How to Increase Foot Traffic in a Retail Store

Written by Austin Chegini

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Despite the growing market share of e-commerce, shopping in-person is still preferred by many consumers. Customers often choose to shop in-store when they want products on the same day, need to try clothes on, or want some professional advice. 

That being said, you cannot rely on these factors to generate foot traffic. Instead, you must take proactive steps to entice shoppers and make them want to visit your brick-and-mortar store, even when shopping online may be easier. 

Keep reading to see how to increase foot traffic in a retail store.

8 tips to bring more customers to your store

1. Use attractive displays

How often has a plain storefront with no signage caught your eye? For most people, not that often at all. We simply walk right by without paying any attention to the business.

Your store’s exterior is the first thing consumers see. You should make use of this space to catch shoppers’ eyes and ultimately draw them in. 

This starts with setting up the right retail displays that inform customers of your inventory or current discounts. Depending on your store’s location, you can incorporate some of these display ideas:

  • Sidewalk signs: Write custom messages on folding signs to show off your deals and personality.
  • Window displays: Catch attention with large displays for discounts or events.
  • Outdoor merchandise tables: Show off your inventory and let customers see your products up close.

2. Create a welcoming environment

Picture this: You’re walking down a sidewalk when it starts to pour down rain. You see a coffee shop up ahead. You might not have planned on going inside, but would you enter it now to escape the rain?

For many people, stepping into a coffee shop on a rainy day is extremely satisfying. You feel safe from the elements, can warm up with a hot drink, and listen to calming music. Even if you hadn’t planned on getting coffee, you hang around until the rain stops and might buy a snack or two. 

Well, do you think your retail customers feel the same way when entering your store? Even if the weather is perfect and life is good, shouldn’t people love to step inside your business? 

By creating a welcoming environment, you make people want to shop in person and experience the ambiance of your store. Some of the best ways to improve the in-store experience include:

  • Using soft lighting
  • Playing light music
  • Providing friendly service
  • Offering small treats

Read our guide on providing the perfect in-store experience to learn more.

3. Offer in-store only discounts

Many people shop online because it costs less than shopping in-store. Cater to this audience by providing unique offers they can only get by visiting. Not only will this build foot traffic, but customers who visit for these deals will often buy other products while they’re in your store. 

Some good in-store discounts include:

  • Clearance items: Many people love to browse clearance racks in search of treasure. By offering these discounts, you can liquidate your inventory and keep customers engaged. 
  • Loss leaders: Offering in-demand items below market price is an excellent way to build foot traffic. Customers will visit to take advantage of these deals but then buy other goods during their visit. 
  • New releases: Run promotions on hot, new items that beat online deals. For example, offering a discount for new electronics or shoes can help you sell inventory in a similar way to the loss leader model. 

4. Refine your Google My Business page

For shoppers to enter your store, they have to find it first. With over 124 million users across the continent, Google Maps is the dominant GPS app in the United States. If you want to help customers find your store, you need to be on Google Maps. 

When you create a Googe My Business listing, you will automatically be added to Maps. However, simply adding your address is not enough. Google My Business allows you to do much more to educate and connect with shoppers. 

Be sure to add the following when filling out your listing:

  • Company description: State your business’s purpose and the type of items you sell.
  • Hours of operation: Make sure your hours are correct. You can lose potential customers if they drive to your store only to see it is closed.
  • Contact information: Include a phone number and email address to get support. 
  • Photos: Show off your decor, inventory, parking, and more to help customers envision shopping with you.
  • Special features: Google lets you list attributes to help customers know what you provide. The list ranges from dog-friendly and wheelchair accessible to in-store pickup and what languages you speak.
  • FAQs: Answer customer questions to help them learn about your store.

With a complete Google My Business page, shoppers will feel more comfortable visiting your store.

5. Create “Gram Worthy” backdrops

People love posting photos on social media apps like Instagram, so much so that they will travel to unique places specifically to take photos. Consider the “What Lifts You” more in Nashville. People will wait in long lines just to take a photo in front of the backdrop. Certainly, nearby shops and restaurants benefit from this increased activity in the area. 

Given this fact, creating unique backdrops in or outside your store can be in your best interest. As more people step inside to take a photo, you can build hype for your business and drive sales. And when people see the photos online, they will see your business tagged in the image, generating more foot traffic for your store.

Before you paint angel wings on your wall, keep in mind that any backdrops you create match your business. For example, an outdoor store could have a mural of mountains, lakes, or even a type of photo booth with outdoor equipment.

6. Offer seasonal items

Some stores are timeless and never change. Whether you visit today or two years from now, you will see the exact same items in the exact same spot. While some predictability helps prevent customer confusion, keeping things identical for too can cause shoppers to lose interest. 

If you have available space, consider creating a seasonal items section. Each time a holiday or new season approaches, you can outfit this section with relevant products. For example, you can have Valentine’s Day gifts, summer outfits, or even simple winter items like gloves and hats. 

7. Host events

Introduce your store to new audiences by inviting experts to share their passions. As people come to learn from these figures, they will find themselves looking through your shelves. By the end of the event, they might leave with a few items they didn’t expect to buy. 

One of the most classic retail events is the author book signing. A bookstore will host an author, and shoppers will come to hear them speak and buy a signed copy of the book. 

Before you plan any store events, think about what audiences frequent your business. You want to provide relevant experiences that will add value to their lives and encourage them to buy your products. 

For example, if you have a hardware store, you can host an event on building birdhouses. Parents or couples can come, buy the products, and learn how to build their birdhouses while following along with the expert.

8. Make shopping easy and enjoyable

At the end of the day, nothing is more important than providing a convenient shopping experience. Customers want to find their items, pay, and leave without delay. As you build a reputation of providing phenomenal customer service, shoppers will tell others and foot traffic will grow. 

And when it comes to providing this service, your store needs a reliable point of sale system. 

Your POS system is the main device in charge of managing inventory, processing transactions, and managing records. Without a modern POS, the checkout process can be slow and your staff may struggle to know if an item is in stock or not. 

Epos Now is a worldwide point of sale supplier, offering systems that run on Windows, Mac, and Android devices. Our POS software also integrates with dozens of apps, helping you manage everything from marketing to accounting. With an Epos Now POS system, you can spend less time behind the computer and more time helping guests. 

Contact us today to see a demo of our products!

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