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10 Top Ideas To Increase Footfall This Festive Season

The consumer has become smarter and technology more affordable. In spite of it all, the fact remains that instant gratification drives most people to buy whatever they intend to buy. And the best place to get what one wants 'here and now' is a local store nearby. Let us see 10 ways local stores could enhance their business in this new age too. 

Come winter and we see celebrations around the country take centerstage. Though it starts quite into September, most festivities line up to dazzle only weeks later. September starts Navratri, Durga Puja and Dusshera. October brings the Danteras, Diwali and Bhai Dooj. Soon follows Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year Eve in November and December. Although each of these festivities is relevant to the respective communities, the celebration pulls in everyone together as that's what Indian tradition is all about.

Everyone's Ready to Buy

Needless to say, families and youth save up for these days. They buy new clothes, buy new jewellery, deck themselves up and also have plans made to visit their kith and kin, friends and relatives and extend warmth and happiness to all whom they care for. While its glitter and glamour everywhere, it also means busy streets and shops full of customers. Then again, it's easier said than done unless you as businesses are geared up.

Now For Some Facts & Figures

India replaced China to be the most promising market for retail expansion recently. This was supported by our expanding economy, coupled with booming consumption rates, urbanizing population and a growing middle class. Where India’s retail market in 2016 was US$ 641 billion, by 2020 it is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10 per cent to US$ 1.6 trillion, according to a recent report published by the India Brand Equity Foundation.

Local Marketing

While most consumers may be enamoured by the online discounts and offers, the fact remains that Instant Gratification drives most people to buy whatever they intend to buy, from a local store. The comparison with the online prices will be done, however many of them would weigh the pros of having the opportunity to check what they buy before they make the purchase. Thus, Local Marketing becomes essential to bring in footfall from the nearby locality and make the most of their impulses.

Here are TEN sure-shot ways to make sure your shops are buzzing with buys:

1. Social Media Marketing

You have to bring the customers into your store and there is nothing cheper and better than using Social Media. Social Media as a tool of marketing is being used for a long time now by a lot of businesses. However, the fact remains that the potential of marketing and advertising on Social Media is not something anyone has realized optimally yet. For instance, though Facebook has been alive since ages and has the most number of users, in some cases, Instagram is fast gaining popularity and has been proven to be better than Facebook to advertise on.

It has to be noted that posting offers on personal and business Social Media profiles once in a while, is NOT Social Media Marketing. Social Media marketing is a regular exercise of engaging productively with your target audience and using it as a tool of communication. Advertising is key to any business today and including Google Ads and Facebook Ads is the best way forward to leverage the utmost potential of the two giant platforms most frequently used by consumers everywhere.

2. Extensive Mobile Advertising

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the number of mobile (wireless) phone subscribers in India has crossed the 1 billion mark to clock 1.17 billion in April of 2017. And the number of smartphones in India has over 300 million users today. This just says that the importance of mobiles in India can no more be taken lightly. Moreover, with the absence of ad blockers and default privacy settings not limiting the possibility of advertising on Smartphones, this would be the best way to reach out to larger audience, as long as you know who you wish to target.

Engaging in Mobile based advertising campaigns including SMS advertising would prove the most effective mode of outreach today.

3. Listing on e-Commerce Marketplaces

Whether you wish to sell online or not, showcasing your products online is always a winner. It is not a less known fact that consumers nowadays are more powerful negotiators thanks to their smartphones. Most of them will research for the products and prices online and then come in to strike a deal with you. Complaining whether it's the right thing to do or not is not helpful at all. The best way is to list your own products on Online Marketplaces and be ready for people's questions. If need be and the customer is willing to wait it out, it's smart to redirect them to your eCommerce pages and let them make their purchases on there. This will ensure you retain your prices and yet get the sale, instead of losing the business.

While the store purchases are still high, the momentum of shift to online sales being significant has already reached a fair distance. Research firm RedSeer Consulting recently released a report that showed that while the Flipkart group (Flipkart.com, Myntra.com and Jabong.com) accounted for 58% of the gross merchandise value (GMV) during the festive season sales online, Amazon raked in a comfortable 26% share in the same duration. Thus making these websites a good bet for your products to be on. And this hardly costs you anything until the purchases are made.

4. Accepting Digital Payments

Better late than losing out. While there can be all crib and cry about demonetization and how it has affected businesses, what is more sensible is to take advantage of it and be prepared to cater to the new ways of buying. Digital wallets and payment instruments have garnered enough of captive audience to take them seriously. Introducing various ways of payment including digital money, debit/credit/cash cards and newer forms of payments such as insta-loans and bank loyalty points will not just bring in a new breed of people, it would also be a easier purchase for those who have these.

5. Community Tie-ups

Banking all your bucks on the walk-ins would be nothing shy of a foolish approach. Most close knit communities like shopping together and also like being validated amidst their own groups. Tying up with specific communities and special interest groups, such as associations would not only help you ease your outreach, it would also ensure more people come together to shop with you.

6. Special Invitation & Deals for Loyal Customers

Where there will be new walk-ins, missing out on the regulars would be a blunder to commit. Those who like you, deserve to be liked back. Sending them special invites and welcoming them for an exclusive sale, a day or two before you announce the actual sale, would make them feel privileged and thus would not want to miss the offer. This would be a bonus for creating new loyalists as those who like showing their special status off, will brag about this special treatment to their envious friends.

7. Facade Festive Theme & Special Discounts

Let's admit, unless the awareness of the shop's existence and offers are not in-the-face, it is easy to get lost in the plethora of shops, in and around. The intention of celebration brings in a particular warmth and comfort that will make the customers want to linger around more looking at your gorgeous wares and make purchases as soon as they like something as much. Thus it is essential for every retail outlet to set the stage for buying to take place easily. We suggest, not to shy away to decorate your outlet with a chosen theme and go the extent of putting out your best offers displayed elaborately and boldly outside your shop.

8. Customized Discounts & Freebies

While there will be the quick decision makers, there will always be the ones who are overwhelmed by the choice displayed in stores. For those who you see are very keen to stay put in your store and are having trouble deciding between multiple options, it's best to extend a personalized offer to calm their worries and go for both. Throwing in a deal or a freebie would not just keep them from taking even longer to decide, thus occupying prime real estate, the happy faces will also be magnets to new customers walking by and admiring your products through your windows.

9. Specially Trained Staff

Most transactions are lost in transit. This means that most customers in a store, walk away without buying just because they were not convinced with the knowledge of the salesperson.

It's a great practice to train everyone to know everything about your shop and products they need to know to answer customer queries. However, for lack of time and trust, it is always helpful to have some specially trained staff who know the nitigrities about your wares including the prices and the margin of negotiation, so that the customer has no reason to look at the door until they have made their purchase.

Training these special staff on use of POS machines, card readers to process transactions and even awareness of all the modes of payments and offers running, is a great deal helpful to seal more deals. Being secretive and manipulative to gain quick profits is a sure sign of you being wiped out of the competition soon, irrespective of how long your business has stayed or how experienced you are in your line of trade.

10. State-of-the-Art Security Measures

Where there are going to be people, there are going to be mistakes and pilferage. If you are expecting a lot of customers walking into your premises, you will have to take the responsibility of being safe too. The smaller the shop the greater the opportunity. Having CCTV cameras are just not enough. Tags on all wares, tag readers to scan them, staff who are keen and observant and also POS machines that can track and alert every sale is a must. Sorting wares according to their sizes, styles and discounts is also a wonderful way of showing that you are well organized and care for the consumer to navigate your store quickly.

This fits indirectly into the whole schema of increasing footfalls. When a shop has more security and organizing measures, the honest customers feel more secure and will appreciate the fact that you care for the details.

Inference

The ways and means of attracting the attention of your target audience and presenting your products to exceed their expectations is vital for ensuring you rake in the profits this season. This is universally applicable irrespective of the type of business you operate. More importantly, it's also essential to understand that building a relationship with your customer only ensures you do not have to deal with uncertainties all the while.

Here's wishing you a great season of business and prosperity! 

This is a YourStory community post, written by one of our readers.The images and content in this post belong to their respective owners. If you feel that any content posted here is a violation of your copyright, please write to us at mystory@yourstory.com and we will take it down. There has been no commercial exchange by YourStory for the publication of this article.
I am a Marketing Maverick focusing on Optimising Revenue, Reach and Brand Respect through Innovation | http://angel.co/brandbull

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