You know that friend who always tells it like it is? The one whose opinions you absolutely trust and you know they’d never lead you astray? That’s me..hey!
When meeting with clients for consulting sessions, I always like to do a little research beforehand. If they tell me their foot traffic has died down, I want to be able to give real, viable answers and possible reasons as to why it’s happening, you know?
So today, I want to share what I’m seeing out there in the industries I’ve worked alongside over the last year. I’d love to share my tips on how to get more local clientele and customers into your store. Because the overall sales industry has changed so drastically in the last year alone and will continue to change over the years to come, this message may not be something that works say, 10 years from now. But, it works today.
I’d love to hear any issues YOU are having with your store on a local level in the comments below.
1: You’re using the wrong geotag on Instagram.
One of the main things people tell you when utilizing instagram stories is that you should geotag your location. What they don’t tell you is that it doesn’t mean your actual store. Here’s the thing: if you geotag your store and no one is searching for that location (because 9/10 times they won’t be), you aren’t getting any traction with it.
Try this instead:
When you add an instagram story, set it in stories of three. The first story, add the location of the actual town you’re in, not the store. The second two instagram stories, add the surrounding closest towns. Give it a few hours and check the stats to see where people are viewing from the most! This is especially good if you have a new arrival, big sale, or event going on.
2: You’re assuming you don’t need a website.
You would think being a website designer & developer, I would be pushing the sell of an online store to everyone but if you thought that, you couldn’t be further from the actual truth. The thing is, I don’t think everyone is fit for an online store. Some businesses can’t house the second inventory nor do they have the budget for it and then again, some businesses don’t have the time to allocate to an online store and know their target customer is already shopping in-person. But, one thing you’re missing is that most local customers will google you before ever setting foot in your door. You want to look more professional than ever and this is how you’ll do it.
Try this instead:
Create a simple 1-2 page website that details who you are, what products you sell, what brands you sell, any upcoming events or promotions, and quick FAQs answered. A few FAQs I like to see on websites are store hours, contact information, return policy, and why you don’t sell online. If you do offer shipping of items seen on Instagram and Facebook, let them know that and how they can go about ordering something they’ve seen on social media. This process is seamless and saves you the headache of answering questions like “why can’t I shop online?” or “do you have a website?”
3: You’re worrying about competition.
I know that housing a non-competition mindset can be difficult when owning a brick and mortar store. I’ve seen the interesting moments when your competitor sends someone in to check your prices (gasp – seriously.) I’ve seen the cattiness that can go down between two businesses selling the same products in a 20 mile radius. It isn’t pretty! But, have you ever considered focusing on your own growth? I know, I know – you’re thinking “Kait, that isn’t so easy.” But listen to me: when you spend all your time worrying about what they’re doing, they’re spending their time worrying about what THEY are also doing. They aren’t focused on you. If you took half of the time you spent worrying over your competition and instead had 30 minute creative brainstorming sessions for new campaigns, ads, and upcoming events – you’d be surprised what it’ll do for your business and your focus.
Try this instead:
Stop playing the “I need to block all of them from social media” game. Stop bad-mouthing them, stop worrying about them. Instead, schedule a 30 minute brainstorming session with your team 3-4 times a week during work hours to come up with exciting new ideas for promotions. Find a new way to re-merchandise your store via some Pinterest ideas (I have a whole board on visual merchandising here). You can also mute them if you currently follow them and find yourself scrolling through their photos constantly.
4: You have no time for social media.
I know you’re busy trying to keep your store afloat, trust me – I get that. But the biggest issue you’ll have when you forego actually putting effort into social media is that one day you’ll look up and realize that your foot traffic has died down and you’ll feel entirely left behind on instagram, facebook, and everything else.
Try this instead:
Instead of feeling overwhelmed, try scheduling a set day to take photos and create posts. You can then schedule them for the week and let social media do the work on your behalf. Then, you can check in periodically throughout the day and answer questions. And please, make sure you’re answering questions. I get so frustrated looking at instagram accounts, seeing alllll these questions left unanswered. Those are your bread and butter, those are the people supporting you – it takes two seconds to answer them. And, when you schedule your social media posts for the week, it frees your time up to have more instagram stories to share new arrivals and fun behind the scenes moments. I’ve heard a lot of great responses from retailers who utilize my guide, Socially Automated. If you find yourself struggling with keeping consistent content, it may be the right guide to help you get on track!
5: You’re overwhelmed and bored so you quit social media entirely.
I GET IT. You spend your days trying to figure out payroll and sales and trying to find new creative ways to get attention but in all reality, you’re just plain overwhelmed and tired. You want to know how to get customers into your store but you’re just done. Who has the time to come up with fresh ideas? But, I think this is where retailers overthink it. I think we’re constantly told, as business owners, to do XYZ but in reality – we just need to do what feels natural. SELL OURSELVES. Stop overthinking every post, stop trying to make everything SO PERFECT.
Try this instead:
Instead of feeling like you should push product all the time, try having a little fun. Get to know your target market and what they like and only share that. Regram fun quotes. Share why you began your business in the first place, share the fun local event you’re attending. Give your customers and followers a reason to follow you besides the products you’re selling. It’s 2019 – no one wants to be sold to. So, if you’re experiencing a little push back with your foot traffic, this could be why. Create a personal connection first and I promise you profit will follow.
A few Instagram story ideas:
- Staff Members Days: share one staff member per day and let them share their favorite pieces in-store, try them on, and maybe even host an instagram live if they’re comfortable to chat about the pieces and answer questions.
- Explore Your City: This a great option for the weekends + great way to connect with other local shops to potentially help one another. You (or even a staff member) can showcase local events and cute shops that you’ve found in your city to encourage a community over competition mindset. Host fun Q+A sessions with the owner. It doesn’t have to be someone in your niche. If you’re a boutique owner, chat with a sweets shop! You can even create a unique hashtag for this so others can follow along and share their own excursions in your city.
- Unboxing Day – When you receive new inventory, share the unboxing on Instagram and put it in your highlights! People LOVE to see the unboxing although all of us who have ever worked in a stockroom understand it isn’t so glamorous (haha!)
- Pinterest Inspiration: Share your favorite bloggers looks or what looks are inspiring you for the new season!
- Staff Parties: You can share behind the scenes fun from staff parties or events you’re having!
- Throwback Thursday: This is so fun for me to watch because it gives you the opportunity to share how far you’ve come with your business and lets your followers really get to know you!
6: You’re spending your days on Pinterest, not getting any traction.
Business owners literally flock to the internet for creative ways to get attention to their business – we know this, we are all business owners. But gosh, you’re coming across these articles telling you to do XYZ and you’re doing them when they probably aren’t even something meant for you. For example, PINTEREST. Now, do I love Pinterest? YES. I am ride or die on the Pinterest train but that’s because the service I sell is something that isn’t tangible and is sold online and can be sold to anyone throughout this entire world. I have clients in France, Asia, UK, the US and the list goes on – so I’m using Pinterest to keep growing my clientele. But friend, if you don’t have a website or even sell online – don’t waste your time. That’s traffic you don’t need.
Try this instead:
Really map out what your target market enjoys and where they are. Have you seen any really great feedback from an instagram post? Do more of what worked! Are they responding to events? Do more of those! If you have twitter and they aren’t on twitter, stop using it and leave it stagnant with your information. USE WHAT WORKS. Stop doing 10 things when you really need 2. If you aren’t physically selling anything online, utilize facebook and instagram. Heck, you can even autoshare to facebook if Instagram is your primary source of customers. Work smarter, not harder.
Overall, I want you to know it doesn’t have to be so complicated and the most important thing you will EVER DO in your business is to create an actual schedule. What days will you work on social media? What days will you manage buying aspects? What days will you work on re-merchandising? Having a schedule to stick to keeps you from running in circles. Stop listening to what other retailers are telling you to do and focus on what YOUR target market wants from you and responds to. If they loved the events you threw last year, do more of those. Do what works!