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HOW TO DRIVE FOOT TRAFFIC TO YOUR BRICK-AND-MORTAR BUSINESS

foot traffic to a small business

One tried-and-true way to drive traffic to your store is to provide excellent customer service.’

Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker

Nowadays, more and more businesses go online. It is simpler and cheaper than having a physical store: no need to drive foot traffic, just increase your visibility on the Internet. However, at the same time, the online store is deprived of many pleasant and effective features that a brick-and-mortar has: smell, human communication, eye to eye contact, etc. Therefore, many people still remains faithful to offline shops, and increasing foot traffic is still a priority for owners of such businesses.

What are the effective methods to attract customers and increase foot traffic to your store or restaurant? Let’s look at some of them.

Tidy appearance

The first impression is the most important one. The client can either fall in love with your showcase or be disappointed seeing a dirty tablecloth or crumbs on the floor. And that feeling will be hard to change. Therefore, in order to drive foot traffic, it is necessary to include cleaning and decoration of the premises both inside and outside in the list of mandatory tasks.

It is necessary to draw up a schedule and appoint personnel who will perform certain actions. Cleaning, rubbing windows, brass-cleaning, and mopping should be done daily. It’s up to you, as a business owner, to decile either you will hire outside workers for this or distribute tasks between your own personnel.

It is also important to paint and replace decorative parts, bulbs, curtains and upholstery on time. And these works should also be included in the general schedule with names of the contractors and material suppliers.

To increase foot traffic to your store, it is very important to pay attention to the appearance of the staff. Is their uniform neat, do they have a bored, indifferent look, or do they greet every customer with a sincere smile? The business owner must take into account and control these aspects.

Competent staff

Speaking about employees, it should be kept in mind that a well ironed uniform and a white-toothed smile are important but not the only key factors which drive foot traffic.

At the last, the client does not come to the store or restaurant just to admire the employees, but to get the necessary service from them. And staff should clearly understand their responsibility in this task. After all, negative reviews will not help increase foot traffic in your business. Sometimes it can even damage the brand image so much that you have to wind down the business.

The staff must undergo mandatory training in order to learn the correct attitude to the client, ways of behavior in case of incidents, to know how to deal with an unhappy client.

The client may have a bad day, he may feel unwell, so he will be angry at the whole world, and the employees should not take it personally and enter into a dispute. The business owner needs to instruct employees, to instill in them a culture of communication and treating customers, so that they also work to increase foot traffic. Who will conduct such trainings? It can be either the business owner himself, if he is proficient not only in money, but also in human psychology. Or it can be a third-party organization able to communicate to the staff the importance of diplomatic and polite attitude toward clients in any situation.

Smart online presence

More and more people of all ages and social situations spend time on the Internet. They go there for information, for entertainment, as well as for shopping. And even in the case when they plan to make the purchase in a physical store, many prefer to first familiarize themselves with the product online. This is very convenient, because you can review the product with no hurry, read its characteristics, weigh your decision to purchase, and only then go to the brick-and-mortar store.

But do not think that this will limit purchasing power. On the contrary, every second customer will definitely buy something else in your store. Therefore, to increase foot traffic, it is important to ensure the presence of your business on the Internet.

Even if the customer pays for the purchase through the website, almost 50% of the customers choose the in-store pickup option, so that all our recommendations on how to drive foot traffic remain valid in this case too.

Given all of the above, the owner of an offline store, restaurant or salon needs to make up his website correctly, and provide customers with complete information about products or services. The client needs to be given the opportunity not only to read and watch, but also to make purchases via the website (including click-and-collect option), and to leave feedback. This will not only bring you additional profit, but also increase brand loyalty and foot traffic in your business.

Another cornerstone of the strategy helping to increase foot traffic is listing your business in online directories such as Yelp. It will be much easier and faster for customers to find your business, its location and opening hours. Google Local Inventory Ads will also help.

Today, advertising on social media has become incredibly effective in attracting customer attention to the brand. Facebook and Instagram are tools to instantly alert your target audience about any event in your business. Stories, new products, promotions, presentations, master classes and other events – all this is useful content that works to your advantage and increases foot traffic.

Effective marketing

The right marketing strategy will undoubtedly drive foot traffic to your real store, cafe or salon.

We all instinctively react to various kinds of price reductions, promotions and special offers. But in view of the fact that we everywhere see the words ‘discount’ and ‘sale’, our attention ceases to focus on them. Therefore, the best way to inform your customers about upcoming discounts is to use a CRM system. In it, you can make targeted emailing to your customers, inviting them to visit your brick-and-mortar store. If your proposal is attractive enough, they will certainly spread this news by word of mouth and drive foot traffic to your business.

Another good marketing solution to increase foot traffic is to offer a useful service. For example, a jewelry store may offer to clean jewelry for free. And while the customer is waiting, he walks around the store, thereby increasing the possibility of making a purchase. Thus, the free service increases the general profit of the store and drives foot traffic.

For marketing purposes, it is useful to attract specialists helping customers to take decision on a purchase. For example, a stylist who works with customers in the store and professionally helps them to choose decorative cosmetics or clothes will become a great competitive advantage of the brand.

And if the customer is satisfied with the purchased product (and he will be satisfied with it), he will undoubtedly return for repeat purchases. This is a great way to increase foot traffic.

Collaboration with influencers or other brands that will be able to recommend your business is a good idea too.

Holding various master classes in a physical store or restaurant is another one of the very effective ways to drive foot traffic and increase recognition and loyalty to your brand. For example, if you sell kitchen utensils, you can do a Sunday culinary master class using these utensils, thereby showing them in action.

Working with loyal customers

According to the Pareto principle, 20% of loyal customers bring 80% of the profits. Believe it or not – everyone decides for himself, but the value of a loyal customer for any business is undeniable.

Therefore, increasing foot traffic should not be a goal in itself. The important thing is not how many pairs of legs will enter the doors of your premises, but how many of them will return, bringing additional pairs of legs with them.

Therefore, the service in an offline store or restaurant should be such that your client would desire to return to it.