9 Ways To Bring More Traffic Into Your Retail Store This Fall
‘Tis the season for increased customer demand. Retail stores average about 19% of their yearly sales in November and December alone. You definitely don’t want to miss out on your cut of those sales, especially to online retailers. So now is the time to make sure you’re doing everything you can to maximize the foot traffic in your store.
What is foot traffic in retail?
Foot traffic in retail is the term used to measure how many customers come into your store on any given day. It’s important to keep track of because more foot traffic usually translates into higher sales. “Usually” is the key term here, because that’s not always the case. Just because you can get people into your store, doesn’t always mean they’ll buy something. You still have to offer a competitive product selection and have the customer service to support it.
Why does tracking and understanding foot traffic matter for your retail store?
Everything in your store revolves around foot traffic. From how much merchandise to keep stocked, to how many people you have on staff, and even how much and what type of marketing you want to do. It all comes back to how many people are in your store, so tracking that information is the foundation of your business practices. When you know how much foot traffic to expect, you can make sure your operations processes are on track to make the most of customer traffic. You’ll be able to:
- Improve marketing by knowing which products and services to highlight. You can test out different features and measure the amount of foot traffic to see what’s most effective.
- Improve business operations with more data. You might be able to save money on payroll if you notice you have no foot traffic at opening or closing, and move your operating hours accordingly.
- Improve your staffing plans with data from a scheduling tool like When I Work. You’ll be able to predict foot traffic and be able to update your schedule accordingly, making sure you’re not over or understaffed.
Once you have a baseline of how much foot traffic your retail store sees on any given day, here are some ways to increase that traffic and make the most of the holiday shopping season…
1. Host a workshop or seminar
Nothing screams “fall” like hosting a pumpkin bread cooking session using your store’s cookware, or a seminar hosted by the author of your bookstore’s latest fall read.
Be sure to advertise well in advance in your store as well as through your email list and social media channels and ask for feedback or recommendations about which questions customers would like answered or types of workshops they would be interested in for the future.
Offering a weekly, or monthly, workshop or seminar throughout the fall season, especially ones your customers suggest, will be sure to create interest. Give customers a reason to come to your store and make sure everything is stocked and displayed attractively so they will stay and browse.
2. Hold a promotional event
Hold a fall fashion show to showcase your latest fall items, or plan a leaf-raking contest around your hardware store using your promotional rakes.
Fall is the kickoff of the holiday season, so people are eager to get into it. Advertise your event loud and proud and get people to associate your retail store with a fun time so they will be excited to come back for more.
Don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions for future events or to collaborate with other businesses to make your event larger and more exciting.
3. Create a seasonal window display
Put your seasonal products front and center and don’t be afraid to dress them up with some seasonal gourds or spooky spider webs. Attractive storefront signage can draw-in any foot traffic passing nearby your store and attract them with promotions, store events, details about your store, and more.
An attractive window display will draw intrigue to your store and assure potential customers that your products apply to their seasonal needs. If your storefront is not within prime view of foot traffic, consider posting a sign or banner to point potential customers in the right direction.
4. Consider supporting a seasonal good cause
October is breast cancer awareness month and November is a great time to pair the giving spirit with the thanksgiving spirit.
Consider giving a portion of your proceeds to a seasonal cause, charity, or homeless shelter. And don’t forget to advertise that you’re doing it!
People are more likely to spend their money on a product that goes toward a good cause, so make sure this information is displayed in your windows and near the checkout.
5. Never underestimate the power of a good sale
People love the idea of saving money (even if sales tend to make them spend more), and the good news for you is that the season change is the perfect time to hold a sale for items going out of season or a promotional sale to get customers to buy incoming seasonal items early.
Email coupons and post promotional codes on social media. Make sure you post sale information in your windows and around your store. If your business does not normally have “seasonal” items, consider ordering a small, inexpensive item to create seasonal intrigue (seasonal window-cling decorations, scented candles, or spiced tea sets) and create your seasonal sale by including this item with any purchase of x-amount or more.
6. Get involved in neighborhood events
Is your neighborhood providing a trick-or-treating experience for children or a block party for adults?
Figure out how to become involved and generate interest in your store. If there aren’t any planned events in your area, consider collaborating with neighboring stores to make it happen.
Many cities or neighborhoods are unsafe for traditional trick-or-treating, so collaborating with other businesses to create a safe childhood experience is an almost guaranteed way to bring in foot traffic and expose your business to new potential customers.
7. Engage your social media followers
You do have social media accounts for your business, right?
Good! Show your followers some love by offering them special coupon codes and discounts. You know they already “like” you, so get them into your store!
Add photos of your seasonal displays to show that you are also in the fall spirit, and don’t be afraid to dress up your website as well.
8. Have a mobile-friendly web presence
Optimizing your web presence feels like the opposite way to increase foot traffic, but it pays when you’re making those changes to make your site more mobile-friendly. Shoppers will search for places that have the product selection they’re looking for, so make it easy for them to find you. 88% of people who do local business searches on their phone will call or visit that store within a day—and that means more foot traffic. So how do you optimize for mobile? Invest some time or money into local SEO to come up first in “near me” searches in your area.
9. Give people a reason to hang around
Play inviting music and offer them a free cup of cocoa or cider to sip while they browse.
As the weather gets colder, your customers will be looking for an excuse to stay inside warm stores so let them indulge in your heat and create an easy browsing experience for them so they will feel encouraged to buy.
Use When I Work to easily schedule your retail staff in relation to seasonal demand
Making sure you have the right amount of employees in your store for the foot traffic you expect is key to taking advantage of this holiday season. Too many workers and you take the hit to your bottom line. Too few workers and both employees and customers are stressed—which makes for less than optimal customer service. Use When I Work to quickly adjust your schedule based on the foot traffic you’re seeing every day and make the most of customer demand so this can be your best retail holiday season yet!