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6 Proven Methods to Increase Foot Traffic in the Digital Age

iStock_000026089934_LargeRunning a brick and mortar business has never been trickier. The internet, while making shopping easier for millions, has generated less-than-straightforward selling opportunities for physical stores.

There are many examples. Amazon puts pressure on booksellers first, then music stores and other vendors. Specialty stores like RadioShack are now a thing of the past. And Netflix was the death knell of video rental giant Blockbuster. Even now, grocery and meal delivery services are making it more and more likely that restaurants will also begin to feel the pain of changing consumer behavior.

Despite these changes, people still need and use physical stores and restaurants. In fact, Amazon plans to open a brick and mortar store in Manhattan, suggesting that the global brand sees value in physical stores. Many still want to look and touch their items before purchasing.

So, while shopping has changed dramatically in the digital age, getting people in the door is still critical to a business’s success. While some tactics are time-tested, others are logical responses to digital competition. Whether you are working on getting your first customer or your 100,000th, here are some proven methods of driving foot traffic:

    1. Think smart ad placement. You finally have a perfectly crafted ad. It demonstrates your brand personality, grabs attention and, most importantly, it’s persuasive. But no one sees it. An ad is as good as where it is placed. No matter how spectacular, an ad can’t do its job if your audience doesn’t see it. The first step to drive foot traffic through advertising is identifying who your audience is and what they do. Once those two key pieces of information are known, then you can begin measuring the ad’s  effectiveness.
    2. Step out of the store.  To get people to come to you, sometimes you have to go to them. Think about putting up a stand or passing out samples in dense public areas where your market likely congregates. If you run a restaurant, consider having  a booth at local food festivals or farmers’  markets to give them a taste of what you offer. Face  time with potential customers is a great way to build relationships.
    3. Look good. According to the marketing website  MarketingProf, businesses that show strong attention to packaging report a 30% increase in consumer interest. That’s because impressions are formed quickly — usually in seven seconds or less. Since purchasing decisions are based on emotions, this means businesses only have seven seconds to make an emotional appeal to their customers.
    4. Host events. Hosting free events is a great way to draw in new crowds and cater to old ones. Whether it’s a ceramic class in your glass studio or a book signing at your book store, events give people an excuse to visit. And they are great PR. Regularly hosting interesting  events that appeal to your target market creates buzz and boosts loyalty.
    5. Focus on your USP. Your unique selling proposition (USP) is an offering or feature that no other business can boast. Most products and services are variations of the same. Rarely does a company ever come up with something no one has ever heard of. To stand out, focus on the one variation that makes what you are selling unique. Maybe yours is the 100th burger joint in town, but it’s the only one that sells curly fries. Focus on the fries. If you can’t think of what makes your business unique, think of something you can do differently to stand out.

 

  • Start a points program. Oftentimes businesses focus so much on gaining new customers that they ignore their old ones. This is a huge mistake.  In his book The Loyalty Effect Frederick Reichheld, director of the strategy firm Bain & Co., shows how increasing loyalty by just 5% of a store’s customers can increase profits by 25% to 100%. Points programs help build loyalty by rewarding people for their continued business.
  • Leverage your digital presence. Be sure your hours of operation and location are easy to find on the internet. Current  and correct information help customers find their way to your location by easily using their smart phones’  navigation apps.  Also, making good use of opinion sites where customers leave reviews, like Google Plus or Yelp, can be very helpful in driving traffic. For many people, if a business doesn’t exist on the internet, it doesn’t exist at all.

 

The internet has totally changed the way we do business. Competing against a global market makes it especially difficult to get more people in front of your register. But by using these methods and remembering the fundamentals, your brick and mortar store will draw in plenty of foot traffic to stomp out the competition.

Learn more about Clover and how technology can drive your business: clover.syncpayments.com

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