25 Low-Cost Ways to Get More Foot Traffic to Your Store

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Sharmadean Reid has cracked the code on how to attract customers and drive foot traffic to her nail salon – Instagram.

“It’s not just about messing around with your friends, it’s about having a channel that is another way to describe and show your brand’s personality and also have direct communication with your fanbase and your customer base.” says Reid in her interview with Entrepreneur Magazine.

Foot traffic is down across the board as is evidenced by the glut of bankruptcies over the years.

statistics on foot traffic

“There have been nine retail bankruptcies in 2017—as many as all of 2016. J.C. Penney, RadioShack, Macy’s, and Sears have each announced more than 100 store closures.” via The Atlantic

This data chart is from 2013.  I’ve looked for more current numbers, but have been unable to find them. Perhaps it’s so depressing, they aren’t even counting anymore.

3 Reasons Why You Aren’t Seeing Foot Traffic

Assuming your store actually sells things people want to buy, I’ve found three big reasons that there’s been an overall decrease of foot traffic to retailers across the board.

  1. People aren’t buying less, they are shopping differently. When your customer knows exactly what they want, they are going to go searching online, collecting referrals and ideas from friends and then jumping online to make the purchase. Even grocery stores have gotten into the game by providing online shopping and delivery.  While there are certainly situations in which a visit to a retail store is warranted, even then, folks are loathed to add one more stop to their list of errands.
  2. Your customers’ priorities are shifting from buying THINGS to buying EXPERIENCES. Have you noticed how new restaurants and restaurant chains are popping up everywhere to immediately full parking lots?retail sales for foot traffic
  3. There is a glut of malls and retail stores.This chart shows the massive shift that happened around the 2008 recession.  Consumers radically reduced their purchasing of THINGS while continuing to enjoy eating out.

Millennials Are Buying From Local Businesses

“Millennials are rooting for the local economy even if it costs them more. Roughly 7 out of 10 millennials claim that purchasing American-made products is important to them according to Edelman Digital. 40% say that they prefer to shop at local stores even if items are more expensive. In addition, Millennials are spearheading efforts to buy food locally, which contributed to the rapid growth of the $29 billion industry according to AdWeek.”

via Fit Small Business

Retail Dive surveyed more than 1,00 people and of those, 62 percent chose in-store over online shopping because they want to see, touch, feel, and try out items.

reasons for choosing to shop online

via Fit Small Business

How to Drive Foot Traffic to Your Store

  1. See yourself as being in the entertainment business. Provide a unique sensory experience.
  2. Focus on existing customers
  3. Research existing foot traffic
  4. Target a specific type of customer
  5. Partner with other businesses
  6. Use local search and advertising
  7. Increase curb and store appeal
  8. Add catchy outdoor signs and displays
  9. Create eye-catching displays in your store
  10. Speed up the shopping experience
  11. Offer complementary product
  12. Create lounging space
  13. Offer free wifi
  14. Hold events and classes
  15. Identify influencers and connectors
  16. Start a referral program
  17. Leverage social media
  18. Build an email list
  19. Host events
  20. Hire and Train employees to be engaging and friendly
  21. Engage employees in your marketing
  22. Allow customers to buy online and pickup in store
  23. Be sure that your store inventory is visible online.
  24. Personalize your marketing campaigns
  25. Optimize your website for local

The Best Way to Drive Foot Traffic

The other day I was listening to the “How I Built This” podcast with the founder of the 5 Guys Burger Chain, Jerry Murrell. Here is his secret — deliver the best product, service, and experience for your customer.

He observed that a local restaurant had no marketing, no signs, no NOTHING and yet had a line of rabid fans outside their door.  WHY? Because the food was so good that people talked about it and frequented the restaurant.

He decided to do the same; best meat, best fries and best oil.  Yes, it cost more than a fast food burger, but people loved it, found it and the chain grew.


Never underestimate the power of over delivering on quality to drive traffic to your business.  Take a deep look inside the products and services you offer and uncover one or two things that you can over deliver on; what can you do to knock it out of the park?

Your customers will reward you by showing up, sharing with friends and ultimately creating a line outside your door.

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