With online sales booming, there is growing pressure on the high street to keep shops open. In 2016, for example, there were 15 shop closures a day across the UK. Furthermore, less new shops are opening showing the increasing difficulty in the retail industry. For small business shops it is essential to keep footfall high to secure the success of your business. So, what can your small business shop do to generate more footfall?
When it comes to footfall, of the number of customers that visit your shop, it leads to the chance to drive higher sales. Footfall is a hugely important indicator for retail business and should definitely be a part of any small business strategy. Increasing footfall need not be expensive though, just a few changes could help to drive consumers into your shop which means you have a captive audience to convert into sales.
Seven expert ways to increase footfall to your small business shop
1. Exterior visual merchandising
One of the most critical drivers of footfall is your shop’s visibility. To check how your shop performs, look at your store from the top of the street. Can you see it? What makes it stand out? If people cannot see it, they will not visit, so make sure you think about the view from the pavement. Check your competitors and other shops nearby to see if they have given their shop more significant presence on the street.
It is a good idea to analyse what works for your business by checking out what your competitors do. It may also be worthwhile attending networking events for local businesses, or even hosting one yourself, to find out which pavement strategies work best.
Consider using A-boards, hanging signs and window displays to attract customers from the pavement. First impressions count, so take a detailed look at your shop from the road. Are the windows clean? Do you have enough lighting? Is the paintwork chipped and faded? Make sure your shop exterior makes the right impression.
2. Samples and freebies
While giving items away can seem counterproductive to your bottom line, free samples can dramatically increase your sales. Furthermore it can be an effective way of advertising your products by proving the benefits to customers. For example, in a study of a wine tasting, free samples resulted in a £10 sales increase with a probability of purchasing at 93%. Furthermore, there was a 92% probability that customers would repurchase the wine in the future.
With everyone wanting something for free and the chance for you to win brand loyalty, write off some of your products as samples and hopefully increase your footfall, sales and repeat purchases.
3. Add discount codes
Another way to ramp up footfall is to give out samples and a further discount code to encourage people to buy. Samples certainly help to draw in a crowd while discount codes awaken the inner-bargain hunter to capitalise on a good deal.
You can also offer a discount code to share with friends which is an effective way to increase the number of customers that visit your small business shop. As well as this, word of mouth is still one of the best methods of advertising that’s all done by your customers, so you do not have to do the hard work!
4. Consider experiences
An excellent way to widen your offering and ramp up footfall is by providing your customers with more than just a sales transaction. Experiences could include a makeover if you sell beauty products or a personal shopper for clothing stores. You can also team up with local artists and designers to work together on a live installation for customers to admire.
The possibility of experiences are endless and could be as simple as a talk with drinks and nibbles to using a big name to attract a crowd.
5, Invest in staff training
Your team are the lifeblood of your business and could be the difference between a customer choosing you over a competitor. Shop assistants should have great customer service skills and receive regular training so that they are fully knowledgeable about your products.
By understanding how to wow customers, staff can exceed consumer expectations, sussing out requirements and selecting the perfect product for each customer. It is this personalised service that drives and retains footfall.
6. Go digital
It may seem counterproductive to have online shopping tools when you are trying to drive physical shop footfall, however digital strategies can encourage customers to visit in store and then you can upsell to increase sales. For example, offering a click and collect service can be incredibly convenient, you can also provide shoppers with a discount for anything else they purchase instore that day.
You can also use email and digital marketing campaigns to showcase new products, highlight a new event or prepare your shoppers for sales and promotions that you are running.
7. Consider your target customer
Once you have developed your target customer, you can then zone in on creating a strategy that meets their needs. For example, if your target customer is the older generation, consider installing some comfy seats where they can rest and view your products. If you focus on parents, then it may be wise to add a zone for children so parents can shop in peace.
It is essential to give your small business shop a unique selling point that meets the needs of the customer. By having something that draws your target customer in, you will not only increase footfall, you will also be making sure your tailoring your services to the customers that you want.
Protect your business with Compare Insurance
When growing your business, you need to protect it with insurance. Make sure your shop can stay open regardless of any unexpected events and keep your shop profitable by providing insurance cover for your small business shop.
At Compare Insurance, we can help to compare different shop insurance products to make sure your small business has the right level of protection. Find out more by calling our team of expert advisors for free on 0333 344 3705.