The power of brick-and-mortar stores is emphasized by the new consumer via experiences. But what do experiences even mean in an era of multi-channel retail and the connected shopper who is influenced by mobile and digital influence at nearly every turn? What can the independent retail store do to improve foot traffic?
The curb appeal of your retail store might make or break your holiday season, which in turn is your bottom line. How to take your small business to the next level? We know foot traffic is key, and yet some studies show it is in decline.
According to Small Business Trends, retail traffic was down 5.5% in 2017 as compared with 2016. In spite of very optimistic projections by NRF, we have to consider that in the era of customer experiences, stores need all the help they can get. Since more than 90% of retail sales in places in North America occurs in store, attracting potential customers is still the all-important key.
UPGRADE YOUR VISUAL BLING OF YOUR STORE
Increasing how attractive your store is from the outside can help attract customers into your store. Vend call this “curb appeal”, and curbside extras (the blackboard approach) can be very useful for indie stores to stand out and funnel pedestrian traffic. The window display, the signage, and the design all count to attract your target audience to your store, the persona of your ideal customer who again and again turns out to be your highest value customers.
UPGRADE YOUR FOOT TRAFFIC COUNTER
In an era of offering upgraded customer experiences, knowing your baseline store traffic and analytics is key. We recommend a foot tracker like Dor. With an affordable subscription it really is the most helpful traffic counter and easy to install for all kinds of retailers. It turns out, knowing really is half the battle.
In the era of the connected consumer, guess what shoppers really need? They want and expect free wi-fi. It’s a little detail of a perk, but you’d be surprised how much it stands out and can keep window-shoppers and retain their time while in your store.
OPTIMIZE LOCATION BASED SEARCH AND REVIEWS
Optimizing your store and retail brand for local search with the best reviews across social channels is extremely important. From Instagram hashtags relating to your community to how shoppers perceive your brand via your social reviews, the power of persuasion for the potential customer is what they find out about your store in 3 seconds on mobile.
MAKE YOUR STORE FAMILY FRIENDLY
Independent stores pioneer how we connect with our community. Having kid and pet friendly aspects of your store demonstrates you value the humanity of your shopper. Sweat the details here, as these cues help your customer feel comfortable in your store. Having connected services, lounge areas, pet amenities, kid-friendly zones and other conveniences makes your retail space more customer-friendly and the kind of place where foot traffic can retain the attention of shoppers.
BUILD COMMUNITY NOT JUST MERCHANDISE OUTLETS
To create community, independent retailers are pioneers at creating community through events, educational opportunities and helping their shoppers connect to niche cultural influences, shared interests and joint altruism. Whatever your kind of store, building community means syncing with the values of your customers. A store isn’t just a place to buy things but a social outlet in your community.
RETARGET CUSTOMERS IN NEW WAYS
Independent retailers know the importance of rewarding repeat customers. Creating loyalty programs that can be customized to your shoppers and create addicting mobile experiences is key. For this we recommend Thirdshelf. Their flexible pay as you go pricing is ideal for independent retail stores who want to see the ROI of their loyalty marketing efforts directly on their shopper preferences. The retail data acquired here is also quite valuable and seamless.
FAST TRACK CHECKOUT WITH MOBILE PAYMENTS
Making it easier for customers to pay can be a real booster as this increases the chances of customers in the store actually converting on a sale. Choice and speed of payment can also impact return shoppers to visit again. Increasingly consumers are more open to various kinds of mobile payments.
HAVE RETAIL ASSOCIATES THAT LOOK BUSY
Independent retailers might experiences fluctuations of traffic in on and off peak seasons. Yet, the first impression your staff makes on new shoppers is incredibly important. From the sophistication of your product displays to how helpful your associates are, nobody wants to see bored-looking staff that looks lost or worse yet, ignored. It’s a bit of reverse psychology here, but the busy looking happy associate is a subtle cue that’s telling the shopper, we are here for us and working hard to offer you the best products.
CREATE MEMORABLE DISPLAYS
There’s no substitution for amazing and original product displays. Eye-catching design and unique and memorable displays can make the difference between a full store, and a neglected store. So don’t neglect your use of creativity in how you display your products. Having displays of brand ambassadors in the store can also attract potential customers to the store. The outward appearance of your product displays creates a powerful mesmerizing impact on shoppers looking for eloquent visual style. As an independent retailer, it’s your responsibility not to disappoint. From decorations to signs in the parking lot or digital signage, everything counts to the eyes.
MAKING A LASTING IMPRESSION
With Star Printers, you can now create location marketing opportunities on the physical receipt as well. These messages on the receipt create post-purchase messages that can endear you to your customers.
Increasingly retail stores need to become foot-traffic natives to appeal to the experiences shoppers desire since in 2018 it is not about selling stuff anymore but marketing a brand experience that just ‘feels right’ to the consumer.