Smart retailers know that their storefront is a crucial part of the marketing process. A storefront that converts a healthy percentage of people who walk or drive by your business is an essential part of retail store marketing.
1. “That place with the ____________ in the window”
Place something memorable in your storefront which people will come to recognize and remember over time.
When people are talking about your business, they should be able to say “it’s the place with the _____ in the window”, and their friend should reply “oh yeah, I’ve seen that place”.
Done correctly, this strategy increases the number of people who remember where your business is, who you are, and what you sell.
2. What Makes You Different/Better?
Everyone who passes by your store should understand what makes you different or better than competitors.
Your unique selling proposition should be obvious to every person who walks or drives by your storefront.
What makes you different from everybody else in town? Why should I choose you?
3. Promote Your Website and/or Social Media Accounts
Your store window is a great place to promote your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, your website, or even your weekly/monthly e-mail newsletter.
The best way to gain online followers is to promote one really good reason why people should follow you in your storefront.
What’s in it for them? What benefits will I receive by following you online?
4. Position Yourself as a “Guru” or “Expert”
People are creatures of habit. Most of the people who pass by your store do so on at least a semi-regular basis.
Because of this, ongoing “Tip of the Week” or “Did You Know” campaigns can be really effective at positioning yourself as the go-to-guru in your field over a period of time.
Simply put a new tip or fact in your window every day or week. Over time, people who pass by regularly will come to respect your knowledge, and will come to you when they are ready to purchase your product or service.
This strategy can also lead to referrals. People will repeat your tips in conversations when talking to friends or family, and will often say where they saw the tip. Shocking statistics or interesting facts about your industry make great word-of-mouth material.
5. Limited Time Offers
You can always count on people for one thing – procrastination. Smart retailers feature a new limited time offer in their storefront display every week, or sometimes even every day.
This is probably the cheapest strategy in this list, because all you need is a red felt marker and a piece of poster paper.
6. Storefront Freebees/Samplers
A children’s toy store tied balloons to the front of their store with a sign that said “TAKE ONE”. A pet store placed a free dog treat dispenser in front of their store so that people walking their dog past the store could give their companion a treat.
In both cases, a cheap freebee attracted the exact target market they were looking for. In both cases, the promotion built customer loyalty, boosted awareness of the store, and led to favourable word of mouth advertising.
If you have nothing to give away, try leaving a brochure or informational pamphlet on a small table in front of your store with a small sign drawing attention to it.
7. Menu/List of Services
Sometimes the best storefront marketing strategy is the simplest. Simply make a list of all the products/services you offer. People are hesitant to walk into a new place unless they have a rough idea what they sell.
This worked great for a marketing company I worked for. The name of the company didn’t convey the wide range of services we provided. By providing a comprehensive list, people who passed by often saw something they needed and dropped in to ask about it.
It is amazing how many storefronts have dirty walls and dusty windows. The cleaner your storefront, the better your public image will be. This applies to clutter as well. Retail stores with cluttered storefront displays turn-off prospective customers.
Keeping your storefront signage up-to-date is another important investment most business owners don’t budget for. While signs are expensive, properly designed signs generate new business. Look at your storefront signage as a profit center, not a cost center. Update your sign every 2-4 years as styles and designs change.
Branding involves using a coordinated set of imagery, fonts, colors, and styles to create a personality for your business.
This used to be expensive, but today graphic design students are hungry to build up their portfolios. Many quality freelance graphic designers charge as little as $300 for logo design and other design services.
Imagery is also cheaper than ever. Stock imagery websites like www.fotolia.com offer professional quality images for as little as $1. Browse their collection, and you are sure to find some great images related to your business.
Dafont, www.dafont.com, is a great online library containing thousands of fonts. Choosing the perfect font for your business, and using it consistently across every medium, is an important part of branding.
10. Study Other Retailers
The best way to generate new storefront marketing ideas is to study other retailers. What are the multi-million dollar retailers doing to drive pedestrian traffic into their stores? What are the mom-and-pop shops in your area doing? How can you build on or adapt those approaches to your own industry?
When you travel, watch how businesses in other countries approach storefront marketing. Businesses in different countries have discovered different approaches, and many are adaptable to other markets. In fact, adapting strategies from other countries can be the best way to stand out in your own market.