5 Ways To Attract Customers To Your Retail Store

Maintain an attractive storefront

People do judge books by their covers, and when passing a store that is new to them, most will decide whether or not to enter based on its appearance. Although you may not have total control over the storefront’s appearance (as a franchisee, or a mall resident), there are some simple ways to work with what you have. For instance, decorate with the seasons – you don’t have to go all out, but showing that you are excited about what the current season has to offer, and how that fits into your merchandise, will get potential customers excited about it as well.

Greet each customer 

Although this seems like common sense, it happens less often than you think. Store owners and employees can get wrapped up in their work and forget to greet their customers, which leads to a customer awkwardly walking around the store, and the employee awkwardly wondering if they should approach them. Make it a habit to greet each customer the minute you hear the door open – something as simple as hello or good morning will make the customer feel acknowledged and at ease, and open up dialogue.

Increase the ambiance 

Studies show that smell influences intent when visiting a store, and increasing the overall ambience of a store can also increase spending. According to the study, shoppers were more likely to buy in a scented store than an unscented one. While burning a mildly scented candle is one way to go, there are actually companies that perfect the scent for retail stores, based on the merchandise.

Social media

Create and update a Facebook page for your business, and actually use it! Interact with customers, ask them questions about what they’d like to see in stock, what items they want to see go. When people ask questions, respond and start a dialogue. It is disheartening to visit a Facebook page and see a lot of unanswered posts from customers. Offer Facebook only discounts, and start contests with your shoppers. Using Facebook regularly is one of the easiest ways you can build your customer base and spread the word about your store.

Offer discount days 

An easy way to bring in repeat business is to offer discount days. Do you own a clothing boutique? Offer 10% off scarves every Wednesday. Coffee shop? Offer a medium coffee for the price of a small on Thursdays. Bakery? Muffins are bogo on Mondays. This is a simple and cost effective way to keep your customers looking forward to visiting your store on a regular basis.

Protecting Your Business and Customers From Data Breaches

With the abundance of security breaches recently, internet and data security should be at the top of your list – not only for the safety and privacy of your business, but for that of your customers. Stay Safe Online, powered by the National Cyber Security Alliance, offers the following tips on protecting your small business and your customers from data breaches.

Update Your Technology

Now is a great time to update your virus protection programs and add malware protection to your systems. Periodically changing your passwords is always a good idea, and the best passwords are long and complex, with a variety of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters, if allowed. If your company offers WiFi to the public, make sure that it is not the same one you are using for your operations.

Be Careful With The Cloud 

Nearly everyone uses the cloud to save their data, in some way. Unfortunately, as recent celebrity photo thefts show, it’s vulnerable to attacks. The good news is, just like your personal computer, you can take steps to insure that your information is kept safe. The first step is to use a reputable provider. Do your homework – make sure the provider has support and security measures in place. Do they have 24/7 monitoring? Do they use two factor authentication? A reputable provider will offer this. Use SSL encryption to pass data from your website to a web server. Encrypt your stored data, thereby making it useless if hackers do manage to get to it.

Protect Your Customers

Stay Safe Online recommends that you have, and follow, a privacy policy that explains to your customers what data you collect and what you intend to do with it. Once you’re finished with the data, delete it completely. You can download programs that will enable you to overwrite files permanently.

Train Your Employees

Periodically remind your employees to change their passwords, and make sure they know to never open links that appear suspicious. If it looks like spam, it usually is. Limit their downloads to approved sources. Unknown programs with malicious intent can use the same names as legitimate downloads – insure they are downloading from the actual source. Your employees also need to understand the importance of protecting sensitive data, and how failing to do so can impact them, the business, and the customer.