence and gift items. In return, ask them to tag you on social media and mention where their followers can find you.

Alternatively, if you want to create a following of people who are interested in your particular sector, source influencers who have a following who are interested in the types of products you sell. This will generate leads, interest and following for your business with people who have a genuine interest in what you have to offer.

You could provide influencers with a discount code that is unique to them; this will allow you to measure the success of your influencer marketing and if it is providing a positive impact.

Use influencers



Get valuable industry insights with Displaysense

Check out our sector hub if you want more industry insights and more information about improving your sales, footfall and retail-based knowledge. The hub provides useful advice and guidance on topics for those starting in businesses and are wanting to grow and improve their offering. You will also find retail display and merchandising equipment that will give your business the edge and provide practical items to deliver a smooth customer experience.