Although many retailers are focusing their attentions on their online sales and their website presence, for many of us it is still crucial to be investing time and energy on the survival and success of our bricks and mortar stores. Whilst online retail is all about getting traffic to the site, physical retail outlets are all about increasing foot traffic into the store.
With the continual rise of online shopping it has never been more important to be looking at unique and creative ways to keep our retail stores thriving. So today we are sharing our top tips on how retailers can boost foot traffic and in turn sales, by using different approaches to garner attention in-store. Of course depending on the nature of your store some ideas will be more suitable than others. But we wanted to share our tried and tested techniques that retailers have used to differentiate themselves from other stores in their area and have reaped the reward from innovate, creative and strategic thinking.
This is a bit of a new development when it comes to the sorts of things that shoppers are looking for. Providing USB outlets within your store is a great new way to keep people in your store for longer than they would usually stay. Have you noticed people gathering around USB portals in train stations and airports? We have such a dependence on our mobiles now that keeping them charged has become really important.
So whilst it might seem like an unnecessary detail just think about all that extra time shoppers will be spending browsing as they wait for their phones to charge. It is a super simple strategy to creating a solution to the age old problem of how to keep shoppers in your store for longer periods of time.
This again is tapping into our love of mobile phones. With many mobile phone providers no longer offering unlimited data, people are now turning to more and more places and areas that offer free wi-fi. Advertising in your store window that you offer free wi-fi can seriously boost the foot traffic to your store. A recent study revealed that over 60% of shoppers spend more time in-store after they have tapped in wi-fi details. So again this is a simple trick to getting more people inside your store and keeping them there for longer periods of time.
Create a Chill-Zone
We all know that shopping can be an arduous and tiring task, so offering shoppers somewhere to rest and take the weight off, can go a long way when trying to get more people to spend time in your store. Encouraging people to come inside and relax in your shop not only makes your store welcoming and warm, but it also will invite people in that perhaps wouldn’t have been drawn in otherwise.
You can also take the opportunity to make a little extra cash by offering refreshments and snacks. If you do this however, don’t try and compete with the prices and range of well established cafes in your area. If customers want an all out lunch they will go to a cafe or restaurant. So keep it really simple and low-key so customers don’t feel overwhelmed or like they are being ripped off. The main benefit of creating a lounge area is not to sell snacks it is to get customers spending more time in your shop, browsing your products and then buying.
Whilst it is better to keep it simple that doesn’t mean that you can’t offer one simple thing that is not being offered in your area. Perhaps you can offer fresh juice smoothies that people will come in for specially. Or perhaps you or someone you know makes the most exceptional cakes which you can pay them to create so that you have a fresh batch every day. Focusing on just being able to offer one or two simple things will mean that you won’t distract yourself from the bread and butter of your store. But if you do that one simple thing well, it will get tongues wagging and therefore can get new customers stepping in to sample it for themselves.
Making yourself relevant to the changing seasons is a great way to keep you front of mind for customers who are looking for specific items depending on the time of year. Not only should you be looking at the stock that you offer and be constantly tweaking and adapting it depending on what people are looking for at that time of the year, but you should also be thinking about how to decorate your store to show people that you provide seasonal offerings.
Think about the holiday period, for example, and think about how you can make your store look super charming and attractive for people looking to buy their holiday gifts. Putting up christmas lights is one of the best ways to catch people’s attention at that time of the year, so contact a local lighting company who will be able to take care of the logistics for you. You can also focus on the presentation of the inside of your store to get people recommending your store to friend and family looking for the perfect gift or that ideal seasonal purchase.
Be Animal Friendly
People love their pets and they love shops that are kind and thoughtful to their pets. Therefore think about the ways that you can be a super pet friendly store. Of course with some stores it is just not practical to have dogs inside however that doesn’t mean that you can’t be positioning yourself as a big dog lover. Even something as simple as a ‘park your dog’ area outside your store, with a full water bowl, a twee dog sign and even a couple of dog biscuits can go a long way in winning the hearts of dog lovers.
This also, of course, makes it super easy for dog owners to tie up their dogs and step inside for a browse. So many retailers miss a trick by not catering for dogs as dog owners can struggle to find somewhere to tie up the dog and will then have no other choose but to move on elsewhere. So make sure you are setting up a cute little ‘dog parking station’ outside your store with a welcoming water bowl, a sweet little sign, and a clasp that the dog lead can be safely tied to.
If you think that your target market is one that usually has a couple of young children in tow, then it is important to cater for that. Screaming and grumpy children will cut short any store visit so make sure you have a little area with a few games, colouring books or even a little TV that kids can use to distract themselves with so that the parents can browse in a relaxed and calm way.
All store owners should be looking at ways to promote their company and ways to peak interest in the local community. In-store events and clubs, depending on the type of products you sell, are one of the best ways to do that. Look at your store as a way to being a key member of your community, a company that pulls people together and a company that thrives to connect the local people through the products that you stock.
Organising events and clubs will make people think of your store as fresh, active and a fun place to be. Customers will associate your store with the area of business that you are being active in therefore raising your profile in the local community. In addition to that events and clubs will draw more people into your store when they don’t even really need to be shopping, but will probably be tempted to do so when inside your store.
You can also think about sponsoring and co-hosting local events, again to raise your profile and to have a bigger and more well respected presence in your local community.
Finding clever ways to educate your customers about what you do is not always easy. However knitting shops offering ‘how to knit your first jumper’ workshops find a way not only to educate their customers, but will also enjoy a boost to sales. Cycling shops organising boot camps and cycling tours will not only position themselves as an authority in the market but will also inevitably have their members looking to them to get them properly kitted out. Fashion shops offering workshops in dress design or jewellery making will not only cause a stir in the local community for offering such an interesting workshop but it will also get their core demographic walking into their store at least once a week.
So, as you can see, it only takes a few simple details and a bit of strategic thinking to get more foot traffic to your store and to increase the profile of your store in your local area. So get thinking about the different ways you can ensure the continued success and future growth of your retail business.