How to get more customers: tips for aspiring shop owners Published: 20/12/2019 | by Star Trader

How to get more customers: tips for aspiring shop owners

Online shopping is a huge convenience, growing in popularity day by day. Now, it’s much more common for people to shop from the comfort of their own home instead of in-store on the high street. This makes setting up your own shop a huge challenge. For aspiring shop owners, there’s one burning question: How do I get more customers to visit my shop? With over 450 O2 shops in the UK, we know a fair bit about what it takes to run a successful shop. Here are some of our top tips.   

1. Retail marketing strategy

For small shop owners to compete with the big dogs like Amazon and eBay, a strong retail marketing strategy is needed. But what is retail marketing?

Retail marketing covers the strategies and tactics taken on board by shop owners to attract new customers and increase sales. There are 4 key components, known as the “4 Ps”; product, price, place, promotion.

Now, what are the best retail marketing strategies for shops? 

Start with your shop assets

Wow your customers with your stock. Make sure you’re always stocking the right products that people want to buy. Creative displays and fancy arrangements will make these products stand out even more.

Focus on your windows and shopfront 

Here lies all the opportunity to attract new customers and get the most from them. Don’t be afraid to switch things up as part of your retail marketing strategy. Update your displays once a month, at least. For busy shopping periods, you should aim to update your aesthetic every couple of weeks.

Never let your curbside go bare

Keep your outside space clean and tidy and consider your curbside extras. Get creative by introducing a sandwich board with some fancy typography and art. Doing so will capture the attention of passers-by, who are more likely to stop and pay attention to your shop. 

Don’t neglect your staff

Give your employees some benefits to smile about. Options include bonuses, health/ medical/ dental plans, childcare, discounts on goods etc. Happy, healthy employees will perform better, which means a greater in-store experience for your customers and more cha-ching for your business.

Make use of social media

Every good retail marketing strategy should include social media usage. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are three platforms that lead the way for retail brands, but there are different ways to use them.   


To get more visibility for your brand on Facebook, you’re going to need to pay. And it’s definitely worth looking into; your shop is new, so more exposure is always beneficial. Now, brands need to fight even harder for exposure as a result of the poor organic reach, which is decreasing more and more each year. There are some ways you can compete, though. 

  1. Start a Facebook Group for your business or brand, so your most engaged customers and fans can congregate. 
  2. Run Facebook ads to reach your target audience, then keep tracks of your clicks, sales, etc. After a month or so, take a look at the results to decide whether or not social ads are beneficial for your business.  


With around 1 billion monthly active users, it’s no surprise that Instagram is one of the go-to social networks for today’s shoppers. If you do decide to incorporate Instagram into your retail marketing strategy, then there are a few things you’ll need to consider.

  1. Think about your content carefully. Your posts should never be random. It’s important for you to create a clear brand aesthetic, so that when people visit your profile, they immediately know it’s your brand they’re looking at. 
  2. Don’t forget about Instagram Stories and give people behind-the-scenes glimpses at your shop or share new products. 
  3. Include lots and lots of hashtags, so you can extend your reach. Top tip: pop your hashtags in the comment section of your post, so your profile looks cleaner. 


Just like your Instagram profile, making sure that your Pinterest boards are carefully curated is a top priority. Focus your attention on creating themed boards, so your customers can quickly find content they’re interested in. There are a couple of other things to remember too.

  1. Don’t just pin your own things. The whole point is to get social, so don’t be afraid to find cool pins to add to your boards. But remember, everything must match your aesthetic.
  2. Be aware of Pinterest’s algorithm. Your content can take up to 6 months to appear in people’s feeds, so be patient and don’t expect results immediately. 

Form partnerships to market your business

Spread the word by partnering with local businesses or charities. If you want to add this to your retail marketing strategy, there are a few different ways you can do so. 

Partner with other shops. Choosing to pair up with a shop in your local area is a great way to increase your shop’s footfall. Ask the partnering shop to hand out money off vouchers to their customers and do the same for them, so you can help one another. That way, you’ll be able to promote your shop directly to people who are perfectly placed to visit your shop in person.

Set up events with local charities. Showing support for a good cause is a great way to get your brand name out there and prove to your customers that you care about making a difference. Choose a charity that means something to you and set up a fundraising event.

2. Local business marketing

Having a Google My Business listing is one thing you need when thinking about how to promote your business locally. This is a crucial step when you’re setting up your own shop. Adapting to the modern way of marketing is a great way to boost the number of customers visiting your shop. Tactics that may have worked 10 or so years ago won’t be as successful now, so it’s always a good idea to keep up with the times.

Now, it’s all about the internet. More often than not, if people are trying to find a local business for something, they’re going to use the internet. That’s why having a Google My Business listing is so important. 

The best thing? It’s completely free and, once set up, it’ll allow customers to find you when they search for related terms. A good listing will have all of the below information:

  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Opening hours
  • Directions
  • A link to your website (if you have one)

You should also think about adding photos of your shop to your Google My Business listing to give people a sneak peek. Customers will also be able to add their own photos, as well as reviews, which will contribute to your star rating. Having a good star rating is important for your business, as it can determine whether someone chooses to buy one of your products or not. As a result, you should aim to have a 4 or 5-star rating.

Posting leaflets to people’s homes in your area is another great way to advertise locally. Design them yourself or hire a designer to help you out. Whichever method you choose, make sure your leaflets are eye-catching and, importantly, on-brand. To really get people through the door of your shop, you could also add a voucher code to your leaflet, so customers can save some money. 

Local business marketing is all about spreading the word about your shop. You don’t want just anyone talking about your business, though; you want to target your ideal customer. Setting up a customer referral scheme will help you here. That way, if a customer has had a good experience with you and you think they’re likely to recommend your shop to a friend, then giving them an incentive to do so will make sure they do. For example, give your customers the chance to save £10 on their next visit to your shop when they refer a friend, who can also save £10 on their first visit. 

3. Business giveaways

By giving your customers a freebie or voucher, you can increase the likelihood of them visiting your shop. Here are some of our favourite business giveaway ideas for your small business.


Everyone loves a saving every now and then. Instead of dishing the discounts out to everyone, host a competition that people can enter to earn one. This will give new customers a great incentive to try your products for the first time. How much discount you award your winning customer with is up to you. If you’re feeling generous, go for 50% off. 

Social media competitions

When it comes to spreading the word, social media can be your best friend. Instead of going down the typical route of “like this post and comment, so you can win”, try to think of something creative for your business giveaway. Come up with a cool hashtag that people can use across all social media platforms to enter. That way, you can boost your following and give your brand awareness a boost.

Branded merch

Small business giveaways can benefit from branded merchandise that you can give to your loyal customers. After all, who doesn’t love some free company swag? Think t-shirts, mugs, calendars, pens, and tote bags with your brand’s name and logo printed on them. All of these items are cheap to make, so they won’t break the bank. What they will do is give your customers something to smile about. They’ll have items they can use on a daily basis, which will give your brand more exposure.


4. Create your own ecommerce shop

Setting up your own online presence for your small shop is easier than it sounds. A website domain can cost as little as £4.99 a year and you don’t always need development skills. You can set up a website on your own. 

Here are our top tips on how to set up an online shop:

  • Find your ecommerce website builder. There are loads to choose from. Some are more affordable, others are a little pricier. Do your research to find the perfect plan for you and make a start.
  • Sort your domain name. Once you know what you want your domain name to be, make sure it’s available on a domain checker website. If it’s not available, you could either get in touch with whoever does own that domain to buy it from them or go back to the drawing board. An important thing to remember than you’re choosing your domain name is your country code. If your shop is trading in the UK only, then you’ll want to opt for a domain. However, if you’re planning on going overseas, a .com domain would be better. What you put in your domain name is also important; adding a popular search term can help your website to rank higher in Google for relevant searches. And remember to set up that yearly reminder to renew your domain before its expiry date!
  • Choose your template. You don’t even need design skills to set up your own ecommerce shop. With themes/ templates, you can create a good-looking site on your own. All you need to do is find the perfect one, select it and your chosen website builder will do the rest. There are some things you’ll need to bear in mind, though. To find the right template, you need to consider which features you want your shop to have, what kind of homepage you want, and how you want your customers to navigate your site.
  • Customise some of the elements. Don’t just stick to your chosen template. Make it your own. Choose your font, text size, brand colours, and imagery to make sure everything matches your existing branding. It’s a manual task, but it’s worth spending the time to make sure everything is seamless.
  • Add your products. One of the most important things when it comes to creating your online shop. To do this properly, you’ll need high-quality product images, product descriptions, and product categories to organise your products on your site. 
  • Payment options and delivery costs. Another important one. You’ll need to think about how people can pay on your site and, of course, these things cost, so you’ll also need to compare your options. Delivery methods also vary. Different website builders come with choices, so you’ll need to do some digging to find out what those options are and which one works for you. 

Now you’re ready to get going! 

Business will be booming in no time. Take these top tips and marketing strategies on board to get more customers to your shop. Who knows where your business could be in a year’s time?

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