Despite the rapid growth rate of ecommerce and online channels, in-store is still the primary revenue earner and point of sale for a large proportion of customers. This is good news for smaller retailers who struggle to compete with large organisations online.
The most important factor in increasing your shop’s footfall is knowing why your existing customers love you and keep coming back. Then you need to make sure that you communicate this to your target market. Is it the unique products you sell, your prices, your customer service, the experience they get when they come to your store, or something else?
Offline ways to increase footfall
Make the most of your shop window and outside space so that passers by notice you and have the curiosity to want to pop in and browse. Your store front needs to be tidy, clean, organised and welcoming, and as I said previously, remember why your loyal customers visit and communicate this. Try leaving your door open too – if it’s not too cold!
When potential customers do come in portray a positive environment. Maybe play some music, say hi and organise your products and displays in a way that makes the browsing experience an enjoyable one.
There’s nothing worse than seeing a shop assistant slumped over the till desk looking bored. Be sure to be always folding, tidying and looking helpful and on the ball. Taking pride in your store’s appearance shows customers your care and encourages them to ask for help if they need it.
It goes without saying that you need to know your onions. Ensure you and your staff know your products inside and out. Be prepared for the most random of buyer questions and always have a positive and helpful answer, and if you don’t – get one.
I always use the same car wash because if I buy 2 I get one free. My colleague regularly buys lunch from a local pie shop, why? He has a loyalty card and gets a free award winning pie every now and then.
By carefully monitoring market trends you can stock products that are in demand and drive footfall. Just be careful not to over stock. I’ve lost count how many stores I’ve seen trying to sell off loom bands for next to nothing now they’ve gone out of fashion.
Online ways to increase footfall
Like it or not, people are spending more time online. You can complain about how the Internet is driving people away from physical stores, or you can leverage digital tools and use the web to your advantage. Here’s a few of my favourite digital tools to help drive in-store traffic:
Google Local Inventory Ads (LIAs)
LIAs drive traffic to your physical store locations by showing available inventory to customers who search for your products on Google. They work just like Google Shopping but instead of driving online sales, it drives store visits.
Utilise weather ad technology to trigger ads and modify bids in realtime based on the weather. Currently available for AdWords, Facebook and Instagram this is a tool that allows users to respond quickly to fluctuations on demand based on weather changes. For example on a sunny day you can trigger ads to drive visits to your store to view your new summer clothing range or to your beach side restaurant for a spot of al fresco dining.
Click and collect
Enable shoppers to purchase items online and pick them up from your store. Often click and collect makes the shopping journey more convenient for consumers: making the purchase from the comfort of their own home, and collecting their item when is most convenient for them, instead of paying for postage and not being home to collect the item. This also creates the ideal opportunity to up-sell as customers come in-store, and to build brand loyalty with excellent customer service.
Appointment booking facility
Encourage people to come and see you by offering quick and easy appointment booking online. This works really well for the likes of restaurants, bridal shops and beauty clinics. It’s worth noting the younger demographic tend to prefer online booking, and there’s increasing acceptance that it’s more convenient than making a call.
By sending emails to loyal customers you can encourage repeat shop visits and brand loyalty with exclusive in-store offers and events, just don’t overdo them. Regular offers can devalue a brand as consumers come to expect them and wait for an offer before making a purchase. For those ‘innovators’ who like to be first to market a product, an exclusive pre launch party is an ideal way to get them in-store.
Facebook dynamic ads for retail
Similar to Google’s LIVs, Facebook dynamic ads drive footfall using local inventory. Alternatively, and more simply, businesses can promote an in-store only offer to drive footfall. Facebook ads can be highly targeted to the relevant location and demographic to generate some brilliant results for local businesses.