If you are feeling lonely at work, then it’s time to do something to increase foot traffic to your retail store and walk-in business. No matter what your retail store sells, there are many easy, cost-effective things you can do to attract more customers.
Before you try some of the strategies below, you need to first devote time and energy to sprucing up your retail store. Take a look at your window displays. Do they tell a compelling story about what’s inside? Eye-catching displays are the best way to entice people to step inside your store. No matter what you sell, you can always tell a story with interesting merchandise, simple backdrops, props and other decorative materials.
If you need help, hire a window-dresser or “virtual merchandiser,” as they are called. It will be worth the $30 to $100 an hour they charge to jazz up your windows. Take advantage of the real estate in front of your retail store. Decorate the benches. Pick up litter. (Consider putting a trash can outside.) If you have a planter or window box, plant some flowers. All of it will contribute to making your store seem more inviting to potential foot traffic.
Next, walk around the retail store and decide what new items to move up front. Go through every rack and shelf. Set up attractive displays. Move seasonal or out of date merchandise to the back, mark it down or put it away for next year. Once you decide what to offer at a discount, print or order some signs.
And finally, while it may seem obvious, make sure the store is swept, dusted and vacuumed. Nothing turns shoppers off like a dirty store. If the rug needs shampooing, do it or hire a cleaning crew. Check all the light fixtures and replace any burnt out bulbs.
One of the best ways to increase foot traffic is to host a contest or community service project or charity event. Keep it simple; just conduct a drawing for a free item. Remember, free is the most powerful business word in the English language, so use it.
Collect business cards in a bowl or ask people to fill out a short entry form. Email your contacts to let them know what’s going on. Write a story about it in your monthly e-newsletter. Create a colorful post card and mail it out. Post the details on your web site and social media pages.
Finding an organization to support should be easy. Contact the manager of a local homeless shelter or food pantry and offer to collect things they need. A canned food drive is super easy to conduct. You just need to buy or borrow a couple of clean trash cans to collect the cans. Consider offering customers who donate something a discount or gift-with-purchase as a ‘thank you.’
Depending on the organization you want to support, you can collect business attire, sports equipment, toys or kids’ clothes. Your mission is to get people into the store to do something good. Then, you can encourage them to look around and buy something.
If you conduct a service project, be sure to promote it to your customers, clients and the local media. Reporters are always looking for a good feature story with a human angle. Write a simple press release, detailing the facts of the event and listing a contact for more information, and send it to the editor. Since reporters move around a lot, call the paper, television or radio station and ask for the best contact person.
Continue to promote it throughout the campaign and ask your customers and clients to help spread the word as well.
Learn about all the different ways Pitney Bowes can help you communicate better with your customers.
Jane Applegate is an expert on small business marketing. She is the author of 201 Great Ideas for Your Small Business and can be followed at http://201greatideas.com/. Jane is not a Pitney Bowes employee and shares her insights on this blog as a paid contributor.