There’s really no profession more noble nor more time honoured than that of the humble shopkeeper. A retail business is the purest form of entrepreneurship there is. You likely stock the same wares as many of your competitors, have similar branding and go about your business in much the same way.
But where you’ll thrive where they fail is in your panache, your theatricality and the outstanding customer experience that you will deliver each and every time. And in an era where we’re constantly told about how brick and mortar is under threat from e-commerce it is all about the customer experience. When starting out in retail you’re told that location is everything. Location means footfall and footfall means business.
But let’s be honest here. There aren’t many prime highstreet locations within the reach of a hungry young retail startup. If your modest budget limits you to a location that’s a little off the beaten track, there are still ways for you to turn heads, create a sense of intrigue around your store and get them to come to you…
Build a sense of intrigue
The most important thing to do is get out of the mindset of treating your location as an impediment. If you’re able to establish your store as a destination, if you’re able to make people want to take a few steps off the beaten track and see what you’re about, if you’re able to get people talking about you, you can make people come to you.
Your first port of call is to create a sense of intrigue and mystique around your brick and mortar presence. Carry out a laser targeted Pay Per Click advertising scheme on social media showing users your logo, your location and just the slightest suggestion of what you do. Distribute flyers around other local businesses. Drop in on local stores (even competitors) and offer them a little something for free if they feel like popping over to see you on their lunch break.
Make your opening into an event
Now that you’ve created a sense of intrigue, it’s time to capitalise with an opening event to create a real sense of occasion. This is not the time for modesty. If you have already opened then perhaps it’s time to throw a huge extravaganza of a sale. While it may put a slight dent in your margin, the increased foot traffic and shifting of your inventory will be worth the trade.
Get your employees to stand in busy areas and hand out leaflets or spin signs. Bedeck your storefront with a huge inflatable; check out this link to help you pick out the best inflatable marquee for your event. Give out free food and nibbled. Dress in fancy dress. Encourage others to dress in fancy dress. Do raffles and give out prizes. Incentivize people to buy, but more importantly incentivize them to follow your brand. Don’t just apply these principles on your big day. Keep wowing people with your storefront to get people to look up from their screens as they walk past you.
Keep the conversation flowing on social media
Now that you’ve created a sense of intrigue and occasion about your brand, it’s up to you to keep the conversation flowing on social media. Keep up the conversation with the attendees, incentivize them to come back and pay you a visit. Tell them about any loyalty schemes you may be piloting and give them exclusive offers.
Moreover, you should incentivise them to bring others along to your store. As your legend grows, you’ll find that your location is no impediment to your in-store traffic.