I have a store front that's open Tuesday-Saturday 11-6pm. Right now, we have cupcakes, decorated sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, flavored scratch-made marshmallows, and my mom's specialty white chocolate macadamia nut popcorn. Custom cakes and other mini desserts (like pies, macarons) are available by pre-order. A big issue that we're having is getting enough people in the door on a consistent basis. Some days we have plenty of customers and sell out of cupcakes, and some days we have 8 customers and one of which is a wedding payment. We're in a "funky" location: we're in an industrial area just off of a main street, which is just off the freeway. Some customers say we're hard to find but then I have college friends from out of town who say it was easy to find. We for sure don't have the nice drive by or walk by traffic that many other retail shops might have.
I'm trying to think of ways to get more customers in the door. Once they're in the door, we feel that they are spending an appropriate amount of money for what we offer. I'm not sure if I need to rework my website to get better SEO (if that's the right term) or figure out some advertising. We just tried doing online advertising through our local paper (it was supposed to have ads on their website, plus targeted ads on other sites that they work with) but we basically got maybe 12 more hits to our website a month. So that was a bust. So far what's been working is word of mouth and social media. I'm active on Facebook and instagram but I know that's not all you need. The other thing I know I could use more of is custom cake orders besides weddings. Or really just custom orders in general (custom cupcakes, custom cookies etc).
My mom and business partner (who knows a little more of the financial aspect of the business than I do) is stressed but I know she's not telling me all of it.
Not sure if I explained it all well, but for those of you who have a retail shop, I would love to hear what you do to get more people in the door. Thanks for any help.
AI don't have a retail shop right now -- just wanted to pipe up about a groupon or an amazon local offering of some kind -- hope everything works out
I would start by asking, Have you created a marketing plan and what parts have you implemented?
I have very little walk in business, so I focus on custom orders.
Most of them come in via phone, text and email, so I encourage people to communicate that way.
We did do a living social deal in April. I had a great experience with them and most of the people that purchased it were new customers. They have a place where customers can review their purchase. 97% were positive and 94% would return (I know one of the reviewers lived out of state so I'm assuming they were the one that was positive but wouldn't return). I believe at least half of the vouchers have been redeemed and they have until sometime in August to return.
I don't believe we have an actual marketing plan. I do know we have a business plan and I'm assuming that includes information on marketing but I would have to check with my mom.
As for getting more custom orders... Did you ever think about approaching other local businesses about them ordering party trays of sweets or the monthly office birthday cake? I do not know if that would fit into your business model, but it is an option if you offer those types of things...
Yes, one way to get more attention, is going to your local businesses and giving them menus, info about who you are, maybe doing some deliveries, etc. Fliers around town if possible, Possibly reaching out to a place to people go to hang out and maybe asking the owners to do sort of an introduction to who you are, and letting people know who you are. Those are just some ideas that might possibly help.