When agreeing the topic for this month’s article I reflected on how consumer facing businesses value footfall. At the Future High Street Summit at the end of March, footfall was a hot topic. Diane Wehrle from Springboard talked through the direct correlation between increased footfall to an area and the positive economic impact because of increased spending through local businesses. However, I have to remind myself of a blog I wrote some 5 years ago “you don’t just want footfall, you want the right kind of footfall”
You see, whilst on a macro-economic scale the indicators prove that higher footfall will translate to sales, it doesn’t necessarily apply to ALL businesses in an area. Boutique retail in particular tend to focus more on quality than quantity, investing time in great service and ensuring an excellent customer experience. Being overwhelmed by too much footfall can detract from their ability to offer that personal service, which in turn can damage customer perceptions.
So, and before I even start to think about the title “marketing considerations to increase footfall”, I think we have to rewind a bit… we have to ask ourselves “whose feet do you want to fall into your shop?”
This then takes us back to step 3 of my 10-steps to retail success – ideal customer. In order to really understand how to market to them we need to know who they are, what they want. I won’t dive too deep into that now – my point is simply that you need to invest some time in planning your marketing such that it attracts the kind of people you really want to be turning into customers – you can read another blog on this.
Once clear as to who you want to attract then you can start to think of the right strategies to engage with those people. In step 7 of the 10-steps, customer engagement, I talk about a 4-part upward spiral whereby there is the initial attraction (mostly achieved through your marketing), conversion (through a great experience in store), retention (through consistently great service) and referral (through gaining the trust of customers to become brand advocates). The upward spiral happens when you get those advocates recommending your business to others, adding to the mix of methods you will be using to attract new customers. You can also read more about that here.
Given your business no doubt has its own unique personality, a very clear vision of who your ideal customer is, and hence a very specific customer engagement approach, it is almost impossible to give too much advice about marketing considerations as it would be wrong to assume 1-size fits all. However, there are some obvious ingredients that you’d be unwise to ignore – how you apply them of course will depend wholly on your unique approach.
So, here are my top tips for the most likely marketing methods a retail business should be using to drive footfall:
Finally, this idea is not zero cost but can be very productive – targeted leaflet drops. If you invest in designing and producing a flyer, and are specific as to which areas it is delivered to, you can draw attention to your business via the letterbox. Better still, put a special introductory offer or similar on the flyer so the customer has to bring it to the store – that way you’ll get a good measure of the effectiveness of the activity.
To sum up, there are probably 1001 marketing considerations that could have a positive impact on your footfall – I can only suggest a few – what matters is that you make sure you select the right ones for your business, you measure the effectiveness, and then you won’t just get footfall, you’ll get the right footfall!