4 proven ways to drive foot traffic to your retail store

06 Jun 2019

Increasing footfall in your retail store should always be a top priority. More foot traffic leads to more opportunities to engage customers, which can result in higher sales and a healthier bottom line.

But how exactly can you drive more store visits?

In this post, we’ll explore the many ways to increase foot traffic in your retail business. Go through the tips and examples below and see if you can apply them to your marketing efforts.

1. Spruce up your storefront

Having an attention-grabbing storefront can compel people to walk into your shop. Strive to ensure that your window display and curbside area are as attractive as possible. You can do this by:

Staying on top of maintenance​ - It doesn’t matter how great your products are; if you have a dingy-looking store from the outside, you’ll be hard-pressed to attract new shoppers.

So, never overlook basic maintenance jobs such as shining your windows and sweeping the front area of your shop. Include these tasks in your daily to-do list when you open and/or close your store. Create a checklist for yourself and your employees to ensure that everything gets done properly.

Keeping your displays fresh​ - Make sure your window displays are updated frequently — aim for 2-4 times a month. You want passers-by to see something new when they walk by your store, so it’s important to freshen up your displays with new products whenever you can.

Keep up with the times by incorporating the latest trends or seasonal merchandise in your displays. Doing so keeps your storefront interesting and can drive traffic all year long.

Adding curbside “extras”​ - If it’s ok with your landlord, spruce up your curbside using extra elements. Many retailers, for example, are setting up sandwich boards outside their shops to advertise their latest promotions.

Feel to go beyond signage and incorporate elements that your customers can actually use. For instance, if you’re a bicycle retailer, you can have racks outside your store where customers can park their bikes. Or, if you’re a pet store, why not set up water dishes outside so your shoppers’ furry friends can have a drink?

Get creative. These small touches can do wonders for your foot traffic.

2. Market to existing customers

While attracting new customers is an exciting task, you shouldn’t neglect your existing shoppers. Repeat customers are more valuable and they’re easier to engage. They’ve already shopped from you before, so it takes less work to get to them to come back.

Try the following steps to drive foot traffic from existing customers:

Collect customer details​ - The first step to marketing to existing shoppers is knowing who they are. If you haven’t done so yet, create and maintain a customer database that houses all your customer details in one place.

Doing this is easy if you have a modern ​EPOS system​ that has CRM capabilities. Vend, for example, has customer management features that let you add new customers at the point of sale. It also lets you capture shopper details with the option to email them their receipt. Customer details are then stored under their profile where you can view their purchase history, loyalty points, and account balances.

Send relevant messages and offers​ - Already have your customer database in place? Great. The next step is to communicate with them on a regular basis. Make this tactic more effective by keeping your messages timely and relevant.

One thing you can do is send offers based on what shoppers previously bought. Let’s say you know that a customer likes purchasing from a particular brand. To engage them, you could start giving these shoppers a heads up whenever you have new arrivals from the brands they love.

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Another way to stay relevant is to send out messages on specific occasions or holidays. For example, you could send out Valentine’s Day specials in February or Mother’s Day offers in March.

3. Beef up your online listings

Most modern shoppers are now turning to search engines — particularly Google — when looking for local businesses. For this reason, you should ensure that your retail business shows up on relevant searches. Industry data shows that ​75% of local searches turn into in-store visits within 24 hours​, which means being at the top of search results will help your physical traffic.

How you can you boost your presence on Google? Start by optimising your business listing on the site. Use ​Google My Business​ to set up a profile and then beef it up by including detailed information about your store and adding lots of photos. You could also pre-populate your listing with FAQs to address common concerns from your customers.

Once you have your listing set up, encourage your customers to write about their experience in your store.

Drive traffic to your retail store through Google reviews  

The Edit​, a UK retailer who sells stylish easy-to-wear womenswear, does this really well. A quick look at their Google listing shows that they’ve done work to optimise it:

  • They’ve added all their company details (name, address, contact info, and business hours)
  • They’ve uploaded lots of photos to show off the location
  • They have several positive reviews and responses from the owner

Strive to do something similar to your online listing. Complete your profile and make sure it contains elements that position your shop in the best possible light.

4. Hold events

In-store events that bring together like-minded people are a creative way to get customers through your doors. And the good news is you have a lot of options when it comes to what types of events or attractions to create.

Consider the following:

Classes​ - Implement classes and educational initiatives in your store. The type of event to run can depend on your business. If you sell health and fitness products, then a yoga workshop or nutrition class would be a great option. Do you sell homeware or appliances? Consider running cooking or DIY classes.

The possibilities are endless. Talk to your customers to determine the classes that they would be most interested in.

Fun and games​ - Find opportunities to bring your customers together for a day or night of fun. If you’re a gaming store, for example, why not run “game nights” at your location? Or if you’re in the sports and outdoors industry, consider organising fun runs and other outdoor activities.

Meet-and-greet​ - Invite local experts or influencers to your location so they can interact with the community. If you’re a bookstore, for instance, consider getting local or touring authors to run book signing events at your location.

Similarly, if you collaborate with artists or designers, try having them over and exhibit in your store. ​We Built This City​, a London-based retailer that sells creations from local artists, does exactly that.

Drive traffic to your retail store by collaborating with local artists and designers. 

They bring in artists to do live works in their stores, and often give them the chance to showcase their art at the storefront for three months at a time.

"It’s an amazing live canvas for them to work on. It also gives them a huge promotional boost to their work and obviously, it’s seen by thousands of people who come to Carnaby every day. We’re really trying to be more than just a transaction in-store," shares Alice Mayor, founder of We Built This City.

“By creating these experiences where they can actually see artists at work, they get a really unique experience, which is great because it helps conversions.”

Driving foot traffic is completely doable with the right tools and with a bit of creativity. The key is to get to know your customers and create messages and experiences that would compel them to walk through your doors.

Good luck!

Drive traffic to your retail store

Vend ePOS software customer management and loyalty features allows you to seamlessly capture customer email addresses and purchase data to provide them with personalised marketing. Take care of your customer loyalty marketing and stock management with Vend.

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