The one thing that today's customers have in abundance is choice. Every road they walk down and every neighborhood they enter is filled with shops and stalls of all kinds, selling everything from bassinets to baguettes.
Moreover, with the universality and convenience of online shopping, customers don't even need to visit shops to get what they want. So how do you as a store owner increase footfall to your shop – especially when you're located in a mall where you are literally sandwiched by competition?
While factors like customer loyalty count for a lot, there are several things you can do to attract the mall-going population into your store. Read on to know about some actionable tips for increasing footfall today.
Create an attractive storefront
You might have the finest selection of goods in the entire district, but it won't count for anything unless customers actually enter your store to look at them. Entice them in with an appealing storefront that stands out from all the other shops on your floor. Arrange your most popular products in the shop window, add some artificial outdoor tropical plants for that extra touch of class and make sure your store sign is prominently visible. If your storefront is the one thing that strikes the eye as a customer goes up the escalator, she's bound to step in for a closer look.
Design an overall experience
So your customer has noticed your attractive shop front and decided to walk in. The first thing that hits her eyes is rows and rows of dull shelves with your products stacked anyhow. Not particularly appealing, is it? Your shop interiors should be an experience of their own, one that invites the customer to browse as long as they like. Try using décor that fits a color theme reflective of what you sell. A floral theme, for instance, would go great with bath and body products – use colors like pink and peach and add some artificial indoor plants and trees to create that garden-like feel. Your customer will automatically be disposed to linger – and will likely walk away with a purchase.
Ensure your staff members are engaged
Whether you have one salesperson or ten, it's crucial that each of them is enthusiastic about what they are doing. Give them adequate training in sales practices and make them part of the overall experience you offer. For instance, why not make all your sales staff wear matching high-quality silk flowers as brooches? You can design attractive incentive systems too, with rewards for pleasant behavior and persuasive conversation in addition to sales conversions. If your employees feel like they belong, they'll be keen to share your store's narrative with whoever walks in. And that interaction could be what impels your walk-in customer to put down their money for you.
Design seasonal promotions
Has summer arrived? Is Christmas around the corner? Add celebratory touches to your store décor that bring customers in for a closer look. During Christmas, for instance, you can add a festive touch by putting up a large artificial tree indoors with bells, baubles and all the rest. You can also offer special Christmas discounts and free gifts with every purchase. For celebrating the summer holidays, there's nothing like a beach theme with bright colors, beach balls and promotional discounts on holiday items like sunglasses, suitcases or bathing suits. Get as creative as you can – your customers will appreciate it!
Make use of local marketing
The people in your immediate vicinity can be your biggest asset. Create special promotional materials just for them and give them good reasons to trust and like your business. For instance, you can buy silk rosebuds or other artificial flowers wholesale from a local supplier and use them as the brooches for your salespeople. Or you can add a table where your local roastery can display their coffee blends. You'll be supporting a local business and gaining the loyalty and goodwill of your fellow shop owners – and customers who buy from those stores or are looking for a new type of coffee will now have a reason to come and look at your store too.
Treat your existing customers with special care
In the process of designing sales tactics for getting new buyers, don't forget about those who are already buying from you. Give them reasons to keep coming back to you – follow up with them regularly on text or email, offer them loyalty discounts and share free samples of new products with them. Remember that word-of-mouth counts for a lot – and the customers you treat well today could bring their friends to your store tomorrow!
In a digital world, artificial intelligence is your best friend when it comes to getting real-time insights on what your customers want. Use an AI-powered chatbot to talk to your buyers – not only can it quickly resolve common queries and complaints, but it can also learn customer behaviors and make tailored recommendations based on their past purchases or queries. At the same time, the customer data you gather can help you plan long-term strategies for your business and also make relevant changes to your product line and store layout as needed.
Use attractive packaging
With plastic bags getting phased out, there's even more scope for shop owners to get creative with their packaging. Use recycled paper for an interesting touch – it comes in many colors and is environment-friendly too. Add extra decorations, such as ribbons or silk flowers, and use colorful tulle instead of newspaper for wrapping and stuffing. Your buyer will enjoy undoing the package when she gets home, and may even save the wrapping materials for her own use. And she will certainly remember the store that took so much care to make her shopping experience special.
Building footfall is undoubtedly a challenge, and not something that will happen overnight. In a world where everyone is bombarded with choices, any individual store will have a tough time getting more than cursory attention. Great customer experience, however, has no substitute. And by following the tips outlined above and creating a unique store experience that your customers can't help but love, you will definitely get more people to come in every time they visit the mall.