During the pandemic, consumers who couldn’t safely shop in brick-and-mortar stores turned to online shopping instead. Whether it be for mundane tasks like grocery shopping or picking up prescriptions, or more leisurely activities like clothes shopping, these errands could be done efficiently from the comfort of home.
But as brick-and-mortar businesses open back up and pandemic restrictions ease or disappear altogether, these businesses are once again looking to draw in more customers. To help, Young Entrepreneur Council members weighed in on what might help increase foot traffic to these stores and continue to keep shoppers invested in the “in-person” experience.
1. Offer Discounts
Brick-and-mortar stores should have special discounts in place for people who visit the store as opposed to shopping online, which would provide an incentive for buyers to come and visit the store in person. Since people get to touch and feel the products in hand, it’s also more likely that they buy multiple products, increasing the average order value of every customer. – Michelle Aran, Velvet Caviar
2. Improve Customer Service
Despite the fact that I am not a retail salesperson, from my point of view, in order to bring customers back to the retail market from the internet space, it is necessary to improve customer service. It all starts with the smallest details, from clean sales areas and a welcoming smile to the staff and the professional service. The goal for each employee should be to satisfy the client. Their motto should be the following: service, service and, again, service. – Aidar Vafin, ARFEN Inc.
3. Create Clear Hygiene Protocol
People want to feel safe post-pandemic, so I would continue to make hygiene a priority and advertise that fact. One way to do this is to make sure the store is ultra-clean. If you had a cleaning policy during the pandemic, I would suggest keeping it a little longer. Additionally, I would advertise to your customers that you, in fact, do have a rigorous cleaning policy. Display the policy where your customers can easily see it and include it in some of your advertising. You can also boost consumer confidence by offering cleaning products, sanitizers and masks at the front of the store. To stay on top of this, you can assign several employees to monitor and restock the supplies as needed. Just a few steps can help consumers feel safe to return, even after vaccines are distributed. – Shu Saito, Godai Soaps
4. Promote Services That Can’t Be Offered Online
Offer services that cannot be offered online or, if you can, offer advice from an expert so they don’t just go online and buy something with no advice. Adding on services that are only able to be done in person can be extremely beneficial for most companies. Make it into a hybrid model so people can shop both in-store and online if possible. Make it easy to shop in person as well. Since people are used to service not being so good right now, maybe go the extra mile to make your customers happy. – Daniel Robbins, IBH Media
5. Offer Incentives For In-Store Pickup
To bring in more retail foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores, one method store owners can implement is creating online incentives for picking up an online order in-store. While some customers may choose to only pick up their online orders and leave, others may stay to browse some more or see something that piques their interest and that prompts an impulse buy. Incentives can be something as simple as guaranteed no waiting in line, a percentage discount off the total order or an in-store-only discount for a high-demand product or service. – Richard Fong, SeniorStrong.org
6. Extend Your Store Hours
While people still like to have the tactile experience of browsing a brick-and-mortar store, they won’t want to compromise on safety. So, a clever idea for businesses is to extend their opening and closing hours. That way, people can choose to come in at a time they believe will have fewer shoppers. Businesses may need to hire more people and make sure that they’re complying with local laws, but promoting their extended or new timings is a surefire way to interest people who want to shop but not bump into too many other people. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
7. Team Up With Other Businesses
Make the customers feel special! Advertise locally and support other local businesses. Try to team up with other local companies by giving out discount cards or other little incentives that they can hand out to their customers that are only good for in-store purchases. – Amanda M. Sheehan, Oakland Family Dental
8. Focus On Existing Customers
To bring more customers into your brick-and-mortar store from your website, market to your existing local customers. They’re already interested in your brand and its products and services, so it’s easier to convince those who live in the area to stop by. You can even encourage them with in-store-only discounts and promotions that are exclusive and guaranteed to get their attention. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
9. Host A Pop-Up Shop
In-person shopping isn’t dead! For those looking to do something different to attract customers, I suggest experimenting with a pop-up shop approach. The limited duration of the shop being open creates a sense of interest and urgency that drives shoppers to show up or run the risk of missing out entirely. Couple this with time-limited sales and promotions and added value events, such as happy hours, food trucks or even hands-on experiences within the space. Each year we operate a month-long pop-up retail experience that results in huge returns for our organization. The key to success is to remember that in order to differentiate yourself from the competition, it’s no longer enough to be middle of the road—you have to be truly innovative and memorable to grab and hold attention. – Ashley Sharp, Dwell with Dignity
10. Create A Compelling Experience
We are experiencing quite strong pickup in brick and mortar as people are looking to get back out there again. I think the key is having a compelling experience that makes coming into a physical store worthwhile. This includes engaging decor and design, a compelling staff, a wide assortment of merchandise and bringing it all together to create unique exposure for your brand. – Ashley Merrill, Lunya