Although experts expect the global eCommerce industry to grow to $1.915 trillion by 2018, brick and mortar stores are still credited with as much as 94 per cent of retail sales. This means that while an online presence is essential, retail business owners shouldn’t give up their physical stores or stop trying to increase their foot traffic just yet.
Customers are looking for the best of both worlds. This means entrepreneurs and especially small business owners need to pay as much attention to their physical stores as they do to their online retail space.
So, if you have a brick and mortar store and you’re looking for some simple, but innovative ways to increase foot traffic and boost your instore sales, here are a few ideas.
Although we're told to never judge a book by its cover, many of us still do. And when it comes to retail businesses, a bad first impression usually means lost sales. So, your first step to increasing foot traffic is to make the effort to keep things tidy and include basic maintenance in your monthly budget.
Your next step is to make your storefront stand out in some way. You can have the best prices and the best service, but if the guy next door has a better window display or an enticing kerbside extra – most of the feet you’re trying to attract will head into his store.
While everyone will tell you an attractive storefront is essential to increase your foot traffic, the ambiance inside your store is just as important. Cluttered and dusty shelves, torn or outdated posters on the walls, and even dim lighting will drive your potential customers away.
Customers don’t want to freeze or boil to death while they’re browsing your store, so invest in a high-quality AC system and make sure it's always in perfect working order. Also, offer your customers some simple amenities such as a hydration station, free Wi-Fi, a lounge area or anything else you can think of that your customers might want while they’re in your store.
The secret to boosting your foot traffic while giving your customers the online experience they desire is to provide an omnichannel experience. This means embracing the digital age and then finding innovative ways to bring the digital world into your brick and mortar store.
This would include things like a click and collect or BOPIS system, which means Buy Online Pickup In Store. You should also have a mobile POS system and interactive displays. An app like Aisle411 can direct customers around your store and even running a simple “check in” promotion can increase sales.
Take the fact that omnichannel customers shop more frequently and tend to spend three and a half times more than other shoppers. The idea of introducing digital innovations in your physical store is a smart investment.
You can have the best products, the best prices, the most beautiful storefront and the most amazing in-store amenities, but the success of all these tactics is completely dependent on your employees. They are the final part of the brick and mortar shopping experience, and probably the most important, too.
Simply hiring employees who are experts at customer service is not enough. They also need to have in-depth knowledge of every one of your products and services. This applies even if it’s a service that you don’t actually sell, such as a mobile POS system or a click and collect system. Your workers should understand how to handle referral based promotions, your social media, and your online and email marketing.
Some of these ideas will require a budget that your store may not have, but if you start with the basics and remember to always think outside the box, this won’t be a problem. Because all it takes to increase your revenue and build a shopping experience that will keep customers coming back again and again is a little time, patience and creative thinking.