Footfall is essentially the process of people counting and a way to measure how many people enter a shop. But it’s so much more than that: a busy shop or store demonstrates that what you are offering is appealing to a wide range of people. It shows that your brand is potent and this will be translated into greater sales and higher revenue - something very helpful in a competitive retail market.
You have probably heard the phrase ‘build it and they will come’ well, forget this idea when it comes to footfall. A physical presence on a busy high street guarantees nothing. You need to go about getting people in the store ready to part with their hard earned cash. Not easy… but it is do-able. Let’s read on to see how.
Why not offer passers-by the opportunity to sample your product? For instance, if you make homemade smoothies, why not stand in the street and offer free samples. People don’t say no to freebies. No one has anything to lose in terms of time or effort, so they may well be more than willing to sample your product. And if they like it, there is a good possibility that they will come inside and buy your product.
Consider setting up a stall: that way your samples can be put in a safe place, and be ready to hand to any curious onlooker. You could also offer discount codes as a way of follow up. Allow people to use these on your website to make a future purchase from the comfort of their own home.
You have one chance to make a good first impression - that’s it. Therefore, you need to come across in the best possible way. There are ways to do this. Firstly, don’t speak to people like you are just trying to flog them your stuff. People hate being inundated with offers, and it will cheapen your brand. Instead speak to them like a human being. Ask them how their day is going; do they support the local football team and (this one is pretty important) if there is anything that catches their eye. People love authenticity, and if they think you’re a trustworthy person then they will more than likely purchase from you. And it shouldn’t just be you who acts this way: your staff also need to be equally approachable and friendly. They should be actively trying to initiate a conversation with customers in store. Creating a friendly environment can go a long way, so all aspects of your store need to reflect this.
Relying on word of mouth and handing out samples in the street are great ways to increase footfall. However, this will only take you so far without concentrated marketing efforts. There are many ways this can be done. Why not contact the local press and see if you can have an advert placed in the local paper. Enquire about local billboards and see if you can promote your business that way. Alternatively, if you are looking to do something cost effective you could consider ramping up your social media efforts. But don’t go for the hard sell. Social media is about engaging with your audience. Show that you understand their needs and communicate with them in a way which is a bit more informal. This will only increase the chances of people coming into your store.
There are many ways to target your local community through online channels. You could sign up to Google My Businessso that your business can be found on the search engine. Another way is to send out emails to loyal customers when you have special offers in your store. This is a great way to encourage brand loyalty from customers who have bought from you in the past. If you are looking to engage with a broader audience then there are ways to utilise social media in a more targeted way. You should consider using Facebook ads. These are highly targeted pieces of copy that can go to a relevant location or demographic.
Don’t assume that every other business on your street is a competitor. It could be very advantageous to find a way to collaborate with another small enterprise. You could ask the other business to hand out flyers to promote yours. This could be even more effective if both your respective businesses offer things which compliment the other. Perhaps you are offering whole foods, but down the road there is a specialist vegan cafe which. It could be a great idea to cross promote each other’s businesses, particularly when the audiences are similar.