With increasing competition from online stores, it’s become more important than ever for retail outlets to stop people in their tracks and entice them inside. And to really stand out on a larger scale, you need to make the in-store experience awesome enough that it’s well worth the trip – and worth leaving a positive review about!
Dark and dingy-looking shop windows aren’t just a turn-off, people simply won’t notice them in the first place. When it comes to foot traffic, you’ve got a few seconds to catch a potential visitor’s attention. In those few moments, you have to convey:
Exactly what you do
Why they need to come inside right now, and
What makes you different
Digital signs are particularly useful for this, because they’re so easy to update with new info – such as a special limited time offer, your hottest new arrivals, or something that shows you’re with the times and trends, such as a message of support for a national sports team about to play a big match.
Offer a freebie
Who doesn’t like free stuff?! If you’re in the food biz, offer some free samples of your latest creation. If you want people to stick around for a bit, try offering free coffee or Wi-Fi. Just offering a comfy place to sit (think husbands and boyfriends being dragged against their will!) or a safe spot to park the kids (provide some toys) or the dog (provide a water bowl) while you browse can be a big draw.
Partner with a good cause
Most people want to do their bit to make the world a better place, and providing an easy way for them to do so isn’t just good for getting people in the door, it’s great for your brand image too. Set up a collection box for a local animal or homeless shelter, or allow people to drop off old clothes, e-waste, batteries and lightbulbs – anything we know we really shouldn’t be putting in the bin!
Ask visitors to let their friends know about your collection point, and post about it on local social media groups – you’ll be surprised how many people will take the time to hit that share button when it’s for a good cause. And because they now associate your brand with doing good, they’re a lot more likely to buy something when they come round.
Take advantage of hyperlocal advertising
First off, if you haven’t yet claimed and filled out your Google My Business listing – do it right now. There’s no better way to tell people in your area looking for the products you sell exactly where to find you, and it doesn’t cost a cent. Add some nice images, and make sure all the information is comprehensive and up to date.
When you have a good interaction with a customer, ask them if they’d be kind enough to leave a review on your profile. This kind of organic marketing comes across as highly authentic, and will encourage new visitors.
If you’ve got a little money in the budget for paid advertising, make sure you spend it on highly targeted, ‘hyperlocal’ ads. Most popular advertising platforms like AdWords and Facebook allow you to narrow down your target audience to within a few miles of your premises. Facebook ads, for example, allow you to decide whether your ad will be seen by people who are within 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, or 50 miles of your store.
Consider the perspective of road traffic and pedestrians
Remember those driving past your store are likely to fall into two categories – those who drive past every day on their way to work, and those who are just passing through. An enormous sign stating you’re having a massive 50% off sale may be helpful for the everyday variety, but might leave the passers-through thinking, 50% off what?
Give very careful thought to any large-scale signage – and make completely sure it’s easily legible from a distance and when traveling at speed, or you’ve likely wasted your money. It can also be helpful to indicate exactly where those in cars can find convenient parking.
Treat every walk-in customer like a VIP
The best way to grow your reputation among the local community and beyond is to go out of your way to be of service. So no matter what you’re selling, always offer your expertise and a warm welcome free of charge!