If you’re in retail, we’re willing to bet that getting more visitors to your location is pretty high up on your wish list for 2020 (or any other time, for that matter).
More traffic leads to more sales and revenue opportunities, which could translate to a higher bottom line and a healthier retail business. That’s why it’s important to continuously cook up campaigns designed to drive traffic to your store.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the things you can do to attract more customers.
Check them out!
1. Get clear on your audience
The first step to crafting an effective traffic-generation campaign is identifying who you’re doing it for.
That new and hip store down the street with the bold windows and loud music might be attracting lots of young visitors, but if those shoppers aren’t your target audience, the same approach won’t work for you.
Before coming up with campaign ideas, get to know your customers at every level. Who are they? What trends are they into? What messaging would resonate with them? Use the answers to these questions to guide your programs.
It may also help to look at things from a generational perspective. Campaigns should be age-appropriate and feature elements that your target audience can identify with.
If you’re trying to reach Baby Boomers, use materials that feature those who are 55+ and their interests. Targeting Gen Z? Feature teenagers in your campaigns.
Just be sure to avoid stereotypes. Most Boomers, for instance, do not want to be portrayed as frail or needing assistance. Millennials as well as Gen Z consumers value diversity and authenticity. Take a cue from Vintage Ink Wine’s campaign featuring Boomers with the campaign tagline “we are all made of stories.”
In order for your campaigns to hit the mark, see to it that you have a deep understanding of your audience. Gain insights directly from your target customers and consider testing your campaigns to get feedback.
Taking a generational approach is also helpful when determining the right marketing channels, as people’s media consumption habits vary, depending on their age group. For instance, when it comes to social media, research shows that Gen Z-ers and Millennials prefer Instagram and Snapchat, while Gen Xers and Baby Boomers gravitate towards Facebook.
You need to pay attention to these trends and data, so you can tap into the right platforms and channels.
This brings us to our next point…
2. Embrace digital marketing channels
Digital marketing can have a tremendous impact on your physical store’s traffic… if you leverage it correctly.
According to Pew Research, while young consumers are more likely to be heavy users of digital technologies, older generations aren’t too far behind. Pew found that with the exception of the Silent Generation (born in 1945 or earlier), the adoption of broadband internet is prevalent across all generations, with most Millennials (78%), Gen Xers (78%) and Boomers (74%) saying that they have a broadband subscription.
What’s more, “tablet ownership is now comparable across most generations,” according to Pew, with 55% of Gen Xers, 53% of Millennials, and 52% of Boomers saying that they own tablets.
This means that no matter who your target audience is, digital tools and platforms play a role in their shopping journey.
Here are some of the ways that you can leverage digital channels to boost your in-store traffic.
Increase your Google presence
Consumers, regardless of age, turn to Google for their internet search needs. That’s why it’s critical for your store to be findable on the site. You can do this by setting up a complete Google My Business (GMB) listing. Having a GMB profile helps ensure that your shop shows up in local searches — which can ultimately drive traffic and sales.
Data from Google shows that almost one-third of all mobile searches are related to location. And here’s the kicker: 88% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone end up shopping at a related retail store within a week.
Consumers are clearly turning to Google to find products to buy and stores to visit, so having a strong presence on the site can increase the chances of people finding and visiting your location.
Fortunately, setting up your GMB profile is incredibly simple and takes just a few steps. If you haven’t done so yet, head to google.com/business and follow the steps to create your listing.
Tap into your email subscribers
Email marketing works like a charm when getting the word out about specific in-store offers. If you’re running a sale or any type of promotion and want to encourage people to come in, make it a point to tap into your mailing list. Since you’re reaching people who’ve either purchased from you in the past or expressed interest in your products, your messages are likely to be well-received.
Here’s an email marketing pro tip: segment your subscribers (e.g., by gender, location, age group, etc.) and then use their data to personalize the messages they receive. This is essential, particularly if you have multiple locations and hold store-specific campaigns.
If you’re running a special sale in your store in Los Angeles, for example, you’d only want your email to go to your LA customers.
The beverage retailer Total Wine & More does this well. Total Wine regularly holds events in its various local stores, and it markets these initiatives through email. What’s great about the effort is that Total Wine tailors its messages according to the recipient’s location, so subscribers only get alerts about events happening at their local store.
The advertising offerings of companies like Google and Facebook provide sophisticated (but easy to use) targeting capabilities, so you can zero in on your audience based on their demographic information, location, and interests. This makes digital ads highly effective in getting on the radar of your target customers near your store.
If you have room in your budget, consider devoting funds to paid advertising initiatives so you can get the word out about your in-store campaigns. Just be sure to follow our tips above and create content that’s relatable to your target audience.
3. Refresh and revamp your programs regularly
Driving in-store traffic is never a one-and-done activity. You should constantly refresh your campaigns and implement new programs to stay relevant and top of mind. Here are some ideas on how to do just that:
Keep up with the latest holidays and seasons
This goes without saying, but your campaigns should reflect the latest holidays or seasons. If it’s springtime, for example, then you might want to promote new beginnings. Gearing up for winter? Then cold weather campaigns could be a great way to go.
You should also identify the holidays that your customers celebrate. The big ones — such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day are a given, but see if you can come up with campaigns for niche holidays.
For example, the pizza chain Pieology celebrates National Pizza Day annually and sends a special email campaign to its subscribers encouraging them to come in.
Keep up with pop culture
Another way to keep your in-store campaigns fresh is to ride a pop culture wave. Keep an eye out for trending memes, shows, or events and find ways to capitalize on them. If a particular internet meme is making waves, for instance, consider incorporating it into your displays. If a hot new movie hits the big screen, see if you can sell relevant items or weave in the film’s elements into your campaigns.
Disney always excels at this strategy. Whenever a new Disney movie comes out, the company keeps its retail stores on point by showcasing window displays and running promotions that are relevant to the film.
For instance, when the live-action version of Dumbo hit theaters in 2019, the Disney Store at South Coast Plaza had a large display featuring Dumbo as a stuffed animal.
4. Collaborate with others
While it’s certainly possible to run campaigns on your own, don’t be afraid to bring in collaborators every now and then.
Identify people who can influence the purchase decisions of your customers, and see if you can team up with them on your in-store campaigns. Doing so enables you to tap into their audience and increase the reach of your brand.
The skincare brand Caudalie teams up with various micro-influencers by inviting them to Caudalie locations and offering complimentary services. The influencers, on their part, are tasked with sharing their experience with their audience.
You could also collaborate with other businesses. Partner with local merchants and explore ways to create mutually-beneficial campaigns. You could, for example, create a joint giveaway or promotion that entices customers to visit your stores or purchase your products.
Have a look at this example from the sporting goods store Runners High, which teamed up with the fitness studio, Orangetheory. Runners High was able to entice the studio’s members to visit its stores, while Orangetheory benefited by being able to offer an exclusive perk to its members.
5. Equip your store with the right tools
The right in-store technologies and solutions can keep your campaigns running smoothly and allow you to measure their performance. That, in turn, helps you improve and drive even more visits to your location.
Use the following tools to monitor, measure, and optimize your campaigns:
The best way to measure the success of your foot traffic campaigns is to use people counters to log the number of visitors walking through your doors. These counters allow you to accurately track your store visits, so you can determine if your programs are driving traffic to your store.
Some people counters can even be integrated with your point of sale system, so you can track store visits alongside your sales, and determine your conversion rate.
In addition to being solid security and loss prevention tools, cameras can be useful for monitoring movement and traffic patterns in your location. You can use in-store cameras to see how your guests move about in your shop, then use that data to inform your merchandising and store layout.
IoT sensors that monitor things like temperature, humidity, light, and motion can keep your store running smoothly and ensure the safety of your visitors. Depending on your location and campaign, you may need to install these sensors so you can keep tabs on what’s going on in your shop and take corrective action if necessary.
For instance, if you’re promoting and selling perishable goods, then monitoring your fridge temperature is a must. Using an IoT sensor that alerts you of notable temperature changes will enable you to do something immediately.
Retail audits and task management software
See to it that your in-store initiatives are up to snuff by auditing your campaigns. We already know that 60% of promotional campaigns are not executed properly, yet properly executed campaigns can increase sales by 193%! Don’t leave money on the table. Create checklists and use a retail audit solution like Compliant IA to inspect your stores, create action steps, tasks and automate follow-up.
The right strategy is key when it comes to driving in-store traffic
There are several ways to drive in-store traffic. From tried-and-tested tactics like discounts and sales, to larger initiatives such as in-store events, there no shortage of ideas you can tap into if you want to increase your store visits.
But the real key to success lies in your overall strategy. Being clear with your target audience and leveraging the right tools is critical to ensuring that your campaigns not only bring in more people but are driving conversions at the same time.
About the author:
Francesca Nicasio is retail expert, B2B content strategist, and LinkedIn TopVoice. She writes about trends, tips, and best practices that enable retailers to increase sales and serve customers better. She’s also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores.