By Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation
As the retail apocalypse continues to become the new normal throughout the United States with more than 3,800 storefronts set to shutter this year, mom and pop businesses are undoubtedly concerned about their foot traffic future. Offerings and services aside, what else can they do to keep their small businesses afloat? The answer lies in creating personalized experiences for customers that they can’t get anywhere else – and it usually isn’t as expensive or time-consuming to do as you might imagine.
Remember their names
It’s one of the simplest ways to enhance a visit for anyone: remember the names of regular customers. One major corporation that does this particularly well is the Four Seasons Hotels chain. The staff always knows my name when I stay there, along with the names of my children whether my kids come with me there or not! Likewise, a small business can go the extra mile by remembering your name and other details that surround your visits there. If you run a bakery, for instance, you may remember the kind of doughnut customers prefer to order the most or the specific day of the week that they place orders for bagels for everyone in their office.
Look at the potential your storefront has as a space
Let’s use the Apple Store as an example here. Inside every Apple Store location, there are customers stopping to make purchases. They’re also playing with the tablets and laptops available in-store and meeting with tech representatives at the Genius Bar for appointments to get their computers fixed, pick up repairs, and ask questions. Outside of being big, airy spaces, every Apple Store has one thing in common: they’re always busy.
Stop looking at your storefront as a place to stop for a quick visit. Instead, start thinking of ways that you can make it a communal hub for frequent customers and window shoppers. If you run a stationery shop, for example, you may want to lease or buy a space that is big enough for shoppers to browse in and host events from, like calligraphy or bullet journaling classes. This keeps customers engaged and present in your store, inspiring those passing by to pause and come inside to see what’s going on.
Sweeten your incentives
Who says freebies should be available only when you hit a certain number of rewards points or free with a certain amount of money spent on the purchase? Make it a point to add a little extra gift with purchases. It doesn’t need to be a big item – a complimentary sample from a candy shop is always a hit with adults and kids alike – but it should tie in with the purchase just enough that it piques the consumer’s curiosity. Sometimes, a free item can be just as effective a follow-up method as being added to an email mailing list. The next time they come back to visit your store, they might pick up their usual order and a full order of the incentive you included last time.
About the author
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark and copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Twitter @mycorporation.