Despite predictions that brick-and-mortar stores would be swallowed up by e-commerce, physical retail may be making a comeback. Amazon recently opened its second 4-star store in Colorado, proving that digital and in-store shopping can indeed coexist in the modern world.
While this trend is good news for traditional brick-and-mortar shops, these businesses will still have to plan a proper marketing strategy to increase foot traffic.
1. Build A Community
People will always be drawn to (and become loyal to) a tribe. People want to feel a part of something; especially when it comes to social media, they want to create an identity around the communities they belong to. Provide opportunities for customers to not only come together for shared experiences, but also to let others know about the experience on social media.
2. Aim To Serve Your Customers’ Immediate Needs
Increasing targeted foot traffic begins with understanding your customers’ immediate needs. Harvard Business School professor Clay Christensen often talks about innovation through the lens of helping your customers with their “jobs to be done.” Yes, physical retail can offer “an experience,” but such experiential tactics aren’t sustainable unless they’re rooted in solving real customer challenges.
3. Create Memorable Experiences
Consumers want to get off of their couch and go explore the world, but when it comes to retail, store experiences are often not worth leaving the house for, since we can find and purchase online so easily. In this digital generation, retailers need to create memorable interactive experiences that take people beyond shopping and make their store a destination in order to drive foot traffic.
4. Leverage Location Data
Location data can help you unlock powerful insights on how your target audience behaves before, during and after a visit to a retail location, as well as how your store’s performance compares to competitors. Additionally, by marrying these insights with data sources, such as transaction data, you can truly close the loop on the path to purchase—mapping areas of opportunity to drive business.
5. Make Your Store A ‘Brand Temple’
We’re headed into a world in which e-commerce captures a growing market share. Brick-and-mortar shops should become “brand temples,” strengthening the brand and enriching the customer experience, without much stock. A prime example is Apple stores, where the customer experiences and feels, then purchase online. The physical stores generate engagement, which is then translated to online purchases.
6. Treat Your Store As A Stage
The physical store doesn’t have to be endless rows of product. Physical retailers have the opportunity to provide customers something they cannot get online: unique experiences that extend beyond a screen. These experiences offer moments customers can share, talk about and feel connected by. Try treating the store as a stage for unique performance, instead of just another outlet for transactions.
7. Provide Value Beyond The Transaction
The true value-added reseller (VAR) does more than just sell a product. They provide value to the buyer before, during and after the sales process is over. They get to know what they’re selling, build a team to answer questions and provide support to the customer after the sale.
8. Host In-Store Events That Appeal To Your Key Demographics
At Adore Me, we’ve seen that physical stores give us an opportunity to really connect with customers and educate them about our brand and its values. Leveraging this opportunity and driving more foot traffic can be done by hosting in-store events for the specific demographics of the store location. Reach out to the local community ahead of the events through e-blasts and push-SMS.
9. Provide A Free Offer That Aligns With Your Brand
One of the best ways to attract new customers is to offer something enticing. This could be anything from a free cup of coffee (think Trader Joe’s or Sam’s Club) to a discount, to free Wi-Fi, to personalized customer service appointments. Think Nordstrom’s complimentary personal shopper service, which often results in at least one purchase. The offer should be aligned with your brand.
10. Merge Your Physical Presence With Digital Technology
Brick and mortars must be creative in attracting and retaining customers. One thing we are seeing in IT field services is the use of Internet of Things (IoT) to create a more personalized, frictionless and interactive customer experience. By using IoT-enabled devices (sensors, biometric data and smart shelves), retailers can merge their physical presence with the online world to create the ultimate shopping experience.
11. Implement A Word-of-Mouth Discount Offer
Give consumers discounts or free products for in-store social media check-ins that explain the offer. It’s essentially free marketing for you, and consumers’ followers will be swiping and seeing the discount offer, drawing more attention and foot traffic to your store. Whether it be 10% off a future purchase, a free tote bag or a sample of your newest product, this incentives consumers to visit your store.
12. Reach Consumers On Social First, Then Bring Them In
We’re seeing customers conduct product research online and then head to a physical store to purchase. As a brand, we have an opportunity to engage potential customers through social before, during and even after they buy our products. Whether that’s geotargeted ads or push notifications about sales, driving in-store sales through social is key.
13. Offer Free, Exclusive In-Store Services
Exclusive products or services is a great way to attract more foot traffic. Free tailoring for clothing stores, exclusive colors for clothing or accessories stores, limited-edition colors for cosmetics—these are all good ways to draw in traffic that may normally shop online.