Foot traffic – or the presence of people walking around a particular space, like a shopping mall – has always been crucial to the success of retail businesses. Lower foot traffic means lower sales – a phenomenon brick-and-mortar stores are experiencing as more and more consumers eschew store visits in favour of online shopping. Now more than ever, as e-commerce grows, retail franchises need to ramp up their efforts to get more feet through the door. Here are five tips to help you drive shopper traffic…
Focus on the Store Front
Your store front attracts visual attention from passers-by, focusing it in on your brands and your wares. Take a good, hard look at your current business façade – is it looking spick and span or tired and worn?
- Spend a few hours outside your store, watching pedestrians as they pass your business – do they notice your store and, if so, what do they look at? Asking them to complete a quick survey can be helpful (reward them with a voucher from your franchise!)
- Take a look at your franchise agreement to see who is responsible for renovating your retail space
- Request a meeting with your franchisor to explore ways in which your store façade may be improved upon – brainstorming ideas with other franchisees can also be helpful – and what budget is available for the task
- Think slick – storefronts should be clean and uncluttered, bright and beautiful, no matter what they sell
- If you don’t have the knack, hire a professional to create arresting window displays.
Take it Inside
An aesthetically pleasing or interesting storefront can help lure people inside but once they’re there, you need to retain that interest so they don’t walk out the first chance they get!
- Pay attention to the crucial ‘decompression zone’ – as they step over the threshold of your franchise store, customers are making judgements about your business. Here, their interest is piqued, but they’re not quite ready to make a purchase yet (read: no hard sell in this space!). A welcoming and inviting decompression zone – perhaps where they can stop and examine a product display – will help them feel relaxed and at home.
- Create a ‘power wall’ – research shows that most consumers glance left when entering a store, before heading to the right. Use the area to the right to showcase your products.
- Have a funky seating area – if customers have to wait a time for their order to be filled, providing comfy seating will help allay any negative feelings which come from hanging around (how about serving a free coffee while they wait?)
- Again, think slick – always keep the interior of your retail franchise business clean and neat (including the ‘behind the scenes’ parts, like kitchens in fast food franchises – you never know who might catch a glimpse!).
Give Out Freebies
Everyone loves free stuff! Freebies work primarily because they give people a chance to try out your product with no risk. Then, they provide a hook to encourage them to enter your store…
- Prepare attractive samples of your products
- Have a staff member or promoter hand them out to folks walking by your store.
Have a Special Offer
Special offers or promotional events for a limited time only can be just the ticket to get foot traffic, provided that they’re exciting or interesting. For example, packaging new products with old favourites in a special deal combo is a great way to introduce new lines, and two-for-one specials on certain days is an old customer favourite.
- Research and brainstorm special offer ideas so that you come up with something different and creative
- Plan your promo event well and in advance so that it goes off without a hitch
- Advertise and publicise it in targeted media channels and outside your store.
Host a Free Workshop
A great way of enticing people in-store is giving them the opportunity to upskill, for free. Apple gives free coding workshops periodically in its retail stores; America’s Home Depot hosts free DIY workshops and US fabric company Mood Fabrics holds free ‘Start your own fashion line’ workshops.
- Partner with your product suppliers to host training sessions on how to use their products
- Have a celebrity join you in-store to demonstrate a particular skill or technique
- Cap the number of people who can attend to create an aura of exclusivity
- Provide free drinks and snacks
- Give away free samples of your products in branded goodie bags or have a raffle prize.