We opened and a new shop in a new mall and immediately needed to drive traffic to this store.
The mall wasn’t doing any marketing efforts and wasn’t getting enough traffic on its own, and even people who visited the mall for grocery shopping couldn’t easily see our shop on the second floor.
Sales were very low and rent was still due every moth, so we had to do something about it and drive traffic to our retail store… fast!
What is Traffic in Retail?
Traffic is the number of people entering your store. The more traffic you can get across your doors, the higher the probability of having more sales, if you can convert enough of those visitors into customers.
You can still make high sales with low traffic if your conversion rate is very high. That’s why, the first thing you try to do to improve your sales is to try and increase your conversion of your current traffic while also trying to drive more traffic to your store.
Read Also: How to improve you store’s conversion?
Your goal while driving traffic to your store should always be on “targeted” traffic vs. “just about any traffic”. By targeted we mean people who are more likely to buy from you. People who fit into the demographic profile of your typical customers.
After all, you don’t really want to overwhelm your sales team by the wrong traffic and end up having no/low sales after all the marketing efforts, right?
So here, we will tell you what we have done to drive traffic to our store , which resulted in 21% increase in sales within few months.
How to Drive Traffic to Your Retail Store?
1. Partner With Local Businesses to Drive Traffic to Your Store
Go out in the community and create a list of nearby businesses who don’t compete with you, yet serve the same customers as you do.
For example, we sell lingerie, so typically all our customers are also beauty salon customers. Salons don’t compete with us in any way, so they were happy to partner with us in a win/win situation that will benefit both businesses.
The partnership mechanism can go like this: I am giving 20% off to all your clients at my shop on all non-discounted items, valid until 01/07/2021
The salon will appreciate it, because they will be giving their customers a gift without having to pay for it and you will not pay anything until the customer actually shops at your store.
The salon may or may not ask you to do the same for their business, which is fair enough and also won’t cost you anything.
2. Partner With Online Sellers to Drive Traffic to Your Store
There are a lot of creative online sellers doing arts, crafts, accessories from home and selling them on platforms like Etsy or e-bay, or even one social media.
Find some sellers that have a big online following on social media, who sell products that can compliment your product portfolio and give them a way to be at a brick-and -mortar location on a consignment basis.
Read our article on Consignment and how to incorporate it into your buying strategy.
I partnered with a lady who was selling her own brand of false eyelashes and was killing it on social media. This didn’t only drive traffic to my stores and created awareness of my brand among her customers, but it also added 1% to my top line, as these products were used at checkout as add-ons.
At the same time, I also partnered with another lady selling hosiery and tights. This also added another 1% to my sales.
You see? The 21% increase will not come from a single source or single effort. It will come from doing all the possible things that we can and these will add up over time.
3. Create Store Activities & Experiences
This is another one, where you can also partner with local service providers to create an event at your store at some low-traffic time.
For example, if you sell make-up & beauty products, invite make-up artists and give them a space to host a workshop at your store or do a makeover competition and create buzz around it on social media.
Again, they will inform their followers to attend, so you will benefit from the traffic and awareness.
Remember: Your brick-and-mortar store is a valuable piece of real estate that not everyone can afford. Think about it that way and see how you can offer other professionals part of this real estate for free in return for the traffic & exposure you will get.
Examples of Store Activities & Experiences:
- Workshops or seminars (by local professionals)
- Early breakfast gathering (sponsored by local cafe or restaurant)
- Kids fashion show
- Kids coloring event and competition
- Book signing event
- Raffle draw
4. Text Your Customers
You will be surprised how many customers want to willingly leave their phone numbers to you to be informed about new arrivals. These are people who want to hear from you and are interested in buying from you at full price !
I was hesitant to do this when my team told me about it, because it seemed very unprofessional to take customers numbers and whats app them, until my store managers told me that it’s the customers who actually want this.
We even found that most of those customers when we text/call them about our sale, they say “we are not interested in sale, we want new collections!“
Of course we invite them to follow us on social media, but due to algorithm they don’t always see our posts, so they ask to leave their numbers and be notified instead.
Believe it or not, a lot of people still prefer it the old way. As a small brick-and-mortar boutique this is one of the things that can actually give you a competitive advantage in the market. Unlike big retail, you have the time and possibility to interact with your customers one-on-one.
My team now has a local list at each store with phone numbers of customers who they call every time we have a new launch. They always appreciate our care for them and always come to the shop.
5. Use Your Windows
Another thing that I was reluctant to do was putting price points in the window. That’s because I always want people to focus on the product itself rather than its price.
We renovated our biggest store and one day I had a new customer entering and saying that she was intimated by the design and thought our prices were much higher.
Because our brand is a value brand, the last thing I wanted was for customers passing by to think I am a premium/luxury brand and avoid entering my shop. I started testing some price points and put them in the window, and the result was amazing.
The thing is: This tactic brings you new customers, who never shopped with you before because of the wrong impression. Your customers already know your prices, so whoever this will attract is additional traffic that was not visiting you before.
You don’t have to focus on the price if your brand positioning doesn’t benefit from it. What I am trying to say here is use your windows wisely to attract your target customers.
This could be by highlighting the quality of your fabric, by specifically stating it in the marketing material, or by highlighting your eco-driven initiatives if this is what you & your customers stand for.
Your window is a huge marketing asset, just make sure you are utilizing it to the max
6. List On Google My Business
People search for products online before actually going and buying them in store all the time. When they search with high intent to buy, they don’t just type “red t-shirt” or “sneakers”. Instead, they type “sneakers in *insert your area*” .
Google has even found that there is a growing trend of “near me” search.
That’s people who are ready to buy right now, and just want to find the right place.
You can now list your local shop on Google My Business for free and get all those highly targeted online searches to drive traffic to your retail store.
Make sure to include specific information about the products you sell and some pictures of the latest collection. Add a link to your website or social media profiles, so new customers can see that you are selling. You can also add offers to the listing to encourage people to visit your store.
Read more articles on how to manage & grow your sales
In today’s market of high competition, retailers should utilize all their assets and all the possibilities available to them in their local community to drive their business and build loyalty among their customers.
The only way to survive this landscape is to be flexible and agile, adapting to new technologies and new ways of doing business.
Read our article on how to take your brick & mortar retail business online to serve your customers across channels.
Retailer & Founder of Retail Dogma, Inc.
Rasha has 12 years of retail & ecommerce experience. She has started an ecommerce business in 2008, and later worked at H&M, Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret and Landmark Group. She’s currently working with an omni-channel retail start-up, and scaling its retail operations in UAE.
She has lived in 4 different countries, speaks 3 different languages and holds a master’s degree in Strategic Management & Marketing.