You’ve got a great store with fantastic products and a wonderful staff.  So where are the customers?  With all the many shopping options available to the consumer, how do you get them to come into your store?

An article in Psychology today in 2011 started with this paragraph:

“You’re standing at the grocery store checkout line, pondering tomorrow’s to-do list. The cashier greets you with a grin. Out of politeness, you force yourself to chitchat – and feel curiously happy afterwards. There’s a big smile on your face as you leave the store. What just happened?”

Human beings, regardless of their age, are social beings.  A study done by researcher William Fleeson and his colleagues tracked a group of people every 3 hours for 2 weeks, recording how they’d acted and felt during each chunk of time.  They concluded that those who interacted with people – even if they were introverts – were more likely to report feeling positive emotions such as excitement and enthusiasm.

What does this mean for retail stores?  Personal interaction is non-existent through the internet.  Your store can be the place for interactions that leave customers feeling full of excitement and enthusiasm.

How can you get them in the door? Gene Marks, a small business columnist for the New York Times and president of the Marks Group notes three basic ways to drive customers to your store:

  1. Make sure you start and maintain a customer data base. Then use it to create a VIP customer list.  Offer these customers specials, coupons, rewards for referrals, and more!  Studies show that 60-66% of customers are likely to stop shopping at a store if they are not recognized as a loyal shopper.  The reverse of that is loyal shoppers that feel appreciated can be your best form of advertising!
  2. Educate – Do events and classes to show how to use your products and the benefits of your products. Make them fun.
  3. Partner with your neighbor retailers and businesses. Make your area the place to come for fun, events and specials. One stop, with lots of things to do.

If you are an ASTRA member, find great ideas on the discussion board post Getting People into Your Store.  Not a member? Contact me to find out more about ASTRA membership!

Sue Warfield is the Director of Member Relations at ASTRA. With more than 30 years of experience in the retail and toy business, Sue offers insight into industry trends and tips and works to connect the retailers, sales representatives, manufacturers and affiliates in the specialty toy retailing arena.
 Contact Sue at