If you own a brick-and-mortar store, you know that the more foot traffic you have, the better your chances for customer engagement and higher revenues.  If you’re struggling to increase store visits, read on for proven methods that will draw customers to your retail location.

Make Your Storefront Attractive & Inviting

According to retaildoc.com, one of the most successful restaurants in California spends almost nothing on ads while shelling out loads of money on the landscaping around their restaurants. Plants bloom throughout much of the year in nearly every spare patch of ground. If you’re wondering why, consider the value of curb appeal. The restaurant knows that the profusion of flowers gracing their establishment will attract the eyes of customers and perpetually advertise their location in town.

Of course, if the curb appeal ends promptly at the sidewalk, due to dusty windows and peeling paint, you’ve still got some maintenance to do. Not sure where to start? Look at your store from the outside and evaluate the physical condition of the windows, doors, walls, etc. to identify areas that need to be spruced up. And don’t skimp on interior maintenance either. If you want to make a good impression on visitors and potential customers, it’s important to keep your store clean and tidy, offering attractive displays and a welcoming environment.

If your store is pretty well maintained inside and out, consider adding some extras curbside. For example, a bike shop might set up some of their bike racks outside their store so customers can park their bikes while they shop. A coffee shop might put out a sign asking passers-by how their day was going and inviting them in for a free warm beverage. Or a surf shop might park a colorful car outside their shop featuring one of their own surfboard car racks. Additionally, they can load the car rack with a popular board they sell in the shop, along with a sign advertising a promotional sale on that board.

When you’re trying to get more foot traffic in the door of your retail establishment by improving your curb appeal, the goal is to essentially dangle a carrot in front of potential customers and give them a compelling reason to visit your store.

Host A Special Event

Holding an event at your store will help you engage consumers in a fun atmosphere and build lasting relationships with potential and existing customers.

Partnering with other brands, industry experts, and like-minded organizations will also help you draw more traffic by offering something unique, whether it’s a demonstration by a local artist or a workshop taught by an industry expert. Meanwhile, you’ll have opportunities to cultivate a new fan-base from your audience and network with individuals and businesses in your community.

You can increase interest in your event by including incentives in your promotional materials with coupons and special offers. Additionally, you can build your email list by holding a raffle or giveaway for attendees who provide their email address as their official contest entry.

Hosting events gets people into your store by offering educational or entertaining community experiences that consumers can’t find anywhere else online or at other shops.

Drive Physical Traffic With Digital Tools

If properly used, digital tools can be your best friend when it comes to driving offline traffic.

You can keep your customers updated on special promotions and store events through email, as well as offering customer loyalty perks and exclusive offers that are redeemable only at your retail store.

Leveraging the power of social media will help you connect and communicate with consumers on a personal level, providing more opportunities for building relationships, increasing sales, and harvesting customer feedback.

Additionally, your business website will help you maintain a professional company image, improving your online visibility so customers can find the information they need about your brand. Your website should not only include essential information to help consumers locate your retail store, but it should also contain up to date content and inventory that will help them find the products they want before they visit your store in person.

It’s also a good idea to make sure your website is optimized for mobile because, according to Advertising Age, large retailers like Target discovered that 3/4 of their visitors originally started their shopping venture on mobile. With consumers using mobile for all aspects of their shopping experiences, whether they’re looking for a retail store location or searching for products that are in stock, optimizing for mobile is like creating another “front door to the store”.

Digital technology can be a challenge, but embracing the tools it has to offer can increase foot traffic to your store and help you get an edge on your competition.

Existing Customers Can Help You Acquire New Customers

When you’re focused on trying to attract new customers to your retail store, it’s easy to overlook the potential of acquiring new customers through your existing customers. But if you’re keeping your customers happy with superior service and exceptional shopping experiences, they can be invaluable when it comes to spreading the word about your products or services to other consumers. And with consumers engaging like-minded folks on social media, that word can travel fast.

To leverage the power of loyal customers, reward them with special offers and incentives when they refer others to your company, products, or services. Shower them with sincere appreciation for their continued business, and they’ll return the favor.

And remember…while acquiring new customers is important, it’s a lot easier to get current customers to buy from you again than it is to attract new customers to your brand and convince them to buy from you.

Maintaining strong customer relationships will not only ensure that current patrons stay loyal, but it will increase opportunities to draw new foot traffic to your retail store through word-of-mouth testimonials from your circle of happy customers.

Conclusion

Here’s the thing…while getting foot traffic through your door is essential for increasing customer engagement and sales, it’s only the first step. Providing superior service and exceptional shopping experiences is what will keep people coming back.

Evaluate your retail store to identify areas that need improvement, then invest in things that will make shopping a convenient and enjoyable experience, whether it’s a new POS system, an in-store coffee station, product demo area, or a new paint job.

Obviously there are more ways to drive foot traffic to your retail store than we have time and room to cover here, but if you start with the things discussed above, you’ll be well on your way to creating customer experiences that wow, while driving long term foot traffic to your retail store.

About Author

Sherene Funk

Sherene Funk is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime (but that doesn't stop her from collecting more). A graduate of Brigham Young University, she has published several humorous non-fiction articles and worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current position as a writer on modern retailing at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with other small business owners through informative articles that address their unique needs.

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