As one of the brave souls to open a physical store, you deserve all the help you can get to ensure the success of your small business. Here is some advice you might find useful in making your new store become known to your market.
Choose a Good Location
Location is a huge factor in the success of a physical store. Your first consideration is traffic, and not just any traffic, but focus on the demographics you are targeting. A central business district is always a good bet but be prepared to pay a premium for store space. This should figure in your business plan with your list of overheads. You can also set up outside the CBD if, for instance, your target is students. If that is the case, you should start a store where students frequently hang out.
Advertising and marketing cannot be ignored. Allocate enough preparation time and set a reasonable budget for these activities. Your brick-and-mortar store will benefit from offline advertising, such as billboards, posters, banners, flyers, and the like. But you can’t afford not to use online strategies, as well, even if you only sell through your establishment. In the recent past, you could get away with only one social media page. These days, however, you need more, so don’t focus on Twitter or Facebook alone. It’s a good idea to choose the social media channels that your market uses. Focus on those so you don’t have to curate any content for channels your customers aren’t likely to frequent.
Use Mail and Email
Not all your customers will have email, so you can offer them the chance to receive updates via second-class mail. It’s important to “offer” them. Asking them gives them the chance to agree or disagree. The same goes for email. Spamming your customers isn’t a good way to make an impression.
Who doesn’t like free stuff? Offer your customers a punch card. Every time a customer purchases something at your store and reaches a set minimum amount, you punch their card. When they get a certain number of punches, they receive a gift. You can even use this to partner with another business, say, a coffee shop near you. Give your customers a free gift certificate for a free coffee. That other business might agree to give their customers a freebie from your store. At first, this might seem like nothing but an additional expense, but any customer walking into your store — even to just claim their freebie — is a potential customer for you.
Make a Big Bang When You Open
Your opening is a fantastic opportunity to introduce your store. Prepare some kind of reward for your first 100 or so customers. Hire a couple of sky dancers with personalized prints showing your brand. Play some upbeat music if it’s allowed in the area (most of these activities might require a permit, so find out ahead of time). In front of your entrance or entrances, set up a huge balloon arch. Dubai is no stranger to such elaborate displays. Have the local radio station announce your opening. You can also use your radio announcements or ad to let listeners participate in a promo. Sponsor a radio game where listeners can phone in their answer and get a prize from your store.
Opening a store is only the first step. You have your work cut out for you. With these steps and many others, however, you can make sure traffic continues to lead to your store.