Every person who comes into your shop has the potential to make or break your business.
Your next customer could make a major purchase that helps you cover your expenses for the month, or that customer could walk by and make that same purchase with your direct competitor.
How can you ensure that you get consumers to walk into your store? It might take a little creativity — along with some hard work — but the results could be spectacular.
Try Digital Options
Typically, we think of digital solutions as the enemy of brick-and-mortar retail. After all, people who are shopping online aren't people who walk into your store. But tapping into the power of digital solutions could help you pull more people in.
Consider push notifications. These messages come from you and go directly to a consumer's cellphone.
You could use those messages to explain a big sale you're holding, or you could talk about why a visit right now would be a good idea. Adweek reports that the majority of global cellphone users have enabled push notifications on their devices. And some savvy companies are personalizing the messages they send, which helps consumers to feel both seen and appreciated.
You can also work with geo-fencing companies and push specific messages to consumers when they're standing close to the entrance of your store. These are messages that are tagged by location, so consumers will only see them when they have the potential to become walk-in customers. While some consumers might find these messages a little intrusive, others might discover you through their savvy use.
Focus on Service
When consumers come into your store, they could engage with employees who are:
- Stocking shelves.
- Marking prices.
- Running cash registers.
All of these employees have important tasks, but they should remember to talk with your customers as well. They're part of the overall shopping experience you offer within your store.
Customer service really matters, say the experts at LMP Insider. When you have a fully staffed shop, you can give your customers the speedy experience they're hoping for. When you don't, you can tempt your customers to bash you on social media. That could keep even more customers from walking through your doors.
Nurture True Believers
If your store offers consumers the option to buy a product online and pick it up in the store, you have a golden opportunity. According to research published in Management Science, consumers who have a good experience in your store can be converted from online shoppers to real-life browsers. It depends on how quickly, and how well, you serve them when they complete that first pickup.
Sharing inventory information is crucial, the researchers say, as it allows consumers to come to your store to pick up purchases without being disappointed when they arrive. Do that well and those consumers will spend more when they walk through the door, and they will be encouraged to come back again.
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Think Like a Customer
It's easy to sit in your office and fret about how many people are (or are not) coming through your doors. But walking outside of those doors can give you a good perspective on what you're doing right and what you should change.
Experts writing for the U.S. Small Business Administration recommend assessing your window display and your signage. Do those key elements appeal to the type of consumer you're trying to attract? Then, sit close to your window and watch the people who come close to your door. What are they looking at? What seems to attract them? Do they want to stop?
Look for ways to bring the experience you offer inside your store to the people walking by. Consider music.
If you're playing a soundtrack that's closely associated with the products you sell and it seems to describe your brand perfectly, pipe it outside of your door.
Research published in the Asian Journal of Business and Management Sciences suggests that happy music consumers know well is associated with the best success in a retail environment. This is the music people tend to hum along with, and just hearing the notes makes them feel better about themselves and the world. Playing this music inside your store could entice your customers to pay a little more. Playing this music outside of your store could encourage people to walk in.
In addition to the music you play, the lighting in your shop and the scents in the air could influence your customers. Research in the Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal suggests that even subtle sensory experiences could have a profound influence on how consumers feel as they shop. And those influences could entice your customers to pay more or to walk out without paying for anything at all.
Let Us Help You
We know that music can be a vital element for a successful business. We also know that small businesses like yours can be at risk if you play music without a proper license to do so. Companies like BMI and ASCAP will send letters reminding you of the fees you owe, and they will take you to court if you ignore them. These companies have a legal right to ask you to pay them for the music you're playing. It is your responsibility to make sure you're in compliance with the law.
We can help. We've negotiated contracts with the copyright holders, and we can offer you robust playlists so you can play what you'd like to play. Just contact us and we'll get started.
- 5 Ways Retailers are Optimizing Foot Traffic Using Smartphones. (April 2018). AdWeek.
- Do Retailers Need to Increase Foot Traffic? (April 2018). LPM Insider.
- Integration of Online and Offline Channels in Retail: The Impact of Sharing Reliable Inventory Availability Information. (April 2014). Management Science.
- Impact of Music on Consumer Behavior: A Perspective on Retail Atmospheric. (June 2014). Asian Journal of Business and Management Sciences.
- The Sensory Retail Environment of Small Fashion Boutiques. (2012). Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal.