Even in this age of on-demand ordering and delivery, 79% of consumers primarily shop in brick-and-mortar locations. This may sound like great news to outsiders, but retailers know that maintaining and increasing visitor traffic is still one of the top challenges facing physical locations today.
However, by creating unique, immersive customer experiences, brands have found they can draw more visitors into stores—and keep them coming back for more. In fact, 1 out of 5 shoppers claim that the entire experience is why they keep making the effort to come in. Retailers are upping their game to entice shoppers into their stores, using a combination of small and more intricate in-store marketing tactics to increase foot traffic. In fact, 80% of marketers think events are critical to their brand’s success.
Before you jump on the bandwagon and start calling caterers, it’s important that you can actually measure the success of your new initiatives. Without accurate before-and-after statistics of KPIs like visitor traffic count, traffic flow, frequency of visits, and returning customer rate, you won’t be able to tell whether your efforts have made a difference to the customer experience. Luckily, easy-to-use retail analytics sensors can provide extensive, accurate visitor analytics, showing you insights and trends that you would have missed otherwise.
As soon as you have your measurement tools ready to go, try some of the trending in-store marketing event tactics that are taking over the industry.
Elevate The Everyday Experience
Before you consider costly in-store marketing strategies, simple updates to your store may be in order. It’s amazing how much small additions can improve the customer experience. <
For example, do you provide any amenities? Free Wi-Fi, cold water or drink dispensers, and charging stations are becoming the norm. Though these amenities may not directly relate to your product or service, they are a relatively inexpensive way to show your customers that you’re willing to go the extra mile for their comfort.
Similarly, small treats like product samples are becoming more popular. If your store specializes in chocolate, it simply doesn’t make sense to leave all your wares boxed up; cut expensive bonbons in half and leave them out for hungry passersby. If you sell tea, brew a batch once an hour and leave it out for curious tasters. If you don’t sell any edible items, you can think outside the box to find a similar offering. For example, if your store specializes in toys, you can easily leave out a toy train for kids to play with.
These everyday touches are an excellent and inexpensive way to show consumers how much more pleasurable an in-person shopping trip is than yet another hour clicking through the impersonal internet.
Roll Out The Red Carpet
To go slightly above and beyond everyday offerings, make sure you’re producing some sort of regular event to captivate the attention of customers intently interested in the kind of lifestyle that your brand promotes. While most established stores produce events of this kind, even indie stores can easily implement a similar service at little expense.
For example, if you sell cooking wares, give weekly or biweekly cooking classes. If you sell running clothes, start a Sunday running club. If you sell books, organize a book of the month club.
Once you’ve set up these regular events, it’s time to think up ideas for one-off events.
First of all, they don’t have to be extravagant. For example, set up invite-only shopping events for rewards customers, in which the store is opened early or late for your most loyal members. An extra incentive, like a small gift of a chocolate bar or other goodie, will make them feel valued. Keep in mind that the incentive depends on the audience, so do thorough research before you make that choice.
If your budget allows you to throw a larger in-store event, make sure you include both regular customers and new customers to get the most bang for your buck. Hold an open wine tasting event to celebrate the beginning of summer. Host a networking event for professionals in the area one evening, ensuring you invite the people on your local email list, rewards customers, and nearby businesspeople. Wrangle a respected local, like a member of the city council or popular business owner, to produce a workshop on communication skills. Produce a live-music evening event with hot cider to celebrate fall. Walmart even had professional bull riders show up for an autograph session. (Retail-tainment, anyone?) In other words, the options are endless.
Before you hold your event, make sure you have some way to track the traffic you’ll undoubtedly attract. (The most reliable way to do this is to let a low-profile sensor track it for you.) With that data in hand, you can compare the turn-out from event to event, and see how your events affect store traffic in the following weeks.
Get Techy With It
To begin with, social media advertising efforts can go a long way for in-store impact.
Run a campaign that entices consumers into stores. For example, Facebook offers enticing location-based ads that drive in-store visits. Snapchat provides geofilters, which are fun, customizable overlays on Snapchat images that are only activated for people close to your store. Take those ads a step further and give consumers more incentive to come in with a gift or treat for putting your brand on social media; for example, Victoria’s Secret ran a campaign that rewarded consumers who produced a selfie taken in front of a display.
. If you’re looking for a unique experiential initiative, there are a lot of ways to take technology to the next level. Nordstrom installed a giant, 3D Instagram post on its rooftop and Lowe’s featured Vines in store windows. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly approach to your initiative, create a “selfie center” in a corner of your shop with frames or props that consumers can use while they take pictures. Encourage them to post the photos on their social channel of choice with a pre-chosen hashtag. #socialmediawin
These are just a few of the types of in-store marketing events that can help remind your customers why they keep skipping fast online checkouts and walking through your front doors.
Wondering how you can measure and track the success of your future event initiatives? Drop us a line.