9 Ways For Retailers to Attract New Customers

Retail-min.png

While we all understand the importance of having a strong e-commerce presence. There is no better way to give customers a truly personal and amazing experience than by focusing on the brick-and-mortar. Though the real world offers more variables than online, it gives you more insight into the thoughts, emotions and physical experience of your customers. The thing that makes it hard for many owners to focus on in-store improvements is data—how do you measure foot traffic, sales, customer experience, etc.

With SEO, social media marketing, and many other technological advantages, it's sometimes easier to get users to go to your online store than in person. We know this is a big struggle for many business owners, but we’re going to show you a few ways you can get new customers in the door, and create a memorable experience that keeps them coming back.

 

Prequel

Here are a couple of things to know before you get started. Before you start making changes you need to have a strong idea of who exactly your customer is and the target audience you’re looking to bring in the door.

Here are a few strategies, changes, and methods you can use to get new customers through the door. Note: not all of these will work for every business or every type of customer.

 

The In-Store Experience

It says to customers that you care about them, their comfort, and well-being. Provide them with something they need or that can make their shopping experience better, even if it may not be related to shopping on the surface.

Public Wi-Fi

This goes for just about every business nowadays. With the rising costs of data and the almost obsessive connection with have with our phones, it’s a great advantage for customers to be able to save some dough by jumping on the public wifi. Also if you use a password protected wi-fi make it simple or have it posted in the store, no one wants to come up to the counter to ask for the password. You can use…

Fun Fact: 62% of businesses reported that customers spend more time in-store after they introduced free Wi-Fi.

Seating

We’ve all been on one of those shopping sprees with our mom—who is practically a machine that never needs to rest. As for the rest of us humans, sometimes you just need a break (especially in the Texas summer). Give your customers a place to sit, a couch, a bench, a stump—most anything will do. Let the person holding 12 bags take a break while his significant other continues to shop. (This is also a tie into that whole public wi-fi thing)

Entertainment

Entertainment copy-min.png

Continuing with the previous two improvements. If you can provide entertainment that is beneficial to your brand and welcomes customers go for it. Televisions can help customers distract and relax, If you sell sporting goods, cast ESPN or you own a plant shop maybe play some HGTV—we all love Fixer Upper.

 

This can also mean providing refreshments like coffee, water, or agua fresca. Little City Roasters here in Austin provides kegged cold brew that your employees and customers will love. If you have an older audience you can provide wine or beer like many art galleries and nail salons. Plus everyone gets a little spendy after they’ve taken off the edge.

Be sure to acknowledge your local laws about serving or providing alcohol to customers.

 

People Love Their Pets

If your shop (or you) can accommodate pets do it. Much like people with kids, people with pets spend more money. The main difference is kids are allowed in a lot more places than pets, but pet parents don’t see them any different. It doesn’t take much to make your shop pet-friendly. Add some water bowls, offer treats, and if people want to leave their pet outside, make sure there is a place to tie them up. Also, it’s best to make sure you have some cleaning supplies in case there are any ‘accidents’. Accepting pets goes a long way to building customer loyalty, and it’s a plus that you can put on Google Business or Yelp.

Check in with your local health and safety boards to make sure you’re not breaking any rules.

 

Events

There is no better way to get new customers than hosting a special event for people to come and get an exciting, tailored experience with your brand.

Workshops

You’re a pro at what you do, whether it’s making the product, or finding great local products, you can work with your customers to teach them the things that you know. If you sell candles or stationary items, run a workshop every once in a while after your business is closed to teach people caligraphy or candle making. If you just curate these items connect with people in the community whose products you sell to lead the workshop and make it a partnership.

Local Partnerships

There are a lot of great ways to work with other businesses and non-profits in your community. One great way is to have a celebration that caters to a couple of your target customers interests. Create a partnership with another local business, for instance, if you own a boutique clothing store partner with a local boutique jewelry store since a lot of the time those two go hand-in-hand. Another way to go is to partner with a seemingly unrelated business that your audience shares a common interest.

Go out, instead of hosting the event at your place of business, go to the partners business, or even rent a small pop-up space.

Make it an EVENT this is an opportunity to show people that your business is fun and exciting. And when they think about going somewhere next week, your business is the first place they think of.

Giving Back to the Community

In addition to hosting partnership events with other businesses, you can attract a lot of people who want to do good and make a positive impact by working with local non-profits and charities. Have a local pet charity there and donate a portion of proceeds. Puppies and kittens are pretty hard to resist.

You can also give back outside of your business, host a ‘Keep Austin Beautiful’ clean up or assist with a clothing drive. Everyone enjoys the feeling of giving back, but no generation puts more emphasis on it than the younger millennials and for many of you this is your target customer, so go out there, give back and get more customers to associate your business not only with great products but good hearts.

 

Loyalty Cards

Loyalty cards have been around for a long time, but that’s because they work. They aren’t the best option for every business, but for many, they truly do create loyalty. Thankfully with many new technologies the idea of a loyalty card has evolved and is much easier, and with social media, it isn’t just for the customer, but many of their friends and followers can get exposed to your business through them.

You can encourage check-in’s and reward customers with a discount or a freebie for sharing your business on FacebookSwarmFoursquare and many more. By taking advantage of the Check-in system you encourage customers to come into your store versus only going online.

Make sure you set up a Foursquare, Swarm, or Facebook page for customers to check-in to.

If you go the route of using an actual loyalty card, companies like Belly and Fivestars have removed the physical card, and instead, use their phone number to keep users coming back at checkout. If you use a Square POS you can set this up in the system and it’s a very simple way to integrate it into your shop.

 

Good Photography

This has to be one of the biggest things online that will bring in customers. Today almost every person has seen or looked up your store before they visited and if you rely solely on photos others have posted on Yelp or Google, you could be in big trouble. Most people aren’t good photographers, and even with the advancements in smartphone cameras, there is no substitute for high-quality photos from a professional. These will be the face of your business online so make them good.

We’d love to hear what you’re doing to bring in new customers.

Stephen Perkins