By Annie Grace Fleming

Brick-and-mortar businesses have to find creative ways to compete against ecommerce stores. The allure of buying stuff online is casting a big shadow on small businesses. This does not mean all is lost. Here are five effective ways to drive traffic to your brick-and-mortar business.

1. Set Up a Snapchat Geofilter

One of the most effective tools a small business can use to draw people towards their business is social media. Snapchat has become one of the most important social media platforms and has a very helpful tool for businesses. It allows you to create a geofilter, which is very popular with the platform’s users and can reveal your company to many people.

Furthermore, you can also set up a Geofence associated with your business. This is a digital fence that is going to trigger smartphone response as soon as someone enters the area around your business. You get to draw this fence, and it covers anywhere between 20,000- to 50,000-square feet of space around your business. Those who enter the Geofence are going to be able to use the geofilter which will help attract potential customers.

2. Offer a Hydration Station

Regardless if you live in the desert or the North Pole, people need water, especially in the summer. It makes sense that people get thirsty while shopping. You want to use this to your advantage by creating a hydration station inside your business, or in an outdoor area of your business.

Now, it is important to pay attention to your customers to ensure you are offering the kind of beverages your customers are interested in. Spring water is usually a safe bet with the option of adding lemon or lime. To attract customers, put out a fun and inviting sign advertising a hydration station.

3. Add Curbside Extras

Local business owners can underestimate the value of their physical curbside advertisements. Many believe that these displays are old fashioned but that is not the case. With a little upgrade and creativity these curbsides can easily attract today’s customers.

What you have to consider when putting up curbside displays outside your door is how social media-worthy it might be. For example, you might want to consider using a sandwich board that greets potential customers with a witty remark or message related to the store. Messages or images that are witty might bring a smile to people, get them to take a picture and share on social media.

4. Build an Online Presence

Small businesses must build a strong online presence in today’s day and age. There are a number of ways this can be done and it depends on you. Still, a basic building block to your online presence is your website, which should not only be user-friendly but use SEO best practices.

It might be wise for you to hire a website builder to help you create a site that today’s online users would find appealing. It is also important that you put out content that users might be interested in, such as video posts or blog posts. The online users who become interested in your business want to get to know you, so you need to have content online that introduces you, engages them as online readers, yet entices them to visit your brick-and-mortar shop.

5. Create an Irresistible Window Display

The window display can be used to gather attention in different ways. But when most people are on their phones, and you need to find a way to get them to look at your store.

What you need to think about is creating a window display that is bold, tells a story, and is unique enough that it stops people in their tracks. You want the kind of image that people would like to take a picture of, something worthy of a social media buzz. You may want to start by sketching out a theme that is focused on a particular story. Sketch out your idea, and get a number of opinions before you actually go ahead and decorate your store window. Remember, stay focused when creating your display because the message should be clear to your audience.

Hopefully, some of these suggestions make it easier to gather attention and traffic to your business. Yes, competition has gotten harder for small businesses, but it is not impossible to succeed. These ideas should be helpful, but small business owners need to continue to stay creative, and take chances to push forward!

Photo credit: Local brick-and-mortar store from Olga Enger/Shutterstock