There’s so much focus nowadays on building an online presence and finding the best digital marketing strategies for your company. Even businesses without an online store or outlet are finding ways to promote themselves and communicate with their customers on social media. Many are also working with influencers to reach a new audience and build customer trust and loyalty. But, at the same time, it’s important to realise that the internet isn’t everything.
Sure, the internet is a big part of modern business. Many people start up solely online, without ever having a real-world store or office. The internet is giving many people a chance to work for themselves, without needing vast amounts of start-up capital, a huge team or a massive plan for the future. Even stores that have existed in the real world for a long time can utilize the internet to maximize sales and improve the customer experience that they offer. The internet is a valuable tool which shouldn’t be overlooked. But, it’s not the only tool available to you. Don’t make the mistake of neglecting your offline efforts for the good of a few extra social media followers.
A key part of growing and improving a real world, brick and mortar based business has and will always be attracting people off the street. These people that walk past your premises are local. They are the people that will keep coming back. The customers that will bring their friends and family and stick with you for life. They are the core audience of your business and the community that you are a growing part of. They are the people that you will build relationships with and get to know over time. They are a crucial element of the success of your business. But, only if you can get them through the doors. Here are some practical ways to increase the footfall of your brick and mortar store.
Get Your Signage Right
First impressions count. A good first impression can bring someone into your store, but also give them the right opinion of your store, and it’s goods, it’s personality and its target market. Someone could easily walk past, see the signage and know it’s somewhere they want to shop straight away. Or, they could walk past and either miss you completely or decide that you’re not what they are looking for.
You get literally seconds to make this first impression and no second chance. Even if someone walks past every day, once that first impression has been made, it’s hard to recover from. So, think about what you want from your frontage. Hire a signwriter to help you make an impression on the masses while thinking about what your target market wants to see. Do some market research, check out what your competitors are doing, or have done in the past, and spend some time tweaking your logo before putting it on the front of your shop.
Work on Your Window Displays
It takes someone a few seconds to walk past your shop front. That’s a few seconds for your window displays to do the talking. These displays need to show off who you are, what you sell, and everything else that you’ve got to offer your customers. But, at the same time, you don’t want to overcrowd them to the point that passers-by can’t focus on specifics.
Chose a few key products and give them plenty of attention. Again, look at what your competition is doing, as well as what has worked well for them in the past. You might also want to hire the help of a professional visual merchandiser who can help you to create window displays that highlight your products, get people talking, make people want to come into your store and keep people coming back.
Your frontage isn’t the only way to attract customers and grab their attention. You could paint the outside of your store, place advertising outside, or do something in your parking lot. Think about the space that you’ve got and make the most of it. This could be something small like posters and bright decorations, or something bigger like adding a pop-up café or handing out flyers.
Open Your Door
Opening your door is perhaps the easiest and most effective way to increase footfall to your store. Having your door open makes it clear that you are open, invites people in and gives your shop a more welcoming appearance. Customers shouldn’t have to work to find out if you are open or get inside, you should be making it easy and welcoming them in with open arms.
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Vinh Van Lam & Stuart Horrex