Foot traffic may sound like sidewalk rush hour, but the term is used to describe the number of pedestrians (or cars) that pass by your business and how many enter. In a way, it is a measure of how attractive your business and its products are to the casual passerby. Foot traffic is important to the success of your business because the more people who are entering your store, the more opportunities you have to make sales and boost revenue. Thus, it is crucial to know how to attract the consumers that are driving or walking past your business.
There are many ways to achieve this goal, and some of them are very low effort. Here are seven tips to make your business more enticing to attract a greater number of guests inside your store.
#1: Create Eye-Catching Displays
The first thing anyone notices about your business is its outward appearance. This includes any signage your business may have in the windows or on the building and any window displays showcasing your products.
It starts with the sign at the top of your building and your attached logo. Chances are, you already have designed a logo, and there’s already a sign tacked to your building, but it isn’t too late to consider a facelift, especially if your business is struggling to attract guests. Think creatively about how you can make your sign pop and be noticed by everyone passing by.
If a new sign isn’t in the budget or isn’t possible because of your location, window displays can be just as eye-catching. While your immediate thought is to try and showcase your premier products and services, this might not resonate with what your customers are looking for. Instead, you should focus on making your displays engaging. The best window displays have a side of storytelling and mystery to them, which piques the curiosity of passersby and draws them into the store.
#2: Speed Up Checkout Times and Increase Visibility with a Mobile POS System
One subtle way to draw customers into your store is the promise of a fast and painless shopping experience. After all, who likes to wait? Customers are spending a decreasing amount of time in stores but buying more. This is caused by two factors. The first is that mobile smartphones allow customers to perform research in-store, which greatly aids their ability to make a quick decision. The second is a rise in mobile POS systems. Not only are these devices easier to use than traditional POS machines, but they also allow, well, mobility. Instead of queueing customers up into a line at the cash register, mobile POS allows a store to use a tablet and assist customers anywhere in the store.
In addition, many mobile POS systems allow for a variety of different payment options to be used. Some of these choices, like letting a customer pay through their smartphone via Apple Pay or Google Wallet, are much faster than using a credit card to make the payment. So, not only are you being flexible with your payment options, but you are also creating the opportunity for the customers to get in and out faster.
The other benefit to a mobile retail POS system is that it makes your business look sleek and modern. While a traditional cash register and POS computer are immense and bulky, a mobile POS system typically uses a tablet computer. Thus, your cashier is never forced to hide behind a big machine. They can make more direct contact with customers by assisting them with any questions or concerns they may have. This establishes a stronger brand-customer relationship and enhances the experience of the client inside your store. They’ll be more likely to return and recommend your business to others because of this immensely positive experience.
#3: Create a Loyalty Program
Customer retention is a big challenge for a lot of businesses. A one-time customer is good, but a long-term, loyal shopper is much, much better. The best way to stimulate customer retention is by offering a loyalty program. In the past, businesses, especially smaller ones, were limited by what they could do to reward loyal customers. Most businesses were only able to offer the punch/stamp card program, where customers received a stamp or punch each time they returned until eventually completing the card and receiving a reward.
Today, any business can deliver an excellent loyalty program thanks to apps and mobile marketing tools like Marketing Box and others. These services make it possible for even the smallest store to offer a unique and creative rewards program. It can be point-based, like the big box stores, or something entirely different that customers haven’t seen before and are thereby more drawn to because of their natural curiosity.
Another effective and time-tested strategy is to incentivize referrals. This tactic is similar to a loyalty program because they both help improve client retention. When you incentivize referrals, you not only get the word out to non-customers about your brand, but the referring individual is likely to return because they want to use the discount or gift card that they received as the incentive. These referrals are very impactful because non-customers are more apt to buy into a brand when said brand is recommended by a friend or family member. We trust our friends and family more than we do any clever marketing campaigns.
#4: Get the Word Out Through Social Media Channels
By leveraging social media channels, you can create an online buzz about your real-life store. The most obvious way to achieve this is to encourage your existing “friends” or followers of your social media accounts to get the word out to their friends by sharing your posts and updates. Unfortunately, most customers will be reluctant to do this, unless they are hyper-active and brand loyal.
With a little spending, you can get the word out yourself. Facebook, has a Local Awareness Ad tool. This service allows a brand page to post Facebook-based ads that only land on the news feeds of users that are located near their business. You can even include a call-to-action button or link potential customers to your website and directions to the store’s location. According to Facebook, some companies have had their local ads reach 10,000 potential customers in the area.
#5: Build Email List to Send Incentives and Promotions
Email is often more effective because it has such high open rates, which significantly improves the odds that potential customers see your marketing efforts. Additionally, an emailed coupon or incentive is easier for the client to refer back to once they are in the store, whereas a social media post is difficult to find again and may take some scrolling.
Businesses can further enhance their email marketing campaigns by investing in email automation software. This type of tool makes it possible for a business to target specific emails after certain actions have taken place or an amount of time has passed. For example, if a customer subscribes to your email list, they may instantly receive a “welcome” message. A week later, that same customer might get a special email-based offer or promotional message. If they don’t utilize that incentive, they receive a reminder a week later. Email automation is powerful because it cuts down on irrelevant messages being sent and allows each customer to receive tailor-made messages unique to their relationship with the company.
The most challenging aspect of sending incentives and promotions through email is building an email list. Some businesses even reward their followers just for subscribing to their email list, but that doesn’t prevent them from unsubscribing after. The best strategy to encourage participation in email campaigns is to make the content and offerings so good that customers can’t resist. Whether this is a newsletter full of valuable tips, exclusive deals or something else entirely.
#6: Host an Event or Workshop
Hosting an event at your business not only draws customers in, but it also helps you build a positive reputation in the community. This is an especially significant milestone if you are a brand new store.
A workshop is another very impactful event-type tactic that you can implement. A workshop is typically a class, discussion or seminar around a subject or topic that pertains to your business. If you owned a bookstore, you might have a writing workshop where people critique one another’s writing and offer feedback. If you sold candles, you might host a workshop about how candles are made. The big positive for a workshop is it draws in people that are interested in subjects related to your business.
For some businesses, the lessons and experience that guests get from attending the workshop encourages them to shop more. For example, a homebrewing supply store that holds workshops teaching how to homebrew is going to convert many of the attendees into long-term customers because they’ll continue coming back for more ingredients and other products.
#7: Train Your Employees
The success of any of these tactics and your business’ ability to take advantage of its foot traffic falls on the shoulders of your employees. They are going to be the ones responsible for delivering that quick, painless shopping experience, driving customers to participate in your email list or events and more. Thus, it is not just crucial that you hire the right individuals who are going to be a positive force when interacting with customers, but also that you give your employees the proper training.
It isn’t just about teaching employees the how, but also the why. In other words, they should be shown, for example, how to use your mobile POS system, but also be made to understand the benefits of this more free retail POS system (compared to the restrictive nature of traditional POS machines). By getting into this habit of explaining the how and also the why, your employees will gain an invested interest in your business’ current objectives and goals, which will help them better serve the customers.
Getting people through the door and into your store is imperative for any brick and mortar business. It turns consumer into customer and customers drive revenue and success. Following these tips will help increase foot traffic to your store. But, it is ultimately up to you (and your employees) to make the most out of that increased traffic.