With the emergence of online shopping as a preferred method for many consumers, increasing foot traffic in-store has become a necessity for every brick-and-mortar retailer. Many companies are searching for new ways  to attract customers to their physical locations in order to keep up with enhanced competition from web-based challengers.

Luckily, the brick-and-mortar model can provide potential customers with unique offerings that an online retailer cannot due to its lack of a physical trading location. There are several methods that these companies can leverage to capture consumer attention and increase footfall in-store. These include:

  • Being creative and adjusting to shifts in consumer demands
  • Applying data and analytics to marketing and sales
  • Employing a buy online, pick-up in-store sales strategy
  • Coordinating marketing and sales efforts through social media
  • Embracing the competition to enhance marketing efforts and product offering 

The following guide will provide brick-and-mortar retailers with an overview of these five strategies on how to increase foot traffic in a retail store. 

Be Creative

Keeping up with technological disruption in the retail innovation space takes creativity. Online competitors are undoubtedly employing technology to get ahead in the industry. However, brick-and-mortar retailers have a creative upside that online competitors simply cannot match: the physical store.

In order to to increase foot traffic within the store, get creative with presentation. There are several creative ideas worth considering for the retail store, including the following:

  • Proper management of storefront and display. Use customer base research when choosing how to organize and market goods. Think about what the target market wants and present it so it is the first thing that they see when approaching the store. 
  • Grab new customers’ attention through signs that represent products and brands. Depending on the type of location, this could be outside in a parking lot, on the sidewalk, or outside of the shopping center in which the store is located.
  • Do research when determining the layout of the store. Of course, store layout is completely determined by the category of products sold, but there are definitely creative ways to grab customers’ attention. Be sure to pay attention to the 2020 retail trends in the sector and invest in market research when selecting the layout. 
  • Leverage new technologies within the store. Many clothing retailers are investing in smart dressing rooms that allow customers to browse through products or are utilizing augmented and virtual reality platforms that enable users to visualize products. Implementing this technology can place a retailer ahead of the competition in-store and help differentiate one retailer from another. 

While these ideas only represent a few options when it comes to creativity to increase foot traffic, they are useful considerations for any retailer that wants to enhance its physical presence. The key here is to continuously think outside the box when considering how to attract customers to the store. 

Use Data and Analytics

Data and analytics are the basis of competitive success and are what can help make a customer’s shopping experience truly seamless. If retail stores want to keep up with online disrupters, they must take the same approach to data as web-based firms. While this may be a more complex process for a brick-and-mortar store, it is not impossible. 

First off, collect data on every customer that makes a purchase at the store. This will enable retailers to make the appropriate offers to individual customers and leverage marketing strategy correctly. 

Then, use omnichannel commerce strategies to connect the dots between different sales channels and better equip sales teams with methods to increase sales. 

Secondly, pay attention to peak times. Install data collecting security cameras that count customer levels at different times across the day, week, and season. Be sure to have well-trained staff available during peak times, and control retail sales strategies based on the foot traffic throughout the year. Always focus on bringing customers into the store during less busy times and learn how to improve staff efficiency during peak periods. 

Offer In-Store Pick-ups

With the exception of a few budget retailers, most successful companies have an online presence. However, there is a benefit to operating beyond the limitations of a web-based platform. This is why retailers that have physical locations must use this to their advantage and allow customers to purchase goods online and fulfill their orders in-store. 

This might be the most obvious way of attracting foot traffic into the store. Loyal customers have the option of purchasing their goods online but can acquire their items that much faster by picking them up in-store. The increased flow of customers will increase foot traffic and potentially increase customers in retail as well as in-store sales if properly utilized. 

Strategize Placement

Placement of the buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) kiosk is key. Force customers to walk by the best products and sale items prior to picking up their goods. Many retailers are now using smart locker systems—like Parcel Pending’s smart lockers—that allow their customers to use BOPIS without standing in a line, making it that much more attractive. 

Furthermore, it is important to give customers the option of returning goods quickly. One reason many customers still prefer the brick-and-mortar model is due to the ability to try on goods and easily return them. BOPIS can be leveraged in the same way. If employing a smart locker system, place it close to the dressing rooms and make an effort to streamline the return process.

By employing a BOPIS strategy, retailers can not only increase foot traffic but also help differentiate their store from online competition, which could be crucial towards remaining relevant in the shifting retail market. 

Leverage Social Media

Seasonal sales are key to successful retail in-store. However, they are useless if no one knows about them. Social media has become an incredible tool for getting the word out not just about retail sales, but a retailer’s overall presence. 

Retailers should be marketing products through all of the major social media platforms.

  • Primary platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
  • Secondary platforms – YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn
  • Tertiary platforms – Snapchat, TikTok

If conducting a sale or in-store event, leverage social media and get the word out. This may require hiring a third-party social media company to assist in targeting the correct base of potential customers and developing a consistent strategy across platforms. 

This could also include leveraging social media influencers to market products. Influencers have become a major part of modern approaches to marketing and can be extremely useful in framing brand to a specific target market. 

Additionally, social media can provide an additional channel to sell goods. Make sure that social media advertisements inform consumers about other sales channels and allow loyal customers to purchase goods through an online store, while of course, giving them the option to use a BOPIS program. 

Embrace Competition

Retailers are in a unique position to work closely with competitors and can differentiate their store’s offering by bringing customers a wide range of products. This could include renting out space within the store to other brands or simply expanding the product offering to provide customers with a wider range of items. 

Teaming up with major competitors could go a long way in increasing foot traffic within the store. When doing so, consider what stores and products are in the immediate vicinity and attempt to fill in the gaps in what is available to customers. 

Another option could be coordinated marketing campaigns. When considering this option, a retailer could take two major routes: promoting the products of two or more geographically situated competitors, or two or more competitors that have similar products. 

A geographically coordinated marketing campaign would promote the store to drive traffic into the general area. On the other hand, coordination between competitors that offer similar products would simply be promotions of the product as a whole, potentially without ever discussing a specific brand. 

Satisfy the Modern Consumer

When attempting to increase foot traffic within a brick-and-mortar store, it is necessary to think outside the box and constantly leverage the brand’s creativity through a solid presentation, both in-store and online. Employing a strategy that leverages data and analytics and expands the options available to customers when purchasing items can have a direct effect on the number of customers who come for the in-store experience. 

If retailers want to keep up with the competition, it has become necessary to embrace both social media and unconventional marketing techniques. Furthermore, retailers may want to consider teaming up with competitors if a suitable marketing campaign or coordinated event will bring in more customers. 

By applying these five strategies, retail stores are sure to experience increased footfall in the immediate future, while at the same time creating an atmosphere that is better suited to satisfy the modern consumer’s ever-changing needs.