The Best Ways to Increase Foot Traffic for Retail Owners

If you’re a retail store owner or retail investor, you’ll know that more feet walking through the door usually directly translates to more revenue. So, what happens if you want to increase foot traffic in your store to give your profitability a boost? Enticing people to walk into a store can be a more challenging task than it appears to be.  

Most businesses apply a mix of offline and online strategies to draw customers. In this guide, we’ve done the homework to find some of the best ways to boost foot traffic and help you achieve your investment goals.

What is Foot Traffic?

Before you look at increasing foot traffic, you need to know exactly what you’re talking about. Foot traffic is the overall number of people who enter a store over a specific period. Foot traffic can be measured hourly, daily, or monthly.  

Analyzing foot traffic statistics over these time periods reveals clues about consumer behavior and buying preferences.

Why Measure Foot Traffic?

In commercial real estate (CRE), foot traffic can help retail owners with a few aspects, such as:

  • Facilitating data-driven decision-making
  • Aiding in selecting the optimal store location
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of an existing location
  • Measuring marketing campaign success
  • Informing store layout designs to enhance customer experience

Probably the single biggest influencing factor on your foot traffic numbers is your store’s location.

The best ways to increase foot traffic for retail owners
The best ways to increase foot traffic for retail owners

For the sake of this article, we’ll assume that your location is fixed. If you’ve implemented some foot traffic strategies and are still not yielding results, it’s probably time to chat to your broker about whether your location could be working against you.  

Best Ways to Increase Foot Traffic

Use these online and offline strategies to increase the foot traffic into your store:

Social Media

Influencer advertising extends beyond online retailers looking for positive social media product reviews. Physical stores can also benefit from using social media and collaborating with influencers on these platforms.  

Start with establishing social media profiles and creating a few unique hashtags.  

Make sure you implement the following:  

  • Build a strong online presence by creating a profile on the main social media platforms your customers use
  • Keep the ‘About’ sections updated and upload recent and relevant photos
  • Share exciting promotions and events to keep customers informed about what’s happening in your store
  • Engage with your audience by responding to messages and comments

It can be worthwhile investing in professional social media assistance to make sure you are actually reaching your target audience while they’re scrolling through memes and GIFs. Professional social media managers will usually provide you with reporting statistics so you can measure how effective your campaigns are.  

Here are a few other free or low-cost ways to use social media to your advantage:

  • Send or give the influencers samples to try out and promote on their channels
  • Allow them to snap photos in store
  • Place hashtag stickers in store locations
  • Be active on customers' preferred social networks
  • Mix content
  • Tag locations to encourage folks to stop by

Local SEO

Optimize your store's visibility in local searches on Google by focusing on local SEO.

Start by claiming your ‘Google My Business’ listing and ensuring that your business information is accurate and up to date.

Only use relevant keywords that potential customers might search for. This will make it easier for local customers to find you when they're looking for products or services in your area.

Remember to regularly update your website with location-specific content and mobile-friendly features.

Don’t underestimate the value of user-generated content, such as customer reviews and ratings. These can significantly boost your local search ranking.

Community Engagement

Community engagement is a way to build lasting relationships with the local community, and to turn them into store ambassadors.

Take part in and support local events, charities, and causes that align with your brand values.

Sponsor events, set up booths, or host workshops. By doing so, you're creating goodwill and increasing your store's visibility.  

A strong local presence fosters a sense of trust and connection, making people more inclined to visit and support your store.

Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are an effective way to keep customers coming back. Offer incentives for repeat visits, such as:

  • Discounts
  • Free products
  • Exclusive access to special events

Customers enjoy the benefits of loyalty, while your store benefits from increased foot traffic and customer retention.

Effective loyalty programs also encourage word-of-mouth referrals. Satisfied customers are more likely to share their positive experiences and perks with friends and family. Ensure your loyalty program ticks the following boxes:

  • User-friendly
  • Easy to join
  • Provides clear, tangible, and useful rewards

Customer Reviews

Reviews are a valuable source of user-generated content.

They can serve as authentic endorsements of your products and services. Positive online reviews can work wonders for your store's reputation.  

Prompt satisfied customers to leave reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and social media.

Respond to reviews, both positive and negative, promptly and in a professional manner. Highlight the positive reviews on your website and social media. In this way, you show your commitment to customer satisfaction. You also build credibility and trust.

Unique In-Store Experiences

Create engaging in-store experiences to engage with your customers and, in turn, increase foot traffic. Focus on emphasizing the ‘human’ aspects of retail that online shopping just can’t compete with.

Create engaging in-store experiences to increase foot traffic
Create engaging in-store experiences to increase foot traffic

The ‘ideal experience’ differs from store to store. Find the experience that works for you and your customers, then deliver it effectively.  

No clue what to do? We’ve got you covered with few ideas to draw customers and foster ongoing relationships with them:

  • In-store, complimentary workshops in your area of expertise
  • Interactive displays and activities, like a ‘trolley dash’ or a scarce-product treasure hunt
  • Immersive themed sections that completely engulf visitors in their brand narratives
  • Exceptional customer service  

A memorable shopping experience will keep customers coming back. And there’s a good chance that they’ll share their experiences with others, too.

Strategic Partnerships

Strategic partnerships can have a huge impact on your store's visibility. Collaborate with local businesses that complement your offerings.

For example, if you own a boutique clothing store, partner with a nearby shoe store or a local jewelry shop.

Tap into each other's customer bases to attract new customers. Co-promote each other's products or services. In this way, you’re creating a network that reaches a broader audience. You don’t even have to make it complicated: simply mention each other on social media. Joint marketing efforts and co-hosting events are also effective.

These partnerships enhance your credibility as a trusted local business. The more you collaborate, the more you create a mutually beneficial situation for all involved.

Eye-Catching Window Displays

Your store's window displays are its first impression. Create captivating displays that resonate with your target audience. Window displays should reflect your store's identity. Change them with the seasons or promotions. Themes and innovative designs will make your window stand out, piquing the curiosity of passersby, and inviting them to step inside.

Your window displays should tell a story. Experiment with different colors and lighting. Use props. The more visually appealing and enticing your displays are, the more likely they are to draw potential customers into your store.  

Excellent Customer Service

Simply having enough employees is not all there is to customer service. Well-trained staff who engage with customers on a first-class level are your most valuable assets. Your staff should be part of creating a positive in-store experience that encourages return visits.  

A team that is friendly, knowledgeable, and genuinely invested in helping customers will also result in great reviews.

Happy customers will talk about good service both online and offline.  

By building a reputation for fantastic customer service you are keeping customers coming back again and again.  

In-Store Events

Give consumers a cause to enter your store other than to shop. In-store events that appeal to your target audience are one of the best methods to increase foot traffic. These events could be a variety of things:

  • Product launches
  • Workshops
  • Themed parties
  • Charity events

These events give people a chance to experience your store, and in all likelihood, they’ll come back and visit again.

Use Retail Analytics

You should constantly measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. It is the best approach to improve your retail marketing and foot traffic-generation efforts.  

One of the best ways to measure your foot traffic is through a retail analytics platform. There are several platforms available which use Geographic Information System (GIS) to provide location insights for CRE. AlphaMap is a great example!  

A GIS retail analytics tool can provide invaluable insights into factors such as:

  • Customer behavior
  • Foot traffic patterns
  • Sales trends
Knowing your store’s peak times, for instance, will help you tailor retail marketing initiatives.

With GIS you can track the effectiveness of your marketing efforts in real time. You will see which campaigns are driving the most visitors and which geographic areas have the most potential for growth.  

Once you have this data, you can fine-tune your strategies and allocate resources more effectively. You’ll be able to focus your marketing efforts on what truly brings customers through your doors.

Final Thoughts on Ways to Increase Foot Traffic

It is undeniable that a multi-faceted approach is key to increasing foot traffic. From the power of social media engagement and local SEO optimization to community involvement and customer reviews, the possibilities are manifold.

These strategies are all interconnected. They share the common goal of enticing customers into your store. By taking a comprehensive approach, you can drive more visitors through your doors and tailor your marketing initiatives with precision.

The result? A win-win scenario for your business and your customers.

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