Online retail attracts a lot of attention — and with good reason. It generates hundreds of billions of dollars in business from customers each year. What we often overlook in all the hype around e-commerce is how its volume compares to all retail sales. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the fourth quarter of 2021, online retail accounted for 12.9% of total sales.
What should we take away from this statistic? Even with a strong e-commerce presence, most business is conducted face-to-face. The value of foot traffic into your physical store cannot be underestimated.
There are plenty of obstacles deterring customers from walking into your shop. We’re all busy, and online ordering can be done whenever and wherever you want. And the biggest challenge is the most recent. The changes COVID-19 brought to buying habits could take years to reverse.
In hopes of retaining and growing your existing base of engraving business while attracting new customers, here are three tips to keep your shop door swinging and the cash register ringing:
1. Be active and visible in your local community
People like to buy from businesses that support local groups. Join and participate in your school’s booster club, the Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club, etc. This is especially important if your business is new.
Network with people from all walks of life. Be an active volunteer. Establish and grow relationships with the influencers in these groups. They are the people who make decisions on what gifts or awards to give and where to buy them.
2. Showcase what makes you unique
The last thing you want to hear is, “Oh, I didn’t know you did that!” Create a “New Products” section in your store. Update regularly, so customers see something new each month or quarter when they pick up an order. If your floor space is limited, rotate products around the store.
Remember, first impressions are important! Present a showroom that is clean, organized, and inviting.
3. Promote yourself as a consultant to customers
Customers like a personalized touch. They want someone who can help them through the process. They need someone who’s done it before. Someone like you! Share your expertise, and you’ll win a customer who is more loyal and more likely to visit again next time.
Have an area in your store where you can lay out samples and easily access swatch samples of material to help customers through the design process. Want to encourage a loyal customer to try something different? Personalize a sample of one of your new products and present it to them the next time they pick up an order.
Even if customers place their order online, you have an opportunity when they pick it up to visit with them. Ask questions about their organization and offer advice for the next time they place an order.
Attracting customers inside your store will take extra effort. Over time, little steps taken each day will produce big results.