While talking with a rural shoe retailer a few days ago, I asked how many people walk in front of the store on an average day, including walk-ins. She had no idea. Never has paid attention to such a number. I asked how many walk-ins she gets in an average day. Not a clue.
It's a beautiful store inside and out. Set on a gorgeous town square kitty-corner from the courthouse. But like many small, rural stores – it's in trouble.
A few of her friends are going to set up outside and chit-chat to passersby (and get a count) for the next week or so. As part of our planl, we're going to:
- Count the people that walk directly in front of the store
- Count the people that walk across the street
- As best we can, count the drive-bys
- Observe what's different – when or why do folks stop at other window displays, or what makes folks walk-in those other stores
After a good sample, we can decide what, if anything, can be done with the signage, the window displays, and the opportunities for engagement.
Part of the problem is, she's been trying a lot of different tactics and "things" to drum up business - but she has never kept score. Sure, she knows the bottom line, but nothing around and leading to that bottom line.
She's also fallen into the trap of staying behind the counter (and often, in the backroom waiting for the doorbell). The traffic outside has been just noise. Upon Engagement, We'll Find Signal.
With our counting experiment, we may find that having someone outside, or at least on the customer side of the counter, is all that's needed.
And maybe then we'll start a blog. Maybe.
Photo on Flickr by JustBeadiful