A business’s success depends on its ability to bring potential customers into both its physical storefront and digital webstore.
While this goal will remain steadfast, how you accomplish it will likely change over time. From butcher shops to craft stores, to stay afloat and continue growing your business, you need to look for new ways to engage new and existing customers in-person and online.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the seven best ways to increase traffic for your local business. These include the following recommendations:
- Take a multichannel marketing strategy.
- Leverage customer data.
- Automate rewards.
- Ask for customer reviews.
- Prioritize staff training and well-being.
- Host free community events.
- Accept multiple forms of payment.
Don’t worry about immediately checking off every item on this list. Increasing customer traffic to your local business (usually) doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it takes long-term planning alongside daily effort.
After reading through this guide, take some time to determine which of these tips best fit your business’s current situation and focus your energy on putting them into practice. By making one change at a time, you’ll better be able to measure and assess the impact of each strategy.
1. Take a multichannel marketing strategy.
Not all of your customers are the same. They likely are of different ages, use different devices, have different needs, and live in different places. In order to reach as many of these customers as possible, it’s necessary to take an equally diverse marketing approach.
A multichannel marketing strategy consists of multiple channels through which customers can interact with and learn about your business.
Using multiple marketing channels to reach your customers is an effective way to get more exposure and boost engagement. It can also help you to build a relationship with your customers, which leads to increased customer loyalty and satisfaction.
The Reasons for a Multi channel marketing approach
One of the major reasons why marketers adopt a multi channel strategy is because consumers are becoming more active in the digital space. They spend more time on the internet, social media and mobile devices than ever before.
The proliferation of channels also makes it easier for customers to interact with brands. They can use different channels for various tasks, such as checking a product’s availability, ordering, making payments and receiving product updates.
Another reason why many marketers choose to use multi-channel strategies is because it allows them to optimize the effectiveness of their campaigns. They can retarget users who have engaged with their content, or clicked through to their website, to promote products they may be interested in buying.
A third reason why it’s beneficial to employ a multi-channel strategy is that it helps you to better understand the buyer’s journey. You can use this information to create more personalized marketing messages that have a higher chance of conversion.
However, a multi-channel marketing strategy comes with its own set of challenges. First, you must know your target audience and their pain points. This is a critical step in the development of a multi-channel marketing strategy because it will help you determine the best platforms to reach them and provide them with what they want.
Popular channels include:
- Google ads
- Direct mail
- Social media
Not only will a thoughtful, multichannel marketing approach lead to increased traffic, but, as a result, many of your customers will have a positive impression of your business long before they ever step foot in your store.
2. Leverage customer data.
When trying to increase customer traffic, data is your best friend. Comprehensive customer information can help you make better decisions and direct your marketing toward individuals who are most likely to be customers.
To make customer data-driven decisions, aim to collect some or all of the following information:
- Full name
- Mailing address
- Payment information
- Email address
- Phone number
Additionally, you might also want to collect data specific to your business’ niche. For example, a fabric store may track its customers’ buying preferences or interest in quilting classes. To that end, one of the best places to collect customer data is during the checkout or account registration process. Use an all-in-one POS system to seamlessly store these data points while completing routine transactions.
To better target your marketing, consider investing in third-party data (such as marital status, income, religion, and education) to supplement the information stored in your customer relationship management system.
Once you have the necessary data, you can further tailor your outreach strategy to reach and engage prospective customers most likely to shop at your store.
3. Automate rewards.
What makes a customer choose to return to your store? While there are a number of relevant factors to consider, one reason may be an effective customer rewards program. A rewards program can build brand loyalty by making customers feel appreciated.
Leverage your POS system to automate your rewards program, including:
- Notifying staff during checkout when customers are eligible for a reward.
- Tracking customer rewards points.
- Sharing progress toward rewards with customers.
- Printing additional coupons and discounts for customers to use at their next visit.
When a rewards program is complicated, opaque, and difficult for customers to track and redeem, customers are turned off. However, when a customer can easily take advantage of the rewards they’ve earned, they become all the more likely to use them.
4. Ask for customer reviews.
Generally, people do their research before visiting a local business. Whether it’s online or the recommendations of friends and family, we use reviews to decide where (and where not) to spend our money.
Depending on your industry, focus on gathering positive reviews on the following websites:
But you don’t have to simply hope that people will leave reviews. You can ask for them directly! Leverage your POS system to send emails or texts that invite customers to leave reviews and direct them where to leave them. To incentivize reviews, you can even offer a one-time discount to customers who complete a review.
5. Prioritize staff training and well-being.
When your staff members are happy, it shows. Customers will enjoy spending time in your store and around the people you’ve hired. On the other hand, when you treat staff poorly, word gets around!
Thus, your business must give staff the tools, training, and support they need to feel successful in their job. To do this:
- Provide staff with well-planned, hands-on orientation and ongoing training on new trends, tech, and procedures.
- Leverage software to upgrade your team’s organization and efficiency, giving them back the time they would have otherwise spent on tedious administrative tasks.
- Offer a comprehensive pay and benefits package to retain your employees and support their holistic well-being.
- Host regular team social events and volunteer opportunities to help boost staff morale. According to Crowd101’s corporate giving statistics, 88% of millennials find their job more fulfilling when given opportunities to positively impact social and environmental issues.
When your staff is happy and knowledgeable, you’ll start to see a corresponding improvement in customer traffic.
6. Host free community events.
An easy way to bring in new customers is to host a free event open to the public. Doing so shows your investment in building a local community beyond simply earning a profit. Plus, once people are in your store, it’s more than likely they’ll make a purchase.
If you choose to host an event, remember to:
- Make a plan and schedule for each element of the event.
- Have enough staff and the proper equipment to process transactions quickly.
- Clearly delegate tasks and responsibilities to your support staff and vendors.
Moreover, consider partnering with a well-loved local organization to attract their customer base and borrow some of their cachet. For example, you might take a corporate social responsibility approach and host an event in support of a nonprofit. As a result, you’ll simultaneously support positive work in your community and create a positive, engaging brand perception.
7. Accept multiple forms of payment.
When you can’t take certain payment types, it can create an uncomfortable holdup during checkout. Worse, it can cause customers to take their business elsewhere. Your POS system should offer universal payment processing, allowing customers to pay with an assortment of methods, including credit card, gift card, check, EBT, contactless, and cash.
When paired with a robust POS system, accepting a range of different payment types will also speed up and streamline the checkout experience, thus preventing the long lines that can eventually turn potential customers away.
Wrapping Up: Bonus Tip
While these tips may vary in focus and medium, they hold something in common: All rely on industry-specific management tools to accomplish their goals. Rain POS’s guide to retail POS systems recommends partnering with providers who “understand the vertical characteristics of your industry and design software to cater to those unique needs.”
While a one-size-fits-all software can seem appealing, it likely will fall short. Ultimately, to most efficiently increase traffic, don’t choose just any tool. Choose the one built with your business in mind.