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Courting tourist shoppers

Courting tourist shoppers

If you live in an area that's frequently visited by vacationers, then you must focus some of your sales efforts on the tourist market. This demographic can be hard to capture, so here are some tips on how you can draw visitors from afar into your shop.

Assessing the market
Before you can start planning marketing campaigns aimed at tourists, you must figure out what kind of people are visiting your store. One way to do this is to visit local hotspots where you can view tourists "in the wild." Is your area popular among families, or are most vacationers adult couples looking for a getaway? Consider the attractions your city or town offers. For example, if you have a popular baseball team, then you can bet some sports fans will be heading to your area during the summer season.

Start at the front
When courting the tourist market, your best bet is to try and pull in foot traffic. The No. 1 way to do this is with a creative window display. Create a scene in the front of your shop that emulates everything it means to be a tourist visiting your town. For example, retailers in a coastal area can emulate a beach scene, while those in big cities can show off adult and child mannequins wearing trendy outfits. Think about what makes your location unique, and then put it all front and center!

Special deals and discounts
A great way to draw in out-of-towners is by offering special deals and discounts. For example, you can provide free gift wrap for any shopper who is able to show an out-of-state ID. You can have a little fun with your customers by taking Polaroid pictures of people from far away who come to visit your store. Pin these pictures up among your display tables and clothing racks, and you may see people coming to visit just to be added to your "hall of fame."

Remember your locals
While catering to tourists is a smart move, you must be certain you don't alienate your core base of local customers. If you do offer special promotions for shoppers visiting from elsewhere, make sure you have something up your sleeve for members of your community. Selling locally made goods is a great way to honor the people of your city or town, and you can also stock your display cases with items that may be intriguing to tourists looking for a souvenir.