Increasing Foot Traffic

Recently a question was posted to our Facebook page: “What is the biggest challenge you currently face?” One response was getting customers in the door. Foot traffic is key to most fishing tackle retailers; if customers are not coming in, how can you be selling goods?

Since it is illegal to attack customers and drag them into your store, we are going to give you five ways that will help you increase foot traffic in your store.

Know Your Customers
This isn’t as simple as it may seem. Who are your customers? Where do they currently shop, fish and obtain their news or entertainment? Are your ads in those locations? Does your marketing and advertising target your customers or are they missing their mark? If you haven’t identified your target market and people who fish isn’t really a target, it needs to be a bit more defined – you will be missing out on customers and wasting advertising money until you do define your target.

Define your customers and potential customers, then create marketing and advertising plans that will grab their attention and bring them in your front door.

Be Visible
Every part of the country has a community organization or a few dozen. Become a member of at least one of them. Let people see the person behind your store. If you are too busy, ask your spouse or employees to become the face of your store within these groups. People shop at businesses they are familiar with and know they can trust. It makes them feel safe. Not only can you add new customers, you may have the opportunity to introduce new anglers to the world of fishing.

You should also keep your name in front of your customers and potential customers. How often do you send out emails to them? Do you have an upcoming sale you can promote through an email blast? If not, maybe it is time for a sale and a chance for you to remind people of your store and their need to come in.

Change Is Good
Is there something about your storefront that could be changed? Maybe a new window display or a good cleanup effort out front is needed. If foot traffic is slow, spend time making the inside and the outside more attractive to shoppers when they arrive.

Start working your social media campaigns more actively as well; again, you have time on your hands, put it to good work with attracting traffic through social media. What is your competition doing that you are not doing to attract new customers? Can you borrow their ideas and improve upon them and then make them your own? Little changes can make a big difference.

Showcase Your Store
Inviting groups or customers in for demonstrations or to take part in a celebration is still one of the best ways to ensure foot traffic. Hosting classes and events will not only educate your existing customers, but it may introduce new customers to fishing. It will also give you the opportunity to sell more products, especially the ones that you showcase in your class.

If your store is celebrating a special event such as an historic milestone, let your customers know you will be open a bit later that day and will be offering refreshments or giveaways. This will remind everyone how long you have been a member of the community and will also bring out those who have always wondered what your store was like inside.

If a special fishing season is opening, or even if it is the last day of the season, open a bit earlier that day. Offer free coffee or donuts in celebration to kick off the new season or celebrate the fine season your customers enjoyed on the water. It will be a great opportunity for your customers to stock up on last-minute equipment they may need or to replace items lost during the season. If nothing else, it is a great way to gather anglers and hear a few good fishing stories as they browse your store.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you advertise the event. How else will people know to come in? Test the water with new advertising outlets and see how many new customers you gain from the advertising. Take notes on where and how people heard of this event and use this information as you advertise more.

Treat Your Current Customers Like Gold
If your current customer list isn’t referring their friends to your store, why not? Is there something they do not like about your store, or your store’s customer service? Ask a few of your more loyal customers for their thoughts, and how many of their friends shop in your store. Do everything you can to keep your current customers happy and the word of mouth advertising you get from them will be better than anything you can pay for.

If you can afford to do so, create a loyalty program for your customers. It could be as simple as get five reels spooled with new line and get a percentage off their sixth, or even free line on their sixth refill. Little incentives to keep customers loyal will become known in your community and attract more customers. Your competition may not be treating their customers as well as you are, or offering the incentives to shop there that you are. Word will circulate and your foot traffic will increase.

In the end, there is no single thing any business can do or not do to increase their foot traffic. You need to treat each customer as an individual and each one of these five suggestions as a part of the plan, not the whole plan. You may already be doing three or four of the ideas listed; build on those original ideas with some new ones. Look around at what other businesses are doing and being successful with and not so successful with. It doesn’t matter what kind of business it is, each business needs customers, so how are they attracting more customers? What can you do better than they are doing, and what would you change to improve upon their idea?

Owning your own retail store is not easy, but you already know that. It should be rewarding and profitable, so take chances and become the best fishing tackle retailer in your area.

What have you done to increase foot traffic to your store? Share your ideas and tips with your fellow fishing tackle retailers on our Facebook page or in our LinkedIn group.