Do you have a brick-and-mortar location? Then you know how important it is to get people into your shop. Without them, you might as well sell your products solely online – where you don’t have to worry about additional overhead costs like a lease, electricity, staffing, and more.
But then how will customers touch, use, and hold your products before buying? And how do you get the opportunity to answer questions and give suggestions about how your products can fit their unique situations? Where is the personal touch?
You can shop at home without having to schlep out to the store and, in many cases, your purchase arrives the next day. It’s also easier to compare prices with online retailers posting them right on their websites.
But if an in-person shop is your dream, don’t give up on it yet! Brick-and-mortar retailers are still a popular way to shop and can provide customers the personalized service that online retailers often cannot.
Brick & Mortar Is Still A Great Option
During the pandemic of the early 2020s, online shopping made a lot of headway. But now that the crisis has mostly passed, e-commerce has shifted from being the primary way to shop back to being just one part of a shopper’s overall experience.
Right now, the brick-and-mortar store accounts for about 70% of total retail sales and remains the primary point of purchase for consumers. With 56% of adults preferring to shop both online and in-store and 24% less likely to purchase online from a business that doesn’t also have a physical location, it’s clear that a brick-and-mortar is an important part of the shopping experience (source).
Plus, 76% of people prefer to shop at a physical store for holidays and gifts (source). And since brick-and-mortar stores generated over $6 trillion dollars in the US in 2022, it’s clear they’re not going away anytime soon! (source)
So with all that in mind, let’s look at ways to stand out and build foot traffic in your shop. It’s working for others and can work for you too!
The Experience of In-Person Shopping
The best part of going to a storefront is the activity of shopping. Consider what kind of experience customers have when they visit your shop.
People won’t come to your store just to make a purchase anymore. This is where the old model of retail fails. In this new day, people will come to you specifically because of how you treat them, how they feel when they’re in your shop based on its decor and overall vibe, and because they get to touch, feel, and even try out your product.
And surprise! They’ll also come to visit your shop to see YOU if, in the past, you’ve made them feel important and special. People crave significance and it’s hard to find these days. Do this for them and they’ll be back.
Make your shop somewhere people want to come back to again and again by offering samples, lighting candles, or melting wax for an amazing aroma and hiring helpful staff members with big, friendly personalities.
- Listen to Ep. 408 – Yes! You can be successful opening a retail shop today for more!
Go Above and Beyond
Your customers are multifaceted people with a wide variety of interests. Give them extra reasons to come into your store. This can relate directly to the products you sell or something else entirely.
Consider creating in-store events to attract customers to your shop. Event ideas for retail stores include:
- A yarn shop can host knitting circles
- A boutique could hold an apparel coordination fashion class
- A gift basket business can hold gift-wrapping classes.
Bringing groups of people together because they share a common interest is a great way to attract new customers and keep current ones coming back.
- A coffee shop could host a comedy night or a mahjong tournament.
- How about a women’s salon that offers massage and related services bringing in speakers to talk about other topics of interest in a woman’s overall life?
- Ideas for a mental health day, anger management, or holiday stress relief tactics are ideas that come to mind.
Anything that attracts people into your shop whether directly to buy or not will help increase awareness of your store and your foot traffic will increase. The trick is to keep it up. This is not a one-and-done strategy.
- Listen to Ep. 62: Crushing It As A Local Retainer for more!
Use Online Messaging
Even if your major focus is brick and mortar, you need to be online too. Although I recommend it, there are ways to do this without building your own website.
Grow your online presence by showing up on video through Facebook Lives and Instagram Stories. Ask your customers to post reviews on Yelp and Facebook. And make sure that you’re on Google My Business, which helps you to show up on local Google searches.
Not sure how to get started with all of this? Chances are your teenager or a younger employee can help you out!
Create a Community
In the age of digital … everything … people crave community. When you bring people together in your shop, they feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. Hire team members of different generations. Naturally, by word of mouth, this creates a wider range of customers comfortable when they come to your store.
Of course, you want employees to be the same profile as the customers who you attract. But if you think about this, I’m certain you’ll see areas where you can expand your audience through an enhanced hiring plan.
While it may be impossible to keep up with the reach available through Amazon and Etsy, don’t give in to the idea that your business can’t succeed in a retail shop. You don’t offer what they do, you offer something different.
It is possible to survive in the digital age — as long as you’re getting more foot traffic into your shop.
- Listen to Ep. 131 – Retail Survival Tips for more!
For more free business support consider listening to my podcast Gift Biz Unwrapped where I interview gifters-bakers-crafters-makers who share how they started and built their businesses.
Want to talk one-on-one? I’m only an email away. I’d love to hear about you, your business, and what you’re working on right now that’s helping create success in your life. Reach me at email@example.com.