Baby, It’s Cold Outside: 7 Tips for Attracting Foot Traffic as the Weather Turns
Nov 23, 2015
By: Cathie Ericson
If you’re a business that depends on foot traffic, the prospect of the impending cold, rainy or snowy weather can send a chill down your spine, as people hunker down and turn to online shopping.
And whether it’s a repeat of Snowpocalypse or just an unexpectedly blustery day, it can impact your revenue. Even if your shoppers do return at a later date, that can be cold comfort if the storm falls during a crucial weekend or holiday period.
"The key to increasing foot traffic during cold weather is to project your brick-and-mortar store as a warm and inviting place," says marketing consultant Sharron Senter.
Adverse weather doesn’t have to have a negative effect on your business. Here are seven tips to attract customers even when the weather outside is frightful.
1. Promote close and convenient parking
Let's face it: In inclement weather, customers will not want to trek very far to shop. So if you have parking in close proximity, it’s important to promote that continually on your website and social media channels.
2. Offer something that an online store can’t
Whether it’s assistance in choosing that just-right dress, or advice on a knitting project, brick-and-mortar stores can excel with the personal touch. And make sure your merchandise is specially curated, as well: The Pulse of the Online Shopper™ survey found that 61% of the 93% of consumers who shop at small retailers choose them because they offer unique products.
3. Offer a reason to buy right now
If a customer can purchase something from you "later" and remain home to keep warm, then they will, Senter says. Therefore she advocates giving them a concrete reason to visit you — either by offering a steep discount or promoting something limited or hard to find.
“For example, if you only have 10 of a very special product, then you'll want to promote its limited supply as aggressively as possible. People will jump off the couch for something they may not be able to get a few days from now,” she says.
4. Piggyback onto in-demand businesses before a huge storm
If your store is located on the way to gas stations or grocery stores, use social media to suggest consumers stop by as they head out to grab milk and bread, Senter says. Make sure to tout a special sale or any items your store might sell that tie into the weather event, from craft supplies to books to warm gloves.
5. Band together
Independently owned neighborhood shops in Portland, Oregon, have developed an initiative called “Little Boxes,” where they encourage cross-traffic through a special app and raffles for visitors who visit multiple stores. Knowing there’s a pay-off might encourage shoppers to hit just one more store (like yours!) on a windy afternoon.
6. Light a fire under your visitors — literally
Send the message that it’s cozy inside. Consider offering complimentary hot chocolate and tea so your visitors can warm up.
7. Don’t despair
Even if foot traffic wanes during a particular time period, take heart in a recent A.T. Kearney study, which found that two-thirds of consumers who purchase online also visit the physical store before or after the transaction. And while there, more than 20% are apt to make additional purchases.
About the Author
Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer covering business and consumer topics. She creates branded content for Fortune 500 companies, and her work has appeared in LearnVest, Costco Magazine, Forbes, TheGlassHammer.com and IDEA Fitness. Follow her @cathieericson.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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