The most essential part of a retail store is customers. Every day, more stores open and compete with your business, and it becomes very challenging to claim your brand in the market. To get ahead of the game, it’s important for you to understand what it takes to attract the customers and get them to your store. A study on US customers show that there are 4 critical elements that encourage customers to find and shop at your store:
1. A major sale or promotion - 18%
2. Recommendations from friends or family - 17%
3. Free shipping - 16%
4. Positive online reviews - 13%
Now let’s discuss how we can optimize these factors to get more customers to walk into your stores.
Generate positive recommendations and reviews
People trust each other. 47% of consumers trust the reviews of other consumers, whether those consumers are friends, relatives or even strangers. Before they decide to choose a retailer, they often search for recommendations and conduct many searches on google, on social media or even review sites.
Thus, you can encourage your customers to share their positive experience with your brand to their friends and family and online (website, social media like Facebook Fanpage, Twitter and review websites). You can offer them a coupon code or a gift card to inspire they doing so.
Moreover, the second most used source for discovering new retail stores is online reviews. Focus on all the online platforms that enable customers to leave their reviews without going through many complicated steps. These reviews can help you improve the quality of your service and optimize your website too.
But remember to manage the reviews left by customers carefully, because negative feedbacks can ruin your brand image and cause you to lose sales. Have a strategy, response to negative reviews - don’t ignore them. This will show that you are engaged and listening to your customers’ feedbacks, both positive and negative.
Run a promotion
Since everyone loves big sale, it’s no surprise if sales and promotions are dominant factors in engaging new customers. However, make sure you have a smart strategy for promotions. In addition to the typical holiday sales, you can look at your reports and identify which period of the year customers spend less on full-price items and think about a reason to run a promotion then. (Tips: there are many “hashtag holidays” on social media, such as #ReadingABookDay or #IceCreamDay, that can be the reason for your promotion.)
Offer different shipping methods (or free shipping)
If you buy something online, you have to have it shipped. There’s no other way and it’s very different from shopping in the traditional way. And because shipping is required, we consider shipping costs for online purchases an annoying extra fee and if they are too much, we’d rather go to a local store nearby and grab the items. Therefore, many businesses offer free shipping with conditions, for example, if the order value is above a certain amount or free shipping or redeem the loyalty points for free shipping. By doing so, they can make customers happy while not sacrificing their profit margin too much; some even say that “free shipping with conditions” is their best marketing tool.
If you can’t offer free shipping, make sure you communicate your shipping policy with customers clearly. If you don’t, customers will view shipping costs as unexpected costs and hate them even more. You can also offer different shipping methods so your customers can choose which one works best for them.