Mouse clicks, direct mailers and SMS campaigns are great ways to drive business to your retail business, but there’s still only one time-tested way to help ensure success: get customers to walk through your front door.

Driving foot traffic to a bricks-and-mortar store may seem something of a lost art but is critical to the health of your business.

Here are 7 tips to get customers through your front door:

1. Have a grand opening

Planning on opening a business in the near future? Make the first day as big a deal as possible. Provide food, run competitions and offer entertainment to make the day memorable. And, while you’re doing all of this, collect the names and contact details of the new customers so that you can create a database.

2. Promotional events

Just because your business has been up and running for a while, doesn’t preclude celebrations that attract foot traffic. Any promotional event that draws attention can be effective. Look into an in-store promotion or giveaway and advertise the event as widely as your budget will allow. But, no matter what you do, make it sufficiently fresh and appealing. Promotional events have to be really exciting and different to attract customers.

3. Make your business newsworthy

Foot traffic on the day of an event is one thing. Attracting business beyond the event is something else. That’s why it’s important to leverage media whenever possible. For instance, donating a portion of the day’s sales to a worthy cause can generate great content for your local newspaper. Taking a different approach, investigate whether a radio station would be willing to broadcast live on the day of your promotional event. The key is to grab the attention of customers. That drives foot traffic in the future. The more creative the event, the more likely that a newspaper will write about it.  

4. Have a sale

Old fashioned? Maybe. But nothing beats the lure of saving money. While the idea of a sale may seem a bit blasé to some, digital marketing and social media have made sales events more impactful than ever before. If you maintain a database of customers, contact them via SMS, an e-mail newsletter, of social media campaign to let them know of upcoming sales and other promotions. Offers that include a sense of urgency are always effective to get customers to come to stores.

To further boost foot traffic, urge them to pass along your e-mail to others. That’s not only effective but exceedingly cost efficient, as you’re not dropping money on mass mailings that only saturates the uninterested.

5. Host a workshop

Boosting foot traffic doesn’t even have to involve a direct effort to sell a product or service. These days, education is every bit as important, as consumers want to know how to get the most out of what they buy and that makes in-store workshops powerful weapons to build foot traffic. Promote the event via in-store signage, flyers, digital ads, social media and press releases.

6. Keep in touch

Even the best-planned promotional event is of little value if you fail to leverage the initial interaction. Keep encouraging foot traffic by staying in touch with customers. Let them know about events that may otherwise attract little attention. Encourage them to pass along the news with family and friends. A great event is only half the battle – if you want consistent foot traffic, you have to follow up, then follow up some more. Send them offers, new product announcements or anything else you can think of to get them into your store.

7. Emphasize customer service

One advantage that a physical store has over online shopping is personal interaction with customers. Special events can be terrific in building foot traffic, but what keeps customers coming back — and spreading the word — is the product knowledge and enthusiasm that can only be conveyed face to face. Things may be cheaper online but getting to know your customers and what they value improves the shopping experience.


The Blue Room is a full-service boutique marketing and communications agency, with roots in retail marketing and communication. Our team is well equipped to handle all your retail marketing needs, from increasing foot traffic, to tenant communications, activations, social media and digital marketing campaigns, graphic design, and more.

Contact us to find out more about our retail marketing offering and how we can increase foot traffic and the return on investment for your retail business. You can call us on 021 553 0315 or email We’d love to chat with you and create bespoke ways of marketing your retail organization.

Written by Allan Young: Account Executive, The Blue Room (Marketing Manager, Kenilworth Centre)