How to get more customers into stores?

Shopping street

The fact that people tend to have less time makes it more difficult for retailers to drive in-store traffic. Buying online has been made easier with the rise of Amazon and other ecommerce websites as well as innovations such as one-click payment.

Here are a couple of techniques to get more foot traffic to a store.

Adapting logistics to make customers buy in store

1. Reduce the queue 

Remember that Saturday you decided to go shopping and ended up constantly waiting – and it wasn’t even December shopping, just before Christmas? Being a physical store, the way the targeted client feels and how to avoid any constraint that means he wouldn’t be buying, are key elements.
Here are several ways to streamline the purchase.

Avoid waiting to access the fitting room

Most of the time, retailers believe it is sufficient to offer an exchange or a refund option of a product, but customers agree to say it still is compelling to have to go back in store.

Various options could be setup to avoid too much of a queue in the fitting rooms. Imagine a Click & Collect system the other way around: the client buys in store and then could send back the product. This easy setup makes it a great option for stores that also have an online store. Other options could include a magic mirror or a virtual reality mask to visualize what the products looks like in a certain context.

Avoid waiting to pay

More and more retailers know this element is key to get their prospects to pay and/or come back. It is the same for restaurants: how long is a person ready to wait for a good meal? How long is a person willing to pay for a product?


Sephora mobile cashier


Sephora or Apple have set up cashiers on ipads or phones that make it easy to pay anywhere in the store from salespeople. Monoprix suggests to its clients with a loyalty card to pay on the mobile application “Monop’Easy” while inside the shop. Obviously, the in store purchase is made much less painful and the queue is avoided.

Avoid having to carry shopping bags

Since 2012, the famous French store, Les Galeries Lafayette provides the “Buy & get it delivered within an hour” option. This is a free additional offer for people living in the center of Paris (only). It means the person can continue shopping without having to worry about carrying bags.

Some shopping centers have set up special offers to facilitate the Christmas shopping by suggesting the shopper to be a helped by a person (often a young student) who carries his bags. Another option is Wiigo, a robot that carries the shopping some supermarkets (see on the picture here after).



Shopping experience

2. Build a unique relationship with the customer

Relationship-building is key. Developing a unique relationship with the clients means he then feels emotionally attached to the brand. The brand gets to know their customers and who they are with their habits, what they likes, their age, city, interests, latests buys as well as what they like about the brand.

Many brands – especially young ones – tend to work on the personalization of the customer experience. This doesn’t mean changing the entire production process, like Nutella did by allowing anyone to have their name on the jar or Coca-Cola that gave the ability to personalize their iconic bottles too, but by making sure the experience is unique.

The customer needs to feel special and develop a relationship with the brand. Hand-written cards, for example, or offering a promotional code when it is the person’s birthday can be easy things that will make customers become emotionally attached to the brand.

The products and offers can be personalized thanks to the knowledge collected  with the wifi, the loyalty program and other marketing automation tools – around the customer. This information can also help brands predict customer behaviour.

bottles personalization

3. Engage seamlessly with the community to bring them into the stores

Creating a physical community of loyal customers is one of the best ways to enhance the client experience.
Social networks can be a great way to attract customers into stores. As a reminder, the average individual will spend 5 years and 4 months on social networks in his entire life.

Time spent on social networks

When creating a “phygital community” (a community that is both physical and digital), social networks can be leveraged to homogenize the communication. After collecting information about the community in store, they can be targeted via newsletter campaigns or social networks. This communication will be both with customers and prospects and according to various criterias such as gender, age, location, interests etc. If the message is explicit and creative, the person has much more chances of coming back in store.

Let’s take an example: if a person goes to the Nike store on the Champs-Elysées and a week later connects to Facebook on the Champs-Elysées, the brand or store will be able to target that person with a personalized offer to go drive the client back to the Nike store.

Many techniques can be used to develop on foot traffic, such as free goodies for the first 100 customers or exclusive events and/or services that can be offered in store to this community (also sometimes called fans).

The best way to create this community and to activate it both online and offline is probably loyalty cards (digital and/or physical). This means collecting the omnichannel knowledge of customer’s behaviour and being able to provide adequate offers depending on his shopping behaviour.

4. “Everybody loves free samples”

Remember this sentence: EVERYONE loves free samples. A great way to get clients in store is to give free samples of products. They will go home, try them and probably come back to buy the product (or to get more samples). Yves Rocher for example, sends an invitation card at home to encourage the client to go back in store and get the free sample or gift – depending on the amount spent in store.

5. Using the Wi-Fi

Getting to know clients at 360° means being able to adapt the communication accordingly and personalize the experience to drive foot traffic to a retail store. This is made even easier thanks to the Wi-Fi, a new tool to communicate online in store with the customer.  Wi-Fi allows to follow the customer even when he exits the store and to exchange with him via texts, social networks, emails etc.

By having customers connect to the Wi-Fi, value is added to their shopping experience and it encourages them to stay longer in store on top of collecting data about who they are.

Compared to traditional advertising, using the Wi-Fi is a better way to communicate with a community. Wi-Fi helps collect customers data and feedbacks to then use them for targeted digital campaigns. The Return On Investment can easily be tracked and the performance is greater than traditional advertising at a fraction of the cost.