Struggling to Attract Enough Customers to Your Small Business Location?
Is your business located in a low traffic area? Are your customers struggling to find you? Are you at a loss to work out what to do to turn things around?
There may be good reasons for you to establish your business in a low traffic area such as lower rent, space requirements, large vehicle access, council and other government regulations. However, the lack of passing traffic, may actually be the reason why you’re not growing the way you want.
With good planning, Casual Mall Leasing (CML) in a high traffic flow shopping centre can be a cost effective way to solve your problems. One of the benefits of leasing a shop in a shopping centre is that you have instant access to thousands of people every day. One of the pitfalls though, is the high cost of rent.
You can use the additional exposure you’ll gain from the higher traffic flow to build public awareness, test, showcase or launch new products. CML leasing is flexible. There is no long term commitment. This means you can pick and choose to trade only during the shopping centres and your peak trading times.
Almost sounds too good to be true right?
How to make the most of your mall leasing event.
To help you ensure you get great value from the experience, work out what it is you’d like to achieve from having your event and plan accordingly. If it’s direct sales you are targeting, make it easy for your customers to buy from you by having ready access to plenty of stock and every payment option you have available in your main business location (cash, eftpos, invoicing).
Are you hoping to book appointments or parties? Have an online diary set up so you can lock in the appointment time and send immediate confirmation. Would you like to do some research or gain referrals? Prepare your questions in advance and have both paper and electronic forms for your potential customers to complete.
How can you make it happen?
Preparation is essential. Observe the casual lessees in your local shopping centre to work out what they are doing well and not so well. It’s not enough to rock up with a trestle table and chair, a pull up banner and a few brochures. People are busy and they need a good reason to be distracted by you.
Look at the good operators that are attracting customers to their CML displays. What are they doing that’s working? How can you tweak that idea to work for you?
Their activities will most likely include:
1. Friendly, trained, motivated, enthusiastic, well presented team members
You would think that friendly, well presented, knowledgeable team members would be a no brainer wouldn’t you? And yet time and again you’ll find these stands filled with unskilled, untrained, unprofessional workers because the casual mall lessee has not planned well enough and left finding good short term staff to the last minute.
2. Good clear signage with a clear message explaining the offer
Signage is very important to ensure you are talking to the right people. It should be specific.
Your aim is to attract your perfect client over to talk to you. The scatter gun approach doesn’t work here. You don’t want to be talking to someone that really isn’t likely to buy just because your sign was vague and miss the opportunity of talking to your ‘real’ customer.
3. Plenty of stock (if selling) plenty of brochures
If you are going to sell at your event have PLENTY of stock. It’s better to have to carry it in and carry it home than miss out on a sale because the person couldn’t take it with them now.
Offer home delivery if your product is bulky. If you’ve caught a customer on their way into the supermarket they probably won’t want to carry your product around with them. They will promise to, and have every intention of, coming back after they’ve finished their shop, but then they’ll most likely forget.
Ask if they’d like you to text them in 30 minutes to remind them. It’s not too pushy, honestly. I don’t know how many times I’ve done it myself. Intended to go back and pick something up, got home and cursed because I forgot. I would have been grateful for a reminder text.
Casual mall leasing can be a very lucrative and enjoyable experience with proper advance planning, a great location, quality staff and stock that customers want.
Consider it as part of your marketing strategy leading up to your next peak trading period. You may be pleasantly surprised.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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