Increased competition and the growing popularity of online shopping make it a necessity for retailers to take deliberate steps to increase foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores. Rather than keeping digital channels separate from the physical world, use all channels — online, social, and mobile messaging — to drive traffic to stores. Here are four ways to get the job done.
1. Urgent offers with strategic messaging
Create a sense of urgency for consumers by holding one-day sales or promoting special in-store offers with an expiration date. Using certain words to publicize these offers can make them more compelling and appealing to specific customers, kicking the amount of foot traffic up a notch. For example, the words “local,” “locally sourced,” “organic,” or “fair trade” may resonate with environmentally conscious consumers.
2. Exclusive in-store promotions
Foot traffic to any store is bound to pick up if customers can’t take advantage of a promotion without going there in person. This is only limited by your creativity. For example, consider GameStop’s Pokémon Go! promotion last year. In an effort to bring in shoppers, GameStop made rare Pokémon available for “capture” in their stores increasing the flow of foot traffic.
3. Cross-channel offers such as buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS)
Many customers like the BOPIS option because it lets them have an item waiting for them when they arrive at the store, and they save on shipping costs. BOPIS is not only a convenience for customers; it is also a way to get people into physical stores. As an added bonus, BOPIS can increase in-store sales because once consumers are on the premises, they often do some extra shopping.
4. User-generated content (UGC)
Consumers who are unfamiliar with your store may turn to user-generated content online, such as reviews, testimonials and social media content to see what other shoppers have to say about your business when deciding whether to shop there. Encouraging satisfied customers to post reviews can boost foot traffic. Positive UGC may be the nudge new shoppers need to head to your store.
Your Point of Sale (POS) system can be instrumental in managing and assessing the effectiveness of initiatives designed to increase foot traffic. Use it to:
Leverage data in the system to personalize promotional campaigns based on customers’ buying histories, so they aren’t just urgent, they’re also relevant. Your POS system can also help to measure the effectiveness of these campaigns.
Your POS system’s inventory management component can keep your e-commerce site updated with accurate availability information. It can also communicate to in-store staff that a customer is on their way to pick up an order, creating an efficient and positive customer experience.
With information from your customer database and histories, you can identify your best customers, who are most likely to offer the most effective UGC. You can also use your system to send requests for online reviews and even offer a special promotion or loyalty reward points for people who participate.
Steady foot traffic can make a difference between positioning your store for growth and stagnant sales. Evaluate how all of your business’ resources — on all channels — can help to bring people into physical stores and provide them with the caliber of shopping experiences that keeps them coming back.