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How to increase footfall in your retail store over January

13 January 2020 Small Business Advice

Post-Christmas, typically, retailers will see a slump in footfall in their retail stores. While Boxing Day was previously the most significant calendar trading day for brick and mortar traders, when it comes to shoppers grabbing a much-loved bargain, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have seemed to now eclipse the 26th. 

In fact, last year, the BBC reported that Boxing Day footfall fell for the third year in a row. So, with more people avoiding the rush of the High Street post-Christmas, how can you improve your footfall across the new year for your small business? We’ve listed our top actionable tips to improve a slow January.

In-store only promotions

Footfall may be decreasing, but when it comes to units per transaction (UPT) in-store wins hands down. Last year it was recorded that a whopping 71% of shoppers were spending more in physical stores than they were through e-commerce sites. Small businesses should leverage this opportunity by using both discounts and promotions alongside exceptional customer service.

Unit focussed discounts

By offering in-store only promotions, you’re not only getting customers into your store, but you’re actively encouraging them to up their spend. Unit-focussed discounts are a perfect way of improving sales per customer which will make a huge difference when customers are harder to come by. It’s also a great opportunity to shift last season’s stock to make way for your new supplies.

Ideas for promotions to get your customers upping their spend:

  • 3-for-2
  • Buy one get one half price
  • Spend £50 and get a free gift 
  • Buy 3 items get the 4th for free

If you’re planning on doing in-store only promotions, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t promote discounts online, through your social media profiles and email marketing lists.

Customer service

Using great customer service at key moments during the user’s journey is pivotal for securing those valuable add-ons. Here’s what you can do at each point to maximise your customer’s buying potential.

At the awareness stage: 

  • Create a savvy shop-window and use in-store visual merchandising, displaying stock in an accessible manner 
  • Use clean window signage showing new stock or best sellers and promotions
  • Open shop doors and provide an inviting atmosphere

At the consideration stage:

  • Encourage customers to try on items in the fitting room, and bring them add-on extras such as shoes, bags and jewellery 
  • Give customers honest compliments or advice on items, advising different sizing or colours
  • Ask customers questions about what they’re looking for, what occasion it is and how they need to use the products to tailor stock for them, and spot add-ons

At the conversion stage:

  • When processing sales, ask customers if they found everything they were looking for and if there was anything you could have helped with
  • Serve customers in a timely manner, ensuring they are able to purchase at ease with card paymentsApple pay or their mobile 
  • Remind customers of the savings they have made on their purchasing, highlighting any discounts

At the retention stage:

  • When you’ve processed the customer’s transaction, why not consider offering them a small discount off of their next purchase if they’ve spent above a certain threshold (£50 for example) 
  • Ask if the customer would like to offer their email address for any future marketing or promotions

Personalised marketing campaigns

Even though the aim is to boost retail footfall, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore your digital efforts. The new year should be full of incentives, incentives to burn-off mince pies in the gym, start a new hobby and, in the case of retailers, incentives to get out and go shopping. 

Research from The Omnibus Company found that over half (51%) of consumers are more likely to enter a store and buy something if they receive an offer on their mobile while they are in the area.

How can you engage in personalised marketing to drive footfall to your store? 

  • Using your CRM and e-commerce data to send out personalised email marketing campaigns to segmented audiences, offering them an instore discount on their favourite items
  •  Use paid social (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) to segment your target customers in your store’s geographic location and share your promotions to those places

Location, location, location

One of the great things about having a brick and mortar store, is that you can capitalise on everything your location has to offer. By immersing yourself in the local community, you can find out what key events are taking place and offer locals discounts.

Carnival coming up? Why not do half price food for hungry revellers or locals. Is there a half marathon taking place nearby? Let runners know you’ve got their back with an icy-cold pint or energy drink at your store at the finish line. Make an events and awareness days calendar for the next few months and think of ways to tailor promotions or incentives to visit your store.


A great way of getting new and existing customers into your store on a dark and dreary January evening is to hold your own exclusive events or launches. If you’ve got a new line of stock to introduce, why not invite customers in for a late-evening launch with some fizz and the chance to buy new releases before the rest of the general public?

You could also consider teaming up with a local celebrity or relevant micro-influencers to promote new products and give customers to do a meet and greet in your store.  

A positive and inviting atmosphere

You can spend a lot of time and energy on marketing and promotions, but if your store isn’t friendly and inviting, customers won’t want to enter, let alone stay and browse. 

When walking past a store, customers should see:

  • Friendly staff, helping customers or engaged in tasks
  • A good clean environment, with clean floors, windows and displays
  • Something they’re missing out on– a ‘buzz’ about the place which shows something exciting (you can create this with the right store ambience)

How to create a great store ambience:

  • Create a diverse and modern playlist to avoid awkward silences– you may even entice customers in with their favourite songs
  • Consider the smell of your store– does it smell fresh, clean? Could you use scent marketing to lure people in?
  • Without being pushy, greet customers on their arrival, letting them know you’re there if they need you


So, if you’re having a January lull, use your extra time to experiment on some new ideas and processes. Whether that’s new marketing techniques or stock management or simply trialling out a new store layout. Check out more ideas to help your small business grow on our blog today.

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