Thanks to the Internet, it’s getting harder and harder for retail stores to compete for that all-important foot traffic. Here are some ideas that could inspire more people to walk through your doors.
1. Make it easy for people to find you online, especially when they use their mobile devices. This involves sprucing up your Google+ Local presence. Make sure you have an optimized profile. You’ll also want to check out Google My Business, which “connects you directly with customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+.”
2. Hold special on-site events. A lighting store might hold a seminar on LED lighting, since that’s a hot topic in the industry. During the off-season, a garden shop might hold a winter farmer’s market. An acupuncturist might hold a clinic every quarter for couples dealing with infertility issues. You get the idea.
When you hold special events, you have something exciting to promote through your newsletter, social channels, and local paper. Plus, local businesses and organizations might be willing to help promote your event as well.
3. Sublet a portion of your space. For example, an indie bookstore might invite local artists to display their work. The shop would rotate the artist every month and promote each monthly opening to its database. The artist would also promote her exhibition to her database. This way, some of her fans will likely come through the door—people who might not have checked out the shop otherwise.
4. Entice people through videos. Create video content that shows how cool your store is. Highlight the benefits people will receive from visiting in person:
- They can touch and try out products.
- They will receive immediate help and answers from knowledgeable sales associates on the floor.
- They can get new items that haven’t made their way to the website yet.
- They can get “in-store-only” sales items.
- They can sample products. (Raise your hand if you know people who visit places like BJ’s and Trader Joe’s because of the regular food samples that are offered?)
- They can take pride in the fact that they’re keeping business local. Yes, you should play this angle, because it IS important.
5. Use your monthly newsletter to highlight a new product. Create a “hot right now” or “available only in stores” section of your newsletter where you highlight a product and encourage people to stop by and check it out.
6. Experiment with cost-effective advertising. Facebook allows you to choose your daily budget (as little as a dollar a day!), and you can indicate what device you want your ads to show up on. Opt for ads that will be delivered to mobile devices and advertise a Facebook-only incentive that needs to be redeemed in stores.
7. Celebrate anniversaries. Throw yourself a birthday party and celebrate the whole month. Promote the fact that there will be special in-store deals as a way to say thank you to customers for helping the company enjoy another year in business. Psst. You can hold this event every year.
8. Make it an incredible experience. The best way to get people to come back is to create such a fun, memorable experience that they have no choice but to visit again. Greet people warmly with smiles, but don’t hound them. Make it easy for them to pay (e.g. letting people pay with their smartphones). Create an impressive physical space. Need inspiration? Check out our article: Showroom Design Ideas to Wow Customers.
9. Give them a reason to come back. Kohl’s does a great job of this with its Kohl’s Cash. As people check out during their current visit, they earn a certain number of dollars—Kohl’s cash—that they can use on their next in-store visit, provided they come back before the cash expires. Since people were just in the store, they might have seen something else they liked that they didn’t get due to their budget, but now, with the Kohl’s cash, they might be able to get it during their next visit.
There’s no reason why you can’t create a similar program or, at the very least, stuff the bag with an enticing coupon that might get people back sooner rather than later.
What do you think? Do you have other tried-and-true ways of increasing retail foot traffic?
Share your ideas in the comments.