Whether you run a shop, garage, restaurant or other small business, the number one priority is always getting customers in the door.
Despite this, it’s amazing how many businesses that rely on footfall do so little to attract passers-by. If a shop has a pavement sign with 10-year-old branding or a restaurant has a mouldy menu in a broken case, are people really going to be tempted to give you a try?
The statistics around bricks-and-mortar retail have been fairly gloomy, with almost 1 in 10 shops in the UK lying empty as of April 2018 and with online shopping ever growing and now taking up 20% of UK retail’s market share . Due to these changing tides, retailers need to be increasingly innovative around their advertising – maximising their premises to attract as many passers-by as possible.
With much advertising focusing on online channels such as social media and search advertising using Google Maps, you may have missed the simplest and most cost-effective way of advertising your business – display advertising in and around your business. The vast majority of the information our brain’s process (83%) is from our sense of sight, so creating a visually appealing space should be your number one priority.
Check out these tips below to bring a fresh and appealing look to your retail space:
Evaluate with Fresh Eyes
The first step to revitalising your space is working out any reasons why passers-by may be missing your retail premises.
Ask any small business owner how they see their business and there’s a good chance they will reply, ‘it’s like my baby’ - whilst this shows they care about the business, it may also mean – much like a parent whose child can do no wrong – they struggle to see their own business’s faults. If you think this might be you, why not ask a friend or someone impartial to evaluate your retail advertising? Do they feel motivated to enter? Are there any enticing promotions? Are the premises uncluttered and easy to navigate?
The larger the focus group, the more accurate the results will be so always consider asking a wide range of people that could provide a cross-section of your target audience.
So what sort of things should they be looking out for?
Maximise Your Advertising Space
When advertising your business you need to maximise all the available space your business has. Don’t be a retail advertising hermit: utilise pavements, shopfronts, car parks, forecourts and other space you can legally use to maximise your brand awareness.
Potential customers need to be made clear about what to expect indoors, have you got a special offer, seasonal discount, new product range or unique event which needs promoting? If so, don’t be shy – people are motivated by short-term offers such as ‘sale ends Monday’ as it creates an urgency and fear of missing out.
There are a huge range of indoor and outdoor displays available for promoting any retail space – from cost-effective PVC banners to hanging window displays and printed light boxes – these displays will pay for themselves as more and more people are enticed inside. For smaller business with lower marketing budgets consider having a number of seasonal displays which you can reuse every year.
Keep Customers Inside
Whilst outdoor display advertising is crucial to getting more people in the door, it’s also important to maintain a professional appearance within your premises. A well-organised retail space is more likely to make potential customers feel relaxed and spend longer inside, greatly increasing their likelihood to spend money. This realisation has led to a new movement called the slow shopping movement where retailers aim to create comfortable spaces for shoppers to relax, sit down have a drink, thus making shopping more of an experience than simply choosing and paying for your product.
You can create a more pleasant environment by adding seating areas, chillout zones, mood lighting, free customer WiFi and selfie walls. Again, there are a number of display stands to help you achieve this, such as queue barriers, display cases, display light boxes and branded floor mats. A pleasant retail environment will not only increase your conversion rate, it will also encourage repeat visits and brand loyalty.
Host an In-Store Event
Many retailers are now using experiential marketing – essentially unique events and experiences - to lure customers into physical premises – it can also be a great way to connect with the local community and even raise money for some worthy causes.
These events need an incentive – such as free food, drinks and music – and lots of hype on social media.
The target of these events for you is brand awareness, customer email addresses (and GDPR-friendly consent to contact them) as well as building links with other local businesses and town representatives.
Key Take Aways
Many businesses get so caught up in day-to-day running of their business, they may forget to keep things fresh with unique displays to attract new customers.
Don’t be fooled into thinking branded displays are only for large businesses either – the more attention you can attract, the more likely it is you will be able to compete.
Display stands don’t have to break the bank either – there are many cost-effective options which mean these should be a key part of your marketing mix.