Retail Marketing - 5 Ways to Boost In-Store Foot Traffic

If your business depends on in-store shopping, or you just want to make your business more profitable, here are five retail marketing strategies that can help.

Study: In-Store Shoppers Spend More than Online Shoppers

No matter how convenient, eCommerce can’t rival in-store shopping when it comes to physical experience, and it might show up on the bottom line. A First Insight Report found that 71 percent of shoppers spent more than $50 shopping in-store while only 54 percent did the same when shopping online. For businesses that depend on attracting and selling to local shoppers, tweaking their retail marketing strategy might help attract more of these shoppers.

Even popular retail giants that spend millions on marketing and advertising can struggle to attract the numbers of in-store shoppers they want to see, despite facilitating (and not fighting) the new consumer penchant for showrooming (researching and shopping in-store, and they buying online, usually to get the lowest price). So if it’s not about big money, retailers who creatively re-think their retail marketing strategy could be the ones to get more local shoppers back inside their brick-and-mortar stores.

5 Retail Marketing Ideas to Boost In-Store Foot Traffic

Come Up with an In-Store Only Gimmick

While differentiation is an important part of marketing, it’s not always easy to pull off. A gimmick is a unique or quirky special feature that makes something stand out from competitors. A gimmick can even be developing a special feature for the sake of having a special feature.

If nothing about the customer experience at your business is unique – quirky – special – or different from the experience customers can expect from competitors, including e-commerce buying options, then why should they come to your brick and mortar store to buy?

Speaking of in-store marketing gimmicks: Fast food giant Arby’s recently discovered a traffic-generating gimmick, albeit by accident. Having launched a marketing campaign with the tagline We Have the Meats® along with a photo showing Arby’s meat selections stacked atop one another, they responded quickly by making the Arby’s Meat Mountain available by customer request, even though it’s not officially on the menu. News of this $10 meat-lovers delight quickly spread via viral means and brought consumers in-store to see if they could tackle it.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em: Sell Online as Well as Off

Brick and mortar retailers may be able to significantly boost revenues during the holidays and all year long by adding a shopping cart that both local and remote customers can use, incorporating shipping and handling fees into pricing in order to sell online without increasing shopper costs, and stepping up email marketing and social media efforts.

Stepping up communication is critical to attracting local customers. Engagement via social networks boost top of mind awareness and makes your content and offers highly shareable. Being present in your customer’s email inbox at the right time means that when they are ready to buy, they are going to remember to visit your store online or offline while researching their options, early in the buying process. Extending customer-exclusive offers via email, text messages (SMS) and social networks can be an especially meaningful way to reward your most loyal customers and keep their business in-house. Holding “flash” sales with offers only extended via email marketing, text (SMS) marketing and social networks can be an effective way to drive traffic during slow hours or help slow movers make their way off the shelves.

Use cash advance financing to add a web store to your website!

Expand your business with brick-and-mortar or online, virtually, by adding e-commerce to your list of shopping options. Adding a shopping cart to your web site – or building a whole new web site in order to accommodate online ordering, call-ahead ordering, inventory queries and so on can be out of reach without adequate working capital. Apply for one of our retail business loans and find out how much working capital may be available to help you grow your retail ecommerce or brick and mortar store.

Expand Engagement Campaigns Over Advertising Campaigns

The cost of traditional advertising has been prohibitive for most small businesses and can be even more expensive when a corresponding return on investment does not materialize. Plus, advertising is often a one-and-done proposition, requiring constant reinvestment in order to maintain brand awareness and put offers in front of target audiences.

Engagement, on the other hand, goes deeper, lasts longer and – maybe best of all – costs far less than advertising. A brick-and-mortar Main Street business can engage its local target market by stepping out of its location and into the community, being present for community projects, supporting local charities, donating and time and resources toward local people in need and providing resources beyond products and services for local consumers.

Find out what else interests your customers – and give it to them. By making your web site as well as brick-and-mortar business location more valuable to your target audiences, you give them more reasons to visit, refer others and create buzz about your business.

Put VIP customer-exclusive events back on the calendar. While we may be more “connected” thanks to technology than ever before, digital connection does not always replace face-to-face engagement. Give your customers and prospects the opportunity to take part in hands-on demos, product sampling, education, exhibits and other in-store events during hours that are closed to the general public. Giving away event grab bags, holding substantial event-only prize drawings or amping up your event with music, wine tasting and food can also help boost event attendance. Hold one or two significant events – perhaps with other retail marketing partners – each year that will get customers buzzing inviting their friends to visit your business and move people into your organization’s insider “circle of friends.”

Is there an organized “shop local” effort operating within your community? If not, now might be the perfect time to move your local business networking group from brainstorming into strategic action. Shop local activities help to educate local customers about the economic and civic benefits of spending their money at local establishments instead of online or at remotely-headquartered chain stores. When local consumers realize that – just by shopping – they are helping to improve their own community, they may be far more likely to go out of their way, or even spend more, in order to do so.

Master Local Search Optimization (or Local SEO)

Google has made it abundantly clear that local businesses must optimize their web sites for search and provided guidelines for doing so. Publishing content on a regular basis per local SEO best practices will bring more local web traffic to your site, which in turn can bring far more customers to your brick and mortar location to buy.

As you develop content for your website, be sure that your on-page content includes phrases that local shoppers would naturally type into a search engine when looking for the type of solutions your business provides. Use these phrases where it makes sense in your online content in order to help those local shoppers find your business more often in online product or service research.

To help you get started, here is a quick guide to SEO in 2019 as well as an article specific to local SEO, titled Local Search Trends from 2017-2018 from searchenginewatch.com.

Accommodate the Convenience-Driven, Multi-Device Consumer

It may be impractical (or even impossible) for you to actually sell and ship the goods or services your business provides online, but that does not mean you cannot accommodate the convenience-driven, multi-device shopper. For example:

  • Be sure you have a search-optimized mobile version of your website and make sure that you periodically test it to be sure that it is synced with your regular website, is providing useful analytics and works well across device types
  • Make it possible for people to check inventory, reserve items for pickup or pay online for pick up or local delivery
  • Provide price and feature-comparisons on your website and in in-store signage to save shoppers the trouble of comparison shopping
  • Solicit customer preference about how they want to receive offers and updates, and put them into practice as quickly as possible by extending valuable, contact-only offers, tips, resources and ideas

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