Are You Getting Your Fair Share of Foot Traffic?

Written by Chad Fischer

May 6, 2020

I have had the great opportunity to work with many retailers over the years, and I always like to ask them all the same question: What’s the one thing you want to know more about that could help increase your business? The answers I receive vary, but one of the more popular responses has to be, “How do I get more traffic?  

Increasing foot traffic starts with maximizing every opportunity — from your website to the front door. According to Michael Kirby, director of instore experience at Tempur Sealy International, the keys to winning in 2020 will be culture, in-store experience, driving traffic, maximizing ticket and long-term financing. He also states that retail will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50 years. The coming change is not driven solely by economic, product or industry trends. Rather, it’s being shaped by the behaviors, needs and demands of shoppers.  

Let’s not forget that the shopper today is tech dependent and mobile savvy. While 85% of U.S. retail sales still take place in physical stores, 53% of all purchasing decisions are now “digitally influenced. With that in mind, retailers need to ask themselves one incredibly important question: How does your website look? Is it informative and does it show pricing, sizes and models? I have had mixed reviews from retailers who question if they should put prices on their websites. I think it’s important to mirror your website to your store, and in doing so you should have prices online. Customers don’t want to take that extra step of having to call your store for pricing. Keep the process simple and streamline the shopping experience for them. 

Customers need to be able to navigate and compare products as if they were in your showroom. Will your customers feel comfortable navigating their way through your website as they would your store? Is your website e-commerce friendly? Can your customers apply for financing online? I ask these questions because it’s important to note that everything you do and offer in your store has to be duplicated on your website. Your website is most likely going to be the first interaction you have with a potential customer, and it needs to provide that “wow” moment and convince them to come to your store.  

In the past, it was simple. You didn’t have to worry about being shopped online as that option didn’t really exist. You would place traditional print ads and shoppers would come into your store after seeing your ads in the Sunday paper. That strategy is certainly still being used and is even effective in some markets. But digital media consumption continues to grow and now even exceeds traditional ads as far as their reach and impact. The average shopper is exposed to around 5,000 ads per day. The average person scrolls through 300 feet of Facebook content daily — that’s the height of the Statue of Liberty! 

So how can you adjust your advertising strategy in order to thrive and capture more foot traffic? It starts with getting it right.  

  1. Right media 
  2. Right time 
  3. Right message 

It’s important for you to buy the right AdWords so that your business shows up in your customers’ Google search results. According to Google, there has been a 500% growth in near me mobile searches that contain a variant of “buy” over the last two years. Retargeting campaigns are a must as well so that you don’t waste the interest that you have already created. Stay top of mind with your customers by having your ads follow them around their internet browsing experience so you stay top-of-mind. And continue to leverage print if it’s working for you, particularly during high awareness events and over the major holidays.  

Additionally, discussing long term financing drives traffic and converts shoppers to buyers. When financing options are explained at the outset it makes it easier to use them as a closing tool. It moves the focus off the sticker price towards a more affordable price and better product. According to Synchrony, 87% of cardholders feel promotional financing makes their large purchases more affordable, and 41% said that financing allowed them to purchase higher quality products. 

No matter the strategy that you use, you must always provide value to your customer and give them a reason to buy from you. This starts at your website and continues when they walk into your store. 

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