With most businesses back on their feet and not just relying on online sales to keep them afloat, retailers can start thinking of ways to drive foot traffic back to their stores.
Having said that, traditional methods of driving foot traffic may not be as effective as before. With safety and cleanliness being the main concern of most shoppers, experience-based strategies such as in-store events and classes are no longer practical as they once were pre-pandemic.
That’s why we’ve put together 5 strategies to help store owners drive foot traffic in a post-COVID-19 retail environment. Check them out below.
1. Focus on Health & Safety
Shoppers don’t want to feel at risk of contracting COVID-19 when they enter your store. So if you want more customers to shop at your physical store, you need to make them feel like it is safe to do so.
You can build trust with shoppers by visibly cleaning and sanitizing your shop, providing staff (and if possible customers) with masks, and placing hand sanitizer throughout the store. It is also a good idea to limit the amount of shoppers allowed inside at a given time. Consider placing social distancing markers or decals on the floor. This will help ensure that customers are following social distancing guidelines once they enter your store.
For more information on how to implement health & safety measures post-COVID-19, download our checklist here. Depending on the demographics (e.g. a lot of your customers are seniors) in your area and the space available in your store for people to socially-distance themselves while shopping, you may want to consider a mandatory mask policy. These can be controversial and must be implemented and managed carefully to minimize potential friction. Learn more about how to manage and implement mask policies in your store.
Don’t forget to take advantage of digital channels (social media, SMS, email) to communicate with shoppers. This way, customers will be aware of the health and safety measures you have in place and will be more comfortable coming to your store.
Remember – generating store foot traffic during the pandemic is not just about being the trendiest, cheapest, or most unique brand, it is about appearing safe.
2. Double-down on Google
Hundreds of millions of shoppers use Google everyday to start their product searches, making it the ideal place to list your merchandise.
Merchants in the U.S. can now access this feature for free while an international rollout is expected by the end of the year.
TAKU Retail POS has partnered with Google to make it easier for retailers to automatically sync and optimize their product listings. With TAKU, merchants can choose to send their existing POS product information with the built-in feature to unlock the free product listings. Because this is a built-in integration right in the POS, there’s no data entry required. To learn more, click here.
TAKU’s integration with Google also allows you to display your product catalogue online through Google’s “See what’s in store,” a free showcase directly below your Google store listing. SWIS lets you display your store’s stock and products online with real-time stock updates, attracting nearby shoppers to your store.
As the saying goes, showing up is half the battle. Shoppers need to know when your store is actually open. A shopper that shows up to a closed store because the opening hours listed for your business on Google Maps are outdated likely won’t be back. Make sure you have a verified Google My Business (GMB) store listing and keep your store hours up-to-date. If you’re not using GMB yet, do it right away as it’s the best free online marketing tool available to small businesses. For more information, check out our blog post about why retailers need Google My Business.
Contactless payments are not only convenient, they also provide retailers with a safe and secure way to take payments in-store. Throughout the pandemic, contactless transactions have increased and even become a preferred payment method among consumers. Offering contactless payment will help customers feel safer when purchasing as they don’t have to touch high contact surfaces such as PIN pads or checkout counters.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for contactless payment and pickup methods has significantly increased and stores that offer them will be more attractive to customers when they’re choosing where to shop.
One thing to remember though, is that contactless payments may not be EMV and therefore you may be liable for chargebacks. Prior to the pandemic, merchants would generally set their contactless limits at $50 to $100 per card per day but since March, many retailers have opted to increase the limit to make it easier for customers to buy more when they are in-store. But higher tap limits will increase the chance that those merchants will be responsible for higher-value chargebacks. Make sure to check with your merchant processor regarding liability and what you can do to protect yourself if you ever need to appeal a chargeback (e.g. getting signatures, installing CCTV cameras, etc.) if you are considering adding contactless for the first time or increasing your contactless daily limits.
4. Buy Online, Pickup In-store
For customers that are not comfortable shopping in-store, you can create a contactless retail experience with buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) or pickup at curbside. Shoppers can use your website to browse items, pay online and simply drive to your location when their order is ready for pickup. Once it is safe to offer in-store pickup in a safe, efficient manner, this is always our recommended fulfillment option for retailers that have physical stores. In-store pickups are not only more cost-effective (e.g. no packing or shipping costs), they generally have lower return rates since people can check products prior to pickup and, most importantly, they can lead to higher-margin impulse buys when shoppers see other products they might want to purchase once they are in your store. This is why it is important for retailers to plan carefully where they will place their pickup location in-store. It should be a location that allows shoppers to feel safe (e.g. allows enough space for social distancing) while making it convenient for them to see and pick up additional items quickly.
To make it easier for their staff, retailers should consider enabling staggered pickup times at checkout. This way, long lines and crowds can be avoided as customers must make an appointment to pick up their purchases. All-in-one sales platforms such as TAKU have a built-in function in their online store builder to allow shoppers to choose a pickup date and time at checkout.
5. Exclusive In-store Promotions
Running in-store promotions is a tried and tested way to drive foot traffic. However, retailers need to be strategic about how they run promotions so that they can maximize profitability. Using promotions to generate foot traffic can be done by creating exclusive in-store offers which incentivize customers to come to your store rather than shop online.
The following are some promotional strategies retailers can use:
Exclusivity with Private In-store Appointments – this strategy works particularly well if you are selling higher-value products that can benefit from having a sales associate involved to answer any questions
Exclusivity with In-Store Promotions – use your email marketing lists and social media posts to promote special offers to your best customers with limited time/quantity in-store only promotions specifically for them
In-Store Bundle Discounts – this strategy is particularly useful when you have excess stock you are looking to get rid of but want to ensure a minimum basket size in-store
Surprise In-Store Markdowns – random markdowns such as “score of the week” are effective in attracting both new and returning customers. These promotions are usually less risky as you know exactly how the discount will affect your margins. A smart POS system can analyze in-store promotions, allowing store owners to see trends and margins.
Conditional In-Store Offers – examples include spend a certain amount and get a free item, buy a certain item and save a percentage off your entire order etc.
Want more retail tips? Find out more about retail merchandising below
Owning the right POS system is essential to the success of any retail business. Today, a retail POS system can do much more than just handle payments and record sales – innovative POS technology now functions as a complete retail management system.
In other words, a feature-rich retail POS system acts as a tool that enables you to both manage and grow your store.
But with so many different retail POS software in the market, how do you find the right one for your retail business?
Whether you’re looking for your first ever POS software or looking to upgrade to a new one, finding the right solution for your retail store doesn’t need to be difficult.
In this article, we’ve broken down the most important features to consider when choosing a retail POS system.
12 Key Features to look for in a Retail POS System
Point of Sale Features
Let’s begin by discussing all of the features needed in the sales portion of your retail POS. This covers all of the functionalities and features needed for a fast and easy checkout experience.
1) Easy to Navigate Salesscreen: In order to ensure a fast checkout experience, it’s important to look for a POS system that is user friendly and designed for minimum clicks. Cashiers shouldn’t have to leave the salesscreen in order to complete a transaction.
2) Fast Barcode Scanning: Your retail POS system should be designed for quick scanning speed while giving you the ability to quickly recall your last search. It’s also important that your POS software can handle multiple barcodes per SKU (an internal code, a shortcode, a vendor code(s), and a manufacturer code).
3) Advanced Inventory Search: Besides handling a high volume of inventory and transactions (read inventory features below), your retail POS software needs to have smart search functions. This will allow you and your employees to search for products by keyword, description, barcode or tag in case labels fall off or are not scannable.
4) Inventory Management: Inventory is the most important asset you have as a retailer which is why it is necessary to track and keep an accurate count of all of your merchandise.
The inventory management component of your retail POS will help you replace tedious methods of inventory control resulting in time, money, and effort saved.
5) Mobile Accessibility: More and more retailers are recognizing the benefits of cloud technology and consequently, cloud POS adoption is growing at a significant rate. Cloud POS software stores data in the cloud giving you the benefits of remote accessibility, cost-savings, and real-time data accuracy. Click here to learn more about the benefits of cloud POS technology.
You’ll also want to make sure that your retail POSis completely mobile-friendly and can be run on any device. This will enable you to ring in sales anywhere in your store (e.g. on an tablet or mobile phone) which means a faster checkout experience for your shoppers.
Some systems offer the ability to store credit card details in the device until internet is back up but not only is it riskier to shopper payment details, you’re taking the chance of the stored payments not getting approved.
In today’s market, offline capability is not as useful as a smart POS platform that can be logged in from any device. When internet goes down, it’s as simple as securely logging in with a mobile device with data to continue ringing in sales.
7) User Access Rights: It is likely that you will have multiple people working in your business. Which means that your retail POS will need to be able to identify different users and give them tailored access to the system based on their role. User access rights also enable store owners to limit permissions on certain features in your POS (for ex: reports, etc.).
8) Scalability: Look for a POS software that will grow with you as your retail operations scale. Your retail POS should have the following features: the ability to handle high transaction and inventory volume, international tax settings, multi-currency handling, unlimited stores, selling zones and multiple stock allocations.
These features will allow you to grow and scale with your POS software. Some cloud POS software have limits on the number of users and stores – meaning if you eventually outgrow your existing system, you will need to invest a considerable amount into upgrading or switching to another POS altogether
9) Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
The CRM component of your retail POS software stores shopper information and allows you to better manage your customer base. It can generate huge benefits for your store – including better customer relationships, sales reports that allow you to make better business decisions and more efficient operations. These benefits ultimately lead to more sales.
10) Bulk Item Import: For fast POS onboarding, you will want to select a retail POS that can import all of your inventory and customer details. Otherwise you will be stuck manually uploading your inventory – which is an extremely tedious and time consuming task.
11) Built-In Training Tools: Smart POS systems today will have self-service functions such as built-in chat support, online knowledge portals and even step-by-step guided products tours. Not only does this minimize your onboarding costs, it ensure that staff can quickly learn how to use the system at their own convenience.
12) Marketing Integrations: Traditional point-of-sale systems are essential to retail operations management but modern cloud POS systems are data-driven which means you can now use your retail store data to drive digital marketing. A POS that has built-in marketing tools will allow you to streamline your marketing efforts so that you can sell more. For example, a POS that integrates to Google will help your retail business appear higher up in search results – resulting in more local foot traffic and sales.
TAKU Retail POS is designed for high traffic retailers looking to increase foot traffic to their physical stores. Join our beta waitlist here.
Your business category on your Google My Business listing is used to describe the type of business you operate (pet store, hardware store, grocery store etc.).
It’s important to be specific when choosing your business category -the category you choose determines how local shoppers find you!
For example, if your primary category is “pet supply store”, your business will show up on Google when shoppers search for “pets”,”pet food”, or “pet supplies” in the area.
Important Things to Note
You can only select 1 primary category for your GMB listing.This is the category that people see on your business listing. It is also the most important – Google prioritizes your primary category in it’s search algorithm.
You can select up to 9 additional categories (other than your primary category) to describe your business. Focus on selecting the most relevant and specific categories for your business.
You can’t create your own category. It is best to choose a more general category if you cannot find the one that you had in mind.
Google can detect category information about your retail business from across the internet (including your own website and other mentions from across the web).
Which can be broken down into the following points:
1) Be as specific as possible when choosing a primary category. The more specific you are when choosing your primary category, the less local stores/businesses you will be competing against. For example, if you sell gift baskets, choose “gift basket store” instead of “gift store”.
2) Your primary category and additional categories should describe your retail business as a whole. Don’t add additional categories in an attempt to list all of your products, amenities, and services. For example, if you run a furniture business that also includes a pastry shop, avoid adding the category “pastry shop”. Instead, the pastry shop owner should claim their own listing and choose “pastry shop” as their primary category. Google suggests that you select categories that complete this statement: “This business IS a” rather than “this business HAS a”.
3) Try minimizing the amount of additional categories that you add. Although you may be tempted to select as many categories as possible, it’s important not to. Doing so will negatively impact your store’s local ranking. Only choose categories that directly apply to your business!
Note: Skip adding categories that seem redundant. Again, you should focus on adding the categories that are most specific to your business. Google will do the rest of the work! For example, if you choose the category “children’s furniture store”, Google will implicitly add more general categories like “furniture store” and “children’s store”.
For more information, on how to choose a business category, click here.
So get shoppers through your door by displaying your Halloween merchandise (whether you plan on using an entire aisle or a single point-of-purchase display) at a prominent location. Ensuring that you have proper signage and a clear path leading shoppers to your Halloween-themed merchandise and displays, will also make them more likely to purchase.
Even if you’re not in the business of selling costumes or other Halloween products, you can still spook out your store with some festive decorations and visual merchandising. Think about creating a window or point-of-purchase display that showcases products that you already sell – but with a Halloween twist. You can use spider webs, jack-o-lanterns, leaves, and Halloween colours (black,orange,red etc.) to spook things up.
Completely revamping your store’s website is time-consuming and in some cases, it can be expensive. But adding a Halloween touch to your website can go a long way in getting shoppers in a festive spirit. Including Halloween images on your homepage (download free Halloween stock images here), fixing themed add-ons, and adding pop-up designs are all cost-effective and easy ways to add a spooky feel.
You can also drive more shoppers to your website by creating a separate page (a landing page) dedicated to Halloween. Here are a few tips:
Create a Halloween gift guide for your shoppers that features all of your Halloween merchandise. If you don’t sell Halloween merchandise, consider posting helpful Halloween content. Some good content or blog post ideas include: “Halloween costume ideas for children”, “Halloween decor ideas”,”DIY costumes for adults”, and “tips for hosting a Halloween party”.
Use Halloween keywords (this will help your store appear higher up in search).
Promote any Halloween discounts or promotions that you are holding.
Don’t forget to decorate your social media and email marketing campaigns for Halloween as well!
Adjust for high traffic hours: while you want to keep ads active 24/7, it is a good idea to boost ad performance during high traffic hours. This includes the hours that your store is open and when your shoppers are most likely to search.
Consider physical location: It is probable that shoppers from all parts of your city are interested in your products. But users closest to your store (20-35 km radius) are much more likely to visit. Target local shoppers by increasing bids for users that are closest to your store.
For more information on how your retail store can easily implement Google LIAs to increase foot traffic and sales, click here.
4) Add Halloween Products
If your store doesn’t sell any Halloween merchandise, you may want to consider selling seasonal items to boost your store sales. After all, Halloween is a billion dollar industry.
To help you decide which items to sell/what would work best for your store, think about referencing last year’s shopping trends (shown above).
The following are some good examples of how retailers can add in popular seasonal offerings:
Fall is fast approaching, and for Canadian retailers this means gearing up for the Thanksgiving long weekend.
Although Canadian Thanksgiving isn’t as closely associated with shopping (compared to the U.S. holiday), retailers can still create a unique experience for shoppers.
Keep reading to find out how you can gobble up your fair share of sales this Thanksgiving weekend.
3 Thanksgiving Marketing Strategies to Help you Sell More
1) Have an Attitude of Gratitude
Thanksgiving is the ideal occasion to express your gratitude to shoppers. At the same time, it’s an opportunity to excite them with upcoming Thanksgiving promotions and discounts.
So thank loyal customers for their business by offering them something in return – in the form of special deals, coupons, or gifts! The following is a list of possible promotions you can run during the weekend:
A Free Gift with Every Purchase: This promotion type encourages shoppers to make a purchase by offering more value for the same price. In order to create a sense of urgency among customers, retailers should stress that the promotion is limited and exclusive. Meaning that the gift is only offered for a certain period of time and until stock runs out. For example, think about using the words “while supplies last” or “offer valid from October 6-14” on your promotional materials.
Percentage Discount: This is the most straight-forward and popular promotion type. Seasonal discounts help attract new customers and get rid of slow moving or seasonal stock.
Buy One, Get One Free: Studies show that offering shoppers something for free is oftentimes more effective than a discount. You can pair high-margin items with slow moving stock. Or, you can increase the amount of items required in the promotion. For example, “Buy 3, Get 1 Free”. The Body Shop is a retailer that frequently and effectively employs this promotion strategy.
Once you’ve gotten your promotion strategy in place, make use of digital marketing tools to spread the word about your’s store Thanksgiving promotions. An email marketing campaign and social media are both effective tools that will help generate a buzz and increase foot traffic for your store.
Listed below are best practices to follow for creating an email marketing campaign that converts subscribers to shoppers:
Include an incentive in the subject line. Many business owners overlook the importance of email subject lines. If your email headline does not grab the attention of shoppers (even if it is drafted to perfection), it is unlikely that anyone will open it. By including an incentive in the subject line, you can improve your email open rate. An example of a compelling, incentive-driven subject line is,”35% Off Thanksgiving promotion starts tomorrow”.
There are many ways to give back to the community this Thanksgiving season.
One way is to partner up with a local food bank by holding a canned food drive at your physical storefront. Not only does this showcase your store’s community support, it also helps drive foot traffic to your store. Create incentives for shoppers to donate by giving a % discount to every shopper who drops by your retail business with canned food.
You don’t necessarily have to partner up with a food bank either. Think about teaming up with a local organization that is related to your business. For example:
A pet food store could partner with an animal shelter.
A women’s clothing store could team up with a domestic violence shelter in the area.
Health food stores could work with local homeless shelters.
Supporting a cause that both you and your shoppers believe in will help you build brand awareness and create new marketing opportunities for your retail business.
Get Ready For Halloween and Black Friday
Remember, Thanksgiving sets the stage for Halloween and Black Friday – two of the biggest shopping days of the year. So it’s a great opportunity to generate a buzz and get shoppers excited for upcoming promotions and deals!
Did you find this article helpful?
We will be posting more holiday marketing tips in the upcoming weeks.
It is generally good practice to ask shoppers to leave a review after they have made a purchase from your store. Also think of asking loyal and long-term shoppers who have not made a purchase in a while.
How you ask for reviews is equally as important as when you ask for them – which brings us to the next point.
2. Make it Easy
Shoppers are unlikely to leave review if the process is difficult. The easier the review process is for your store, the more reviews you are likely to gather.
Below are a few ways you can make it simple for your shoppers to leave a review.
1) Create Review Cards
Create physical “drop us a review” cards with your store’s short URL. Place them near checkout and remind your employees to hand them out to shoppers after they make a purchase. You will want to go over best practices with your employees.
It’s best for employees to hand them out to shoppers who have had a pleasant experience at the store. For example, your staff should look out for the following situations:
if an employee had a positive interaction with a shopper in-store
if a shopper was experiencing a problem and are grateful for your store’s customer service.
It is obviously a good idea to avoid handing them out to unpleasant or rude shoppers.
You can also create a reward system within the store for your staff. Create incentives for your employees; reward the staff member who hands out the most review cards or generates the most reviews.
2) Send a follow-up text or email
Go mobile by sending shoppers a follow-up text or create an email campaign. Here are a few tips for what to include in your follow-up text or email:
personalize the email or text : you can personalize the message by including the shopper’s name. Not only do personalized messages make shoppers feel important, they are proven to have a higher open rate as well.
keep it short : make sure your message is short, simple, and straight to the point.
Include the short review URL : shoppers will not take the time out of their day to find your Google My Business account. Once you claim your short name on Google My Business, you will have access to a short URL that will directs shoppers to leave a review (shown below).
To get access to your short URL for reviews, you must first claim your short name. To find out more information about Google My Business short names and the steps you must take to claim your short name, click here.
3. You will see the “Get more reviews” box on the right side of the page – as shown below. Copy your short URL for reviews to share in your email or text message.
4) Add a Review Link on your Store’s Website
Include a review link or button on relevant pages of your store’s website. This might be your contact page, thank-you page, or even a section on your homepage.
5) Incentivize shoppers
Offering shoppers a reward or incentive for leaving a review is a great way to gather more Google My Business reviews. Effective incentives include a $15 gift card or store credit, loyalty points, store merchandise etc.
6) Include a Review Link in your Email signature
Adding a short and simple call to action in your email signature is another effective way to gather Google My Business reviews. For example, “Your opinion is important to us! Drop us a review at [GMB short URL].”
This strategy is especially important for retailers who regularly email their customers.
Responding to Reviews
Once you’ve set up a process for gathering reviews, your focus needs to shift to responding to them effectively.
Responding to reviews shows potential shoppers that you value good customer service. It also shows shoppers that their opinions will be heard and leaving a review is worth their time.
For more information on how to respond to reviews, click here.
We hope you found this article helpful!
Would you like to learn how to attract local shoppers on Google?
Good news – we are hosting a breakfast seminar exclusively for GTA store owners! We will be discussing how you can attract more local shoppers with POS technology among other important topics. To learn more about the event and to register, click here.