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Ever wonder why a particular shop attracts a horde of customers while the one next to it is never even given a second look? Visual merchandising has a lot to do with it but then, maintaining and increasing footfall goes beyond that. Any storeowner understands that the higher the number of people who visits his store, the greater their chance of making a purchase, thus driving sales. To convert customers into cash or sales involves several elements, four of which are as follows:
• Location – When it comes to setting up business, the tried and tested mantra of “location, location, location” always rings true. Choose a space in frequently visited areas and with easy access to public transport, e.g. inside a mall, or where most of the crowd hangs out, e.g. Downtown Dubai or Dubai Marina, or position it where it is visible to everyone, e.g. next to a metro station. Although a high-traffic area comes with a high cost, the return on investment more than compensates for it.
• Visual appeal – Nothing attracts customers and boost sales activity more than attractive window displays and signage, and easy-to-navigate floor layouts. For the former, think color, texture, presentation, lighting and relevance to the season. For the latter, the space between racks and shelves, and how the items are being organized are important to facilitate easier movement and encourage purchase.
• Marketing and technology – To maximize sales, you need to go to the customers for them to come to you. Let everyone know that you exist by handing out flyers and brochures. Take advantage of technology by creating a website, and mobile app, and sending out emailers and mobile alerts on store promos, branch launchings, new products and others.
• Loyalty – Keep the customers coming back to your shop by building customer loyalty. Aside from offering several payment options, create a loyalty program wherein you give them vouchers, or cards to earn points and get discounts or gifts.
In today’s world, it is always wiser to be ahead of the competition in order to sustain your business and keep it running for years.
• Set up shop in high-traffic areas like malls or near Metro stops
• Make full use of technology to let people know your shop exists
• Create a loyalty program to gain a network of repeat customers
Source: Ellen Joyce Soriano, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer