Sharmadean Reid has cracked the code on how to drive foot traffic to her nail salon – Instagram.
“It’s not just about messing around with you 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.
“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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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 Patronizing 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.”
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.
How to Drive Foot Traffic to Your Retail Location
- See yourself as being in the entertainment business. Provide a unique sensory experience.
- Focus on existing customers
- Research existing foot traffic
- Target a specific type of customer
- Partner with other businesses
- Use local search and advertising
- Increase curb and store appeal
- Add catchy outdoor signs and displays
- Create eye-catching displays in your store
- Speed up the shopping experience
- Offer complementary product
- Create lounging space
- Offer free wifi
- Hold events and classes
- Identify influencers and connectors
- Start a referral program
- Leverage social media
- Build an email list
- Host events
- Hire and Train employees to be engaging and friendly
- Engage employees in your marketing
- Allow customers to buy online and pickup in store
- Be sure that your store inventory is visible online.
- Personalize your marketing campaigns
- 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.