If you are reading this blog, chances are you're unsatisfied with your local retail store and it's foot traffic. Maybe your location is great, your store is cute, and your products are super on trend, but for some reason you are just not seeing the foot traffic you expected.
There is more than meets the eye when increasing your visibility and much of it has to do with your online presence. Why, you may ask? Well, there has been a shift in consumer behavior where people depend on their mobile devices and search engines to help make decisions during their buyer journey.
If you work at, or own, a retail store, you should be familiar with the common account of a customer arriving with an image/link on their phone of the product they want to buy. And you might agree that some retailers have placed a negative connotation on how much consumers depend on the internet, however, instead let's take advantage of these new consumer trends.
Although we discuss retail stores here, the concepts also work with many other local businesses like restaurants, bakeries, and more. So, if I were you I would definitely keep reading to find out how the digital world has now become a part of local retail stores' marketing strategy.
Without further ado, here are some reasons why your local retail store isn't getting the traffic you want.
You Still Use The ABC Method of Sales.
The ABC method was quite successful, in the 50's at least, because during the time it was the salesperson who was all knowing about products. People looked at retailers as a person to guide their buyer's journey. It was a time where sales people had the upper hand and could easily sell the most expensive products, whether the client needed them or not.
Today things have changed as most consumers do sufficient research before entering a store. You can't fool customers anymore into buying the most expensive product. There are reviews, price comparisons, and ratings on almost every product available on the market!
But don't worry, they still need help, they just need a different kind of assistance. 3 in 4 shoppers find their local information from a search engine and then visit the store. Nowadays most consumers still need face to face interactions to ask further questions and get your insight. People want to know which products are actually used by you, your family, and friends.
Furthermore, your job isn't over after a customer pays at the checkout. The actual customers you have can help increase your traffic. Word of mouth is great because people trust what their friends tell them. Make sure that your customers' experience is great so they they leave satisfied and willing to share their experience.
You Aren't Using Social Media Advertisements
It used to be that the best way to advertise your local retail store was through magazines, newspapers, and billboards. However, digital marketing is taking over one piece of paper at a time.
Using social media advertisement platforms like the one from Facebook or Instagram is awesome because you can target ultra specific audiences depending on your marketing goals. For example, with Facebook, you can be as specific as the gender, age, annual income, and location of your targeted audience.
Also, with these advertisements you can collect useful data and information about your customers' buyer journey. It is a great way to get a look at your consumers interests, lifestyle, and shopping trends.
This year, if you have not done so yet, rearrange your marketing strategy and put more effort/money in digital marketing as this is the focus of most consumers.
You Don't Have an Online Presence
If you don't have an online presence it is much harder to increase your local foot traffic. To increase your sales, you have to do more than keep a smile on your face and have good customer service. You have to sell your products and help people find them – You have to encourage customers to find and buy your products.
Where are most people finding new products and stores these days? That's right, the internet. Having an online presence is more than the random post about a sale or event. It is about spreading your business name like wild fire. It is having Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. It's about creating content that is engaging and creates trust with your audience. It is about strengthening your customers' loyalty to your brand.
You Have Not Claimed Your Google My Business (GMB)
If you have not claimed your Google My Business, Do It Now! I mean after you finish this post of course. Search engines have such a large influence on the buyer journey. Local businesses that wish to succeed need to accept that and move with it.
In 2014, Google launched the Penguin update for their algorithm. The goal behind the update was to provide a bigger weight to local brands that have local-based keywords. If you want your local retail store to flourish, you not only need to have an online presence, it has to be strategic and fit within search engine guidelines.
With GMB, you have the perfect platform to answer the main questions people search for when looking up a business. Consumers want access to store hours, the location of stores, which stores have products in stock, and the price of products.
You should see the digital world and search engines as a shopping assistant, they are not there to replace in-store retailers, however, make the customer's buyer journey that much better.
Your Website Isn't Mobile Optimized
As you may be aware of at this point, mobile devices play a big role in the buyer journey. If your website is not mobile optimized consumers are not as likely to visit your website for two reasons.
The first reason is because Google's algorithm favors websites that are mobile optimized. If your website is not, you will not find your page in the local search results page as it does not meet the requirements.
The second reason is because 71% of in-store shoppers that use a smartphone for their online research have stated that their mobile device has become important to their in-store experience. Thus, it is not just about making your customer's online experience better, it's about their in-store experience as well.
The bottom line to increasing your local retail store's foot traffic is that you have to
a) Adapt the way you sell products to match the new buyer's journey.
b) Upgrade your online presence through social media, your website, GMB, and local directories.
c) Improve your Local SEO strategy to rank higher in local searches for your niche.
By improving these aspects of your overall business mentality and strategy, you will surely see an increase in valuable local foot traffic to your retail store.