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Updated on September 28, 2010

Why do shoppers walk into your store?

A customer may choose a store to walk into, for one or more of the following reasons:

  • She was passing by, happened to see it and decided to walk in
  • She was told about it by a friend and came looking for it.
  • She saw an ad about the same and decided to check it out
  • She has been there before and decided to come back
  • She got to know about a store promotion through a friend, an ad or a notice outside the store.

These are the primary motivations a consumer may have for deciding to walk into a store.  But how do you maximize walk-ins by catering to the specific needs of the consumers in each category.

The passing by customer

Location is clearly the most important parameter affecting this type of walk-in. The Agarwal Corner House if the most classic example of a store that has maximized sales by choosing the best corner location all across Delhi. However, even if you don’t have the best location, you can maximize footfall by 

  • Placing local ad or newspaper inserts.
  • Identifying complimentary stores and doing a cross tie-up so as to place directions to each other’s stores in or outside your own store.  for example, if you are selling jewelry, you may want to tie up with a store that sells sarees.
  • Identifying key competitors, finding a need that they don’t fulfill and you do. Buying street ads around competitors locations advertising that you fulfill this need. A great example of this is Burger King. Mc Donalds takes higher priced high visibility locations and Burger King takes low key locations around it and just places directions to its store outside the McDonalds. It has indeed worked extremely well for them.
  • Tie up with relevant nearby stores and place ads, banners announcing to users that they can get an entire range of products in one area. Better still tie-up with relevant stores and hire premises together in one place, to create a pseudo Mall environment. The concept is indeed working well in Food Courts and has also worked well globally across categories. In the Indian context it may mean a tie-up between a clothes, shoes, grocery, jewelry, electronics and fast food chain, so that all are located next to each other or on the same road. It also helps small stores compete against large Malls.
  • A great window display is undoubtedly critical to footfall.  Just as the first 3 seconds of a meeting decide what the prospect thinks about the sales person, the first look at a store decides whether the consumer will walk in or not. The key here is to not just display what you like most, but to display items catering to different sensibilities. Also, your USP needs to be apparent in the display. If low cost is your USP, you need to display the prices of items. If style is your USP,  the display needs to have great aesthetics and if range is your USP, you want an item from every category to be on display. 

Referred by a friend / Saw an Ad

The first and foremost thing in this case is for the referral to be easy.  For the same, make sure that the ad/ newspaper insert carries directions to the place.  In case it is a newspaper insert, attach a small business card to it with directions and USP. Chances are the user will keep this in his/her wallet for later and find it easy to access when in the vicinity.

Also, make it easy for existing consumers to refer more friends, by putting some business cards in their shopping bag and asking them to refer the store by giving the cards to friends/neighbors.

The returning customer

In case your store meets the needs of your consumers, they are likely to come back. However, it may take some time for them to break away from their existing stores. To break them away from existing stores, you may want to get them to visit you a few times and become the store of choice. This may be done by giving them a reason to keep coming back. 

You may do so by:

  • Giving first time visitors  a discount voucher for use during their next visit, a loyalty card. You may also want to take their phone number and make it easy for them to get the discount by just mentioning their phone number.  Incentivize them to come back soon by making the discount valid for 15 days or a month based on the frequency of next visit.
  • Get them to sign up for a newsletter, so you can intimate them when you go on Sale.
  • Incentivize them to refer friends and make the referral easy to make. Using the phone number for this is again easy as their friends would typically know their phone number.
  • Another way to get a consumer to return is by identifying meets that were not met on this visit. This may be on account of prices not being within reach - in which case get their mail id, so you can inform them when you have a sale. In case they did not like the merchandize, get them to share their mail id/ phone no, so you can inform them when new merchandize arrives. 
  • Giving a cash coupon valid for the next month’s purchases based on this month’s purchase is often a good way of getting consumers to come back, as it often feels like cash in hand and most consumers do not like to waste it. Giving a transferrable cash coupon also makes it easier for them to refer friends to your store. Even if they can’t make it, they would give it to a friend.
  • In order to get consumers to keep coming back even when these initial promotions get over you need to be a)Consistent - in staff behavior, quality of products, delivery time and not being out of stock, b)Becoming personal- Consumers like walking into stores where they feel welcome and at home. Try to know your repeat consumers and their choices. When they walk in greet them by name and mention something that may be of interest to them c) Staying in touch- Inform consumers of new stock, new promotions and if you don;t see them for a while, just pick up the phone and call to ask if all is well at their end. 

Looking for Promotions

A consumer may hear about your promotion from a friend, an ad, when browsing online or by just seeing the 50% off sign when passing by. It’s easiest to get passersby to walk-in, on seeing the Sale and you should focus well on having visible banners about the Sale in the marketplace, so visitors to the market are aware of your Sale and seek it out.

It is a little trickier to build awareness of your Sale at a larger scale and get people to remember the same and act on it. Some tools that you can use to build awareness include:

  • Announcing the Sale on your website
  • Announcing the same on relevant Facebook pages
  • Having newspaper ads, inserts, banners, hoardings
  • Informing existing consumers through phone, e-mail.
  • Announcing the ‘Sale/ Deals’ to a larger market using platforms such as ‘

How to use Wooqer PBox to build awareness about your Sales Promotions

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