25 Ways to Increase Foot Traffic to Your Retail Store
As a retail store owner, getting customers through your doors is essential. Without foot traffic, you don't have a business. But in today's world of online shopping and big box stores, driving foot traffic to an individual retail location can be a significant challenge.
This comprehensive guide will explore 25 proven ways to get more foot traffic into your retail store. With the right strategies and clever marketing tactics, you can attract new customers, bring back repeat business, and significantly boost your in-store sales.
Why Foot Traffic Matters
Before we dive into how to drive more of it, let's look at why retail foot traffic is so vitally important for your business:
- It leads directly to sales. More people in your store gives you more opportunities to make sales. Every person that walks in could become a paying customer.
- It builds awareness. Increased foot traffic gets your store noticed and helps spread awareness about your business.
- It creates opportunities. More foot traffic allows you to engage with customers, answer their questions, get feedback, promote products, and upsell items.
- It drives repeat business. Satisfied customers who have a great in-store experience are likely to come back again in the future.
- It improves the conversion rate. The more people who walk into your store, the higher percentage will buy something.
- It makes you more money. More foot traffic equals more revenue for your business. Getting people through the doors is the first step toward getting them to spend money.
So, if you want to increase sales, boost awareness, improve engagement, and make more money, driving up foot traffic needs to be a priority. Let's look at proven ways to make that happen.
25 Ways to Increase Foot Traffic to Your Retail Store
Here are 25 innovative, practical strategies you can use to get more people walking into your retail store consistently:
1 – Choose the Right Location
One of the most significant factors regarding retail foot traffic is location. Being in an area with heavy foot traffic patterns will expose your store to more potential customers. Consider proximity to:
- Highly populated neighbourhoods
- Public transportation hubs
- Major highways, intersections, and commuting routes
- Other popular retail stores and shopping/entertainment districts
- Parks, sports arenas, and event centres
- Hotels, office buildings, hospitals, and universities
Secure a spot right in the heart of an area with consistent pedestrian activity. The location has a massive impact on foot traffic potential.
2 – Create an Eye-Catching Storefront
Your storefront is your billboard – it needs to grab people's attention as they walk by. Look at signage, window displays, entrance appearance, and lighting to put your best face forward. A creative, engaging storefront sparks interest and curiosity to draw more people inside.
3 – Monitor Foot Traffic Patterns
Pay attention to the ebb and flow of foot traffic around your location. When are peak times? What causes sudden surges or lulls? Understanding the patterns allows you to staff appropriately and maximise exposure during high-traffic times. Consider monitoring both day-of-week and time-of-day trends.
4 – Extend Your Hours
Being open when people are out and about gives you more opportunities to engage potential customers. Extending your hours into evenings or weekends when more people are likely to shop in your area can boost traffic. Just be sure to analyse the sales data to optimise times – more hours won't help if no one is coming in.
5 – Offer Services or Classes
Give people more reasons to visit your store by offering value-added services. These could include delivery, installation, repair services, demonstrations, classes, or workshops. Services drive repeat traffic and position your store as providing more than just products.
6 – Host In-Store Events
In-store events are a proven way to get more people through your doors. Ideas include:
- New product launches/previews
- Trunk shows
- Craft workshops or DIY demos
- Wine/food tastings
- Pop-up shops with other local vendors
- Anniversary or holiday sales events
- Celebrity or influencer appearances
- Book signings with authors
- Expert speaker talks or Q&As
Promote your events online and through local media to drive traffic. Events create urgency and excitement.
7 – Join Forces with Nearby Businesses
Partner with neighbouring businesses on joint promotions or events. This could be as simple as distributing coupons or flyers cross-promoting each other. Or team up on more significant events that draw crowds from multiple destinations. When stores work together, you amplify foot traffic for the whole area.
8 – Get Listed on Local Business Directories
Register your business on directories like Google My Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and industry-specific sites related to your store. Complete your profiles fully with helpful information. Positive listings raise visibility and drive website traffic and phone inquiries that lead to store visits.
9 – Offer Local Coupons or Discounts
Coupons entice people to visit your store and buy something to get a deal. You can distribute printed coupons locally or run digital promotions through sites like Groupon. Consider offering first-time customer discounts or seasonal promotions as well. Coupons incentivise traffic.
10 – Reward Check-Ins on Social Media
Encourage social media check-ins when customers visit your store by offering a small reward, like a percentage off or a gift. Set up a tablet in your store to make it easier to check-in. Social media check-ins expose your store to the friends and followers of anyone who checks in.
11 – Start a Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs reward repeat visits and encourage customers to return to earn points, get discounts, and qualify for special perks. Popular options include punch cards, stamp cards, or apps with digital loyalty tracking. Loyalty programs drive consistent foot traffic.
12 – Collect Emails and Opt-ins
Ask customers for their email addresses and permission to contact them about products and promotions. You can offer a small immediate discount in exchange for signing up. Send occasional email newsletters with store updates, coupons, and notices about upcoming events. Email nurtures relationships and turns visitors into regulars.
13 – Re-Target Online Visitors
Use tracking pixels like Facebook Pixel or Google Analytics to identify website visitors and re-target them through online ads. This reminds people who have already shown interest in your brand to come into the physical store and shop. Pull web traffic into foot traffic.
14 – Participate In Local Community Events
Look for opportunities to participate in community events like festivals, street fairs, markets, etc. Set up a booth, have staff attend to engage with attendees, distribute coupons – and get involved in events that already draw crowds. Being present exposes new audiences to your brand and store.
15 – Sponsor Local Teams or Organisations
Sponsor a local youth sports team, charity event, or community organisation. Add your logo and store info to uniforms, event banners, or other promotional materials. Supporting local groups engages families and residents to earn community goodwill, trust, and store awareness.
16 – Partner with Complementary Businesses
Partner with businesses that share your customer demographic but don't directly compete. For example, a clothing boutique could partner with a flower shop. Cross-promote each other's stores and run joint contests or promotions to share audiences. Strategic partnerships expand your reach.
17 – Distribute Flyers, Menus, or Postcards Locally
Print flyers, menus, or postcards with store info, products, coupons, or event dates. Hand them out from your cash register. Seek permission to display materials at nearby businesses, local hotels, etc. Simple materials distributed locally spark interest.
18 – Network at Local Community Events
Have store staff or the owner attend and network at local business events, fundraisers, chamber meetings, etc. Get to know residents and business owners. Share news about your store and any upcoming events or offers. Face-to-face networking builds local relationships.
19 – Announce Grand Openings or Milestones
Publicise and promote store milestones like a grand opening, anniversary celebration, or renovation. Pitch the story to local media outlets. Go all out for the event with promotions, giveaways, refreshments, entertainment, and special activities. Major events drive big turnouts and introduce newcomers.
20 – Advertise Onsite With Sign Spinners or Human Billboards
Hire energetic sign spinners or human billboards to hold signs advertising your store or current promotions at busy nearby intersections or public places. The human element captures attention better than stationary signs. Assign brand ambassadors to drive traffic.
21 – Advertise on Local Radio or Cable TV
Run short radio spot ads on local stations or buy commercial airtime on local cable TV channels. Keep ads focused on limited-time offers, new products, or special events to motivate you to visit now. Local broadcast ads reach large audiences.
22 – Advertise in Local Newspapers and Magazines
Place print ads in local newspapers, weekly shopper publications, lifestyle magazines, local business journals, or city guides targeted to area residents. Like broadcast ads, focus on time-sensitive offers and events. Local print ads still drive web searches and foot traffic.
23 – Use Geofencing Mobile Advertising
Geofencing allows you to send ads directly to mobile devices entering or near your store's location. It ensures your ads are hyper-targeted to people nearby who could visit. While expensive, geofencing yields high-quality foot traffic.
24 – Refresh Window Displays Frequently
Keep your window displays fresh by changing them every two to four weeks. Stale displays get overlooked while new, exciting ones capture attention. Promote seasonal products or themes. Use lighting and mannequins to create eye-catching scenes. Displays inherently attract eyeballs.
25 – Stay Active on Social Media
Post updates, photos, event announcements, new product previews, special offers, and other store content frequently on social media channels. Give people a constant stream of reasons to engage. Utilise hashtags related to your city or neighbourhood to reach more locals. Social media engages and reminds us.
Execute a Balanced Foot Traffic Strategy
Attracting more foot traffic takes a strategic combination of location optimisation, in-store experiences, online visibility, community engagement, promotions, and advertising. Don't rely too heavily on just one tactic. Execute an integrated ongoing strategy across multiple channels for the best results.
Test ideas and track results to determine what works best for your store. Pay attention to what garners the most engagement and conversions. Then, double down on those high-impact initiatives.
With a balanced, multi-prong strategy focused on driving more quality foot traffic, you can dramatically increase the number of potential customers who walk through your doors and grow your retail business.
Frequently Asked Questions About Increasing Retail Store Foot Traffic
What are the biggest drivers of foot traffic for local retail stores?
Local retail stores' biggest foot traffic drivers typically include location, eye-catching storefronts, promotions and sales events, search and online visibility, partnerships with other local businesses, community networking and involvement, and geo-targeted advertising.
How can I determine the best days/hours to be open based on foot traffic patterns?
Analyse foot traffic at various times over an extended period. Pay attention to daily and weekly patterns as well as seasonal variations. Staff during consistently high-traffic times. You can also use tools like Google Popular Times to see when people typically frequent local businesses.
What are some creative ways to turn window shoppers into store visitors?
Offer special discounts or promos exclusively for people who come inside. Greet passersby warmly and invite them in. Display visually irresistible products in the window. A bowl of treats or fresh coffee is available just inside to entice people. Feature signage about current sales or special offers inside.
How can I get contact info from visitors to follow up and nurture relationships?
Request email addresses in exchange for discounts. Capture emails via lead gen offers or contests. Use a tablet or prompts at checkout to collect contact info—tag purchases to customer profiles in your POS system. Offer incentives for sharing contact info to drive repeat business.
Should I focus more on driving traffic or converting traffic?
It would help if you had a healthy balance of both. Driving more traffic is pointless if you can't also convert those visitors into paying customers. But improving conversion alone won't grow your business if traffic remains flat. Optimise both traffic-driving strategies and in-store conversion factors for the most sales.
What's the most affordable way to advertise my shop locally?
Some affordable options include social media marketing, posting in local Facebook groups, getting listed on free local business directories, distributing simple flyers or postcards, networking at local events, and low-cost grassroots tactics like sign spinning or human billboards. For paid ads, local radio, newspaper, and direct mail offer the most bang for your buck.
The Bottom Line
Getting more people into your store is critical for the success of any retail business. Foot traffic drives sales, brand awareness, loyalty, and revenue growth. As a store owner, driving consistent quality traffic should be one of your highest priorities.
Implementing even a few of the strategies outlined in this guide will set you on the right path to bringing more customers through your doors. You have many options with the 25 proven foot traffic driving ideas.
Now, it's time to take action. Try out some of these tactics, track results, refine your approach, and work to continually increase the number of potential customers exposed to your unique retail store. More foot traffic means more sales, so put your energy into getting people through the door.