As the re-opening of brick and mortar stores continues, retailers are looking forward to welcoming back in-person customers. But whilst some have been chomping at the bit to get back to physically browsing the merchandise, research shows that others are, understandably, a bit nervous about making the move back to the retail store.

We’ve been talking to retailers about the ways that they are enticing their customers back. Here’s their 12 top tips:

1.  Start with the customers you know

Harness the information in your customer loyalty program and focus first on the customers who already have history of shopping with you.

2. Tailored promotions

Use your knowledge of loyalty program members’ preferences and previous purchases to send out tailored marketing promotions to encourage them into the retail store.

Use proximity (hyperlocal) marketing to send an offer to loyalty program members who are close by the retail store, reminding them to pay you a visit. Or how about a birthday gift offer with a voucher that has to be spent in store within a week of their birthday, to give a sense of urgency that few can resist.

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3. Put on an event

create a retail experience that the shopper can only have in store. A tasting, a demonstration, a masterclass, a fashion show, a makeover, a free trial or a ‘money can’t buy’ VIP personalised customer experience. Remind shoppers what sets brick and mortar shopping apart.

4. Make it easy

for some, it might be the getting there that makes them nervous, with public transport a cause of anxiety. Encourage shoppers to come by car – with clearly signposted parking, or even with a ‘paid parking’ arrangement with a local car park. It might be just what’s needed to get shoppers over that final hurdle and back into the store.

5. Hold a competition

a contest, where entrants have to come into the retail store to find the answer, or pick up or drop off their entry form can be used to tempt would-be winners through your doors.

6. Complementary pop-ups

expand your range, by inviting a complementary business to have a pop-up in your store for a limited time. Mobile point of sale makes pop-ups easy to set up and  being able to purchase additional products all under your roof can be a great incentive.

7. Make them feel safe

do everything you can to reassure shoppers that your retail store is a safe place. As well as sanitising stations, consider other ways to minimise close contact, such as contactless payments or mobile point of sale for in-aisle checkout or self-checkout.

8. Traffic management

for those shoppers who are fearful of crowded stores, consider capturing retail store traffic and making the data available to customers. It could be via signage at the store entrance, or via an app, with real-time data, as well as trend information showing the average number of visitors at certain times of day. Shoppers can time their visit according, rather than not making it at all.

9. Spread the word

with the open/closed nature of the last few months, don’t leave it to chance – make sure every knows you’re open for business. Digital signage is a great way to do this, as well as the perfect way to advertise your events, special offers, new stock and pop-ups.

10. Collaborate with other local businesses

could you create an opportunity with a local theatre for a themed late night retail experience after a show? Or a ‘shop and dine’ experience with a local restaurant. They’ll be as keen as you to get their clientele back, and two experiences may be more attractive than one.

11. Sell gift cards

gift cards offer ‘double bubble’- not only does the giver come into the retail store to buy, but the recipient comes to redeem it (and statistically, spending more than the value of the card).

12. Online/offline integration

your shoppers have got used to buying from you online over the last year, so make sure you integrate your brick and mortar store with the digital one. BOPIS (buy online, pay in store) or click and collect is a great way to do this, as is giving shoppers the ability to return goods bought online, via the retail store. They’ll get their refund, and whilst they’re there, you have chance to entice them to spend it on something else in store.

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