Lockdowns are over and now businesses are picking up after the pandemic. People now enjoy in-person shopping and dining. How can your business get a fair share of the market? One sure way is by increasing foot traffic through your doors and turning visitors into loyal customers.
Needless to say, you also need to measure and understand the demographics of people who frequent your area. You need to ask: Are they mere passers-by or do they stop to see your place? What places have the most foot traffic? Does activity in your business stir enough interest for them to come in? What are the peak hours, days, weeks, months, and seasons for diners to come?
Getting answers to these are will help maximize your business’ potential.
Measuring foot traffic is the first step and there are a number of ways to accurately record the number of people who visit your restaurant. Counting is easy. There are even apps and gadgets that can help you automate this activity with accuracy without hurting your bottom line.
Easier said than done, you say? Granted, there are challenges. But once you do it regularly, you’ll find that it is not that complicated. It is also worth the effort to learn about measuring foot traffic.
Simply put, foot traffic is the number of customers that enter a store, mall, or location. Many define a customer as a person with whom a sale is consummated, as opposed to a ‘visitor’ or ‘passers-by’. But remember that the more visitors to your restaurant, the more potential customers you get, and the higher sales revenue your business reports on that period.
Several factors affect the amount of traffic taking place in your business. The weather, your location, economic factors, cycles, and your type of business and marketing style all play a part in foot traffic into your area. By being sensitive to the way your market behaves in relation to these factors, you can make adjustments so your business can continue to thrive.
How can measuring foot traffic help you? The data you gather will help you make informed decisions in running your business. It can help you forecast staffing and inventory needs during lean and peak seasons. You can also adjust marketing strategies to address less tangible factors such as the weather and economy.
Most of all, by comparing traffic levels with your sales reports you are better equipped with information to better understand your target market. It can help you drive more conversion, build a loyal customer base, and grow your market share.
You can either measure foot traffic in your store or restaurant manually, through the use of automated equipment, or a combination of both. These depend on the size and nature of your business, the number of your staff, and your budget.
Here are 6 ways you can measure customer activity in your business.
A number of applications are already available online. Thanks to these, tracking foot traffic is now automated to a level of accuracy that is never before possible. A tracking software works well together with some installed traffic scanners.
Usually installed conspicuously near entrances and exits, traffic scanners will give you customer mobility patterns accurately. Some versions can interface with trackin
Surveillance cameras and CCTVs are still the most commonly used foot traffic monitoring equipment. With CCTVs, you can view (and count!) visitors in any given time and space in your store. Plus, you can also track the routes most visitors take in your store. This gives you an idea of how to better lay out your products and furniture. You can even measure the average time visitors stay in your store or restaurant. Plus, surveillance cameras also add to the safety and security of your business place.
4. Using POS Reports to Measure Conversion
Point of Sales (POS) data is where you find how many shoppers actually made a purchase. Count the number of transactions your business place made in a day as generated by your POS reports. Next, compare this data with the number of shoppers or diners who entered your place to get your conversion rate. This in turn will help you plan your marketing strategy and train your staff to effectively turn opportunities into revenues.
Using a manual clicker counter may sound archaic but is still effective in tracking foot traffic. You may have to assign this task to a few staff to get an average count of people who enter your store each day. Keeping a regular, periodic tally in a log or worksheet also ensures that you get the most accurate count possible and keep a record for future analysis.
6. Customer Engagement
Getting your customer engaged can also help you measure customer loyalty and lead generation. Some restaurants, for example, encourage visitors to use their WiFi to log-in, discreetly request customer feedback and modestly ask if they are recommending their place to friends. If your business has a social media page, you can use this to count the number of loyal followers and encourage visits to your physical store.
As already discussed, the purpose of measuring visitor traffic in business is to help you plan better marketing strategies that will bring in more customers to your place of business. While many still opt to shop and order food online, people are slowly returning to malls and restaurants. If your business has a strong online presence, the likelihood of customers finding your physical store is high.
Also, as you may have noticed, your restaurant or store’s location, display, layout, and even your staff’s training can usher in more people into your business.
So, how can you use all these to bring more people into your business? Let us consider some proven, practical suggestions.
1. Keep Your Storefront Clean and Attractive
A well-maintained and fine-looking storefront will attract more visitors than one that looks rundown and shabby. Even the simplest of tasks such as sweeping the walkways to your place and keeping glass displays and windows clear can bring wonders. Make sure that daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly maintenance tasks are accomplished. Doing so will save you from spending more on sprucing-up jobs, such as repainting and remodeling, which may not be necessary until after a few years.
To the extent allowed by local regulations, add some extra attractions outside your restaurant or store, such as a standee announcing an event or your restaurant’s signature recipe. You can also try some amenities for your customers. For example, installing bike racks and repair stations sends a message that customers are welcome to park while they shop or dine. You’ll be surprised that this will bring, not only foot traffic, but bike traffic as well!
Nothing can turn away customers more than bored, inattentive sales staff. So make sure that employees are well-trained to always keep an appearance of being busy. This also applies anytime they are in the vicinity of your business and even if there are no customers around. A busy and welcoming staff is more enticing for passers-by to come and explore.
More on training, constantly retool your staff by refreshing them regularly on their skills and tasks, reminding them about the importance of customer service. Prepare them to be nice, even when faced with the most difficult customer. Sometimes, even how to keep a smiling face and greet inbound customers need some re-training. Motivate them to care about the business, to be mindful about satisfying customers, and helping other staff when necessary.
If you haven’t done so, set up a website that will showcase your products and services. Build up your online presence so that local searches will find your business when customers are looking for your products and service.
Don’t miss out on all the online action by setting up your listing for search engines such as Google and Yelp to pick up.
Optimize your listing by adding as many details as possible. Don’t forget to put your business name, your physical address, contact information, and your business hours. Encourage customers to post reviews and add a lot of visual content, including well-chosen photos of your store, products, and services. Include a 360-degree tour of your store, if possible.
Make sure that all information on your landing page is current and regularly updated. Upload more recent pictures especially when there are major changes in your store. This may take up your time, but it’s worth considering.
If you offer online sales, you can add some more features to your website such as a click-and-collect service. Some customers prefer to have a drop point other than their own address or choose to pick up from the store if the choice is offered. This will not only increase sales but also adds foot traffic to your physical location.
Have you heard about Google’s Local Inventory Ads? This service enables stores to post their local inventory information online. This way, once a customer searches for a product on Google, and you happen to have it in your inventory, Google will include it in their virtual storefront. They will also show your store address, business hours, and contact information. Next thing you know, the customers may be getting directions to your store from Google Maps and showing up in front of your door!
Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have proven effective in drawing in more customers to many businesses.
An opportunity to explore, this time on social media, is Facebook Ads. You can use FB Ads to send incentives to customers such as codes and virtual coupons. You can track when they claim the these from your page. Finally, when they avail of the incentive in your store or restaurant, you’ll see how much revenue it generates. Facebook even has a “Store Visits” setting and maps to guide followers to your place.
To keep your social media account interesting, regularly post on your page about events in your business such as promotions, partnerships with other local enterprises, and other special events.
Speaking of promotions, partnerships, and special events, these remain some of the most effective ways to get people to come to your place. However, these in-person campaigns must be enticing enough for customers and passers-by to inspect.
Promotions have become commonplace on special seasons so much that standing out from the competition presents a challenge. So when planning one, collect and analyze data on your target audience before deciding on the promotional items and services to offer.
Choose your most loyal customers. Let them know of these events and promos in advance. Partner with local businesses to provide a healthy variety of products and services to offer. You may even give out gift vouchers redeemable only personally.
This is where a strong customer relationship management system comes into play to collect information from your most loyal customers, including their interactions with you on their first few visits. This will give you insight into your customers’ buying behavior and helps you figure out how to get conversion from new visitors.
6. Build-up Customer Loyalty
Another tool on the internet that bring foot traffic to your business is email marketing.
Sending newsletters to your customers updates them on the latest events and offers in your store. You can also send a birthday greeting in advance to your customer along with the newsletter for a more personal appeal.
In each newsletter you send, encourage in-person visits as a call to action by giving away exclusive offers which can be availed only on-site. The more frequently they receive updates from you, the more they are reminded of their experience with your business.
Remember that one satisfied customer will bring in more traffic by being your ambassador to their friends and families. Focus on building customer loyalty. This is especially important in service-type businesses and restaurants.
Now you know what foot traffic is and why it is a challenge to encourage more visits. Also, you learned how to harness this activity in your place of business. It’s time to implement these in your store, shop, or restaurant.
The next goal is to turn more passers-by into customers and keep them coming. With a no-nonsense approach to customer service, employee training, and consistent professional management of your store, you can be assured that customer loyalty will naturally follow. Your satisfied customers will bring in more visitors by telling about your business to their family and friends. New customers will come in for the experience and growth will derive organically.
For this to follow through, you need to gather as much reliable data about your customer base without compromising private information. Encourage customer feedback and get better online reviews now and reap the rewards later.
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