Having a high-street presence can be great but it comes with its own set of problems aside from paying the rent, bills and staff. How do you get more customers in your shop?
Location, location, location – it’s not just about your home postcode but where you sell from too. Is there a demand for your products in the area where your shop is located? Assuming so and that you will be marketing locally/regionally then driving people to your shop clearly relies on people being able to find you.
You need people to be able to find you so putting signage outside your shop is essential. If you are hidden away down a side street or on a business park, then see if you can put a sign on the main street or at the entrance to the business park. If your customers can’t find you then you have no chance of making the sale.
2. Window Display
Your windows need to be dressed for success. Make sure that people can see what you sell and aren’t left wondering exactly what they are likely to find inside. Your window display should be on brand, and tempt people to come in… or in the case of people who see your display when you are closed, tempt them to come back.
It may seem obvious, but having a website even when you have a physical presence is essential. Many people will find you via your online site before visiting your shop. Ensure it tempts people to visit you – and of course include information on how to find you. Your site must be mobile enabled and if at all possible the mobile landing page should be the map and contact details.
Alongside the how to find us page on your website should be information on where to park – especially if it is difficult to park outside your shop. People don’t mind walking a bit to get to a shop if they are prepared for it, or know where they can park. However many people turn up with the expectation of being able to park outside, can’t and then don’t know where to go, so leave. Another lost sale.
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5. Local affiliates
Team up with other local businesses who have the same customer base as yourself and cross-promote your shop. Coffee shops, hairdressers, shoe shops – all manner of retail outlets are open to this kind of promotion.
6. Trade Associations/Chamber
Many towns and some villages have retail forums for local businesses or a town chamber – get involved!
7. Advertising & Promotion
Local radio can be a brilliant medium for reaching people in the local area and driving traffic to your shop. Don’t forget to research local advertising opportunities in local newspapers, parish magazines and using door to door leafleting either through royal mail, other distributors or by doing this yourself. Which course of promotion you choose, remember to think about who your customers are, and which medium they are likely to respond to.
Get involved in the community to build empathetic relationships by supporting things like the local cricket club or running competitions for people in the area. Ensure that you use this to build a press release or blog story to maximise the reach of your PR efforts.
Ensure that your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is working for your website. More and more people are using the near me search in Google so you need to claim your business. Things like social media can contribute to your SEO and can also be targeted to reach a local audience – don’t dismiss digital channels just because you want people to arrive at a physical destination.
10. The in-store experience!
Don’t forget that you will want your customers to come back, and recommend you to their friends and neighbours. Make sure that you deliver a service that delights all your customers to maximise this opportunity.
One final word, MEASUREMENT: don’t forget to ask people who do visit your shop how they found out about you – this will help with the creation and development of your marketing plans for future months and years.