How Retailers Can Use Facebook To Get More Footfall

In the recent few years, the retail industry as a whole has been suffering from a steady decline in sales.

Coupling that with expensive overheads, many shop owners decided to pull down their shutters… for good.

And as the economy goes down, things are only going to get worse as people become more selective about what they buy.

Thankfully, not all hope is lost.

With the advancements in technology, retailers can leverage on it to easily reach out to a massive number of potential customers.

Let’s take a look at some retailers that make use of technology (specifically Facebook) to drive footfall and brand awareness:

Facebook Ad Example (Maki-San)

(Image Credit: Maki San)

Here we have Maki-San using Facebook to promote their new outlet. Notice how 8000 people viewed their video?

Best part is it probably didn’t cost them anything to spread the video.

These are examples of Sephora promoting their new app & products.

Facebook Ad Example (Sephora)

(Image Credit) Sephora

Lastly, we have Wendy’s using Facebook to create awareness for their promotion on top of interacting with their customers in a fun way,

22,000 people liked this simple post of theirs. Assuming 5% of the people who saw it decided to pay Wendy’s a visit, that’s at least 1000 burgers sold!

And these are just a small handful of examples where retailers use Facebook to drive footfall for their stores.

(There are many more lesser known retailers who are using Facebook with great success!)

Facebook Ad Example (Wendy's)

(Image Credit – Wendy’s)


Can Facebook be used to drive footfall for retailers?

But there’s a caveat, the kind of success your business gets from Facebook will depend on your industry.

Based on our experience in teaching Facebook marketing to more than 750 business owners, we’re very confident that Facebook will be most effective for retailers that are in specific industries such as:

  • Education (Tuition centres, childcare…)
  • F&B (restaurants, bars…)
  • Fashion (Sports wear, high-street wear…)
  • Health & Beauty (Spas, hair salons….)
  • E-commerce (physical products, apps…)
  • Entertainment (Karaoke, arcades…)
  • Hobby stores (arts & craft, toys, books…)
  • Home Appliances (lighting, furniture…)

Of course, I’ve also seen Facebook marketing work for businesses in other industries, it’s just that those mentioned above tend to do exceptionally well on Facebook.

Now that we have established that Facebook can be used to drive footfall for retailers, let’s get into the action steps.

How To Use Facebook To Drive Footfall

As we move forward, we will introduce to you certain tips and features on Facebook that are effective for retailers, along with a step-by-step guide on how to use them.

It is also important for us to point out that many of these tips can be combined to create an even stronger impact on your market.

And as you read on, try to think of ways you can apply them to your business.

So first up we have,

1. Hyper-Local Targeting

In laymen terms, hyper-local targeting allows your advertisements to target a very specific location, to a very specific group of people.

Think of this as businesses putting up advertisements inside MRT stations, they are specifically targeting people who commute via train.

Or when companies hire people to walk around Orchard road with banners, it’s because they want to reach out to a specific crowd.

And the great news is, Facebook has a feature to help us achieve this.

To help you understand what we mean and how to use this it,

Here’s a 4 step guide to using hyper-local targeting.

Step 1:

Go to your ads manager on Facebook, and select “create campaign”.

Facebook Ad Manager Create Campaign

Step 2:

Scroll down to the audience section, you will see  “locations” and voila you can simply key in whichever country you want to target, whichever state/ city etc…

What this means, is that Facebook will blast your ads to people in the area which you specified.

You can even choose to target people who “live in this location, were recently in the area or travelling in this location”


Facebook Audience Location Targeting

You can even choose to exclude showing your ads to people in specific places.

Facebook Audience Exclusion

For example…

Facebook Location Exclusion Example

In our image above, we chose to target Orchard road and within a 1 mile radius.

Also, If you look over to the right (in the image), you will see “audience size”.

This indicates the approximate amount of people in Orchard Road is 75,000. Meaning our advertisements has the potential to reach out to this many people over time.

Additional feature: When doing location targeting, there is an option called “drop pin”

Facebook Location Targeting Drop Pin

This feature allows you to target anywhere on the map by “dropping a pin”. Just click on the button, select your desired spot on the map then adjust the radius accordingly.

Step 3:

After you have selected the area you want to target,

You can move on to specify who you want to advertise to (men, women or both) and the age range.

Facebook Audience Gender And Age

In our example here, we are targeting both men and women who are aged 18-25 and located in Orchard Road.

As you can see, hyper local targeting is very useful for businesses that are location specific,

And if you want to take things to the next level and have your targeting become even more… target,

Then you will need to complement hyper local targeting with….

2. Interest Targeting

With this next step, you will be able to pin-point the type of people customer you want your ads to reach out to.

In the next image, you will see a “Detailed Targeting” section, where you can select your audience’s  hobbies, interests, demographics etc…

Facebook Audience Detailed Targeting

What this means, is that Facebook will only show your ads to people that match with the details you specified.

This feature is so detailed that you can even reach out to parents with newborn babies. All you need to do is type it in!

Facebook Audience Detailed Targeting Options

Interest targeting, is an invaluable tool on its own and if you do it right, it is possible to reach out to very specific groups of people i.e. Office ladies in their 20s, upper income entrepreneurs/ investors…

And if you are running a location specific business,

For example, if your Spa has a new treatment available and you want to get the residents in your area to pay you a visit,

Or If you are a tuition centre that wants to reach out to parents living around your centre,

Or a cafe in the CBD wanting to attract the younger office crowd in the area

With this technology, all of this is possible.

And now that you know how to use the “Detailed targeting” section,

Next, we want to introduce to you a targeting option that most small business owners are not aware of

And that is….

3. Life Events

Facebook collects a huge amount of data about its users – data that advertiser can use to find the right market for their products and services.

The best part is, unlike other platforms, the data is usually updated and accurate.

And “Life Events” as a targeting option definitely deserves a lot more attention (than it is getting) from businesses wanting advertise on Facebook.

As a retailer, if you are able to think of ways to apply this, you will have practically opened up a huge stream of potential footfall for your business.

Before we elaborate, allow us to show you how to get to “Life Events”,

First, click on “Demographics”,

Then a list of options will appear.  Select “Life Events”

Facebook Detailed Targeting Demographics


Life Events is especially useful if you have a product or service that is especially relevant during different phases of a person’s life.

There are so many ways to use “Life Events” for your targeting. The key is to look through the list of life events and see what you can use.

Here are a few examples to get the brain juice flowing.

Upcoming Birthdays – Hobby stores could offer a free gift that they would need to collect in person, restaurants/ spas can come up with birthday packages and fashion brands may give out birthday discounts…

Newly Engaged (3 months / 6 months / 1 year) – If you are in the wedding niche e.g. offering wedding planning or wedding photography services, you can target newly engaged couples.

Recently Moved — Home appliance businesses could offer promotions for products that people tend to need after moving, or F&B outlets advertising their services & deals since these people are new to the area they won’t know where else to go.

4. Events Targeting

Events are a great way to getting footfall.

On top of getting to know your customers better, you build goodwill with your market and eventually… more sales.

Here’s a great example by lululemon (a sportswear retailer) where they organise yoga classes within their outlet.


(Image Credit – Lululemon)

Here’s a quick guide on how to create your own events on Facebook:

First, you have to visit your business’s Facebook fanpage and click on the “Publishing Tools”, then “Events” tab,

Facebook Fan Page Events

Then click on “Create Event”

Facebook Fan Page Event Creation

And then you can fill in your event details accordingly.

Facebook Event Details

Last but not least, spread the word!

Share the news with your customers or even run Facebook ads that lead people to your event page.

You could even partner up with other businesses to throw a party. i.e. restaurants partnering up with Fashion retailers to host a fashion show complete with bars & buffet,

Alternatively, you can run Facebook ads to your event page!

All you need to do is select “Engagement” then select “Event Responses” as your marketing objective when creating ads in Facebook:

Facebook Campaign Event Objective

Next, you can apply the techniques that we are talking about in this post.

Yes, it’s that simple!

5. Create an Incentive For Your Customers

This could be as simple as giving out free samples. This is something that Sephora does very well to get people to visit their stores.

Sephora Store

(Image Credit: Sephora)

And when people come into your stores, they are more likely to buy something.

There are many visual and psychological triggers that tempt people into buying things.

Think about this, have you ever went into a supermarket and bought more than you intended?

(Chances are, you got tempted by the snacks that they “conveniently” left near the counter)

Or when you received a complimentary cake from Starbucks, you usually end up buying a frappucino as well.

(Maybe because you got sold by the cashier’s suggestion, “would you like a drink with that?”)

Which brings us to the next point,

After all the effort you put into getting more footfall, you obviously want people to buy your products/ services.

It is very important to make sure your staff has a script to get people to buy more.

This script should be enforced to the point that all of your employees speak it by muscle memory.

Because it’s going to make you a lot of money.

An example would be when McDonalds have their “Monopoly deal” promotions.

McDonalds Monopoly

This event gave their consumers an incentive (cash prizes, free meals…) on top of it being a fun way for people to keep visiting their restaurants.

On top of the physical incentives, it gave people an emotional joy of collecting the tickets and the feeling of winning something.

And when people visit their stores, the cashier will suggest an upsize and maybe an apple pie to go with their meal.

I’ve even seen health-nut friends of mine who avoided McDonald’s like it was the plague turn into customers(of McDonald’s) because of this event.

Heck, there are even people selling these Monopoly tickets on Carousell!

Carousell Post Example

This is the power of creating an incentive for your customers. If you can get this right, footfall and sales for your business will blow up, just like McDonald’s.

6. Retargeting your current customers/ visitors

Get your customers to like your page to get something for free. This is a great way to save costs on your marketing in the long run.

Alternatively, you can gather feedback from your customers when they make a purchase.

By testing their response to different products/ services etc.. you will be able to create stuff that your market really wants.

Starbucks Customer Survey

(Image Credit: Starbucks)

Here we have an example of Starbucks gathering feedback about their services. On top of this, they will collect the customer’s contact details.

So on top of being able to improve their services, they have information on how to retarget an existing customer.

You can bet on it that whenever Starbucks launches a new drink, these people will hear about it.

Here’s another example of retargeting by Expedia.

Expedia Retargeting Ad

(Image Credit: Expedia)

The airline and tourism industry tend to do a lot of retargeting. Especially after you have browsed their websites.

They will pull out information based on which hotels/ destinations you were looking at and churn out advertisements related to those things.

These are the people who are most likely to buy from you again and again because you have already established a level of trust.

  • Get them to post about it on Facebook to let their friends know about it.
  • Getting reviews is another great way to capitalize on every visit.


Facebook Ad Example (Owndays)

(Image Credit: Owndays)

Here’s an example of Owndays getting their customers to tag them in their posts, in return the customer stands a chance to get featured on Owndays’ Facebook page (this is the incentive).

Also, on the right  you will see the reviews that their customers wrote. This builds a lot of credibility and trust with potential buyers who visit Owndays’ Facebook page.

7. Create engagement

By creating engagement, you will build goodwill and strengthen your brand’s image in the market.

Also, it will serve as free marketing as people start sharing your posts, their friends and connections will also be exposed to your ads.

Essentially, you are turning your customers into walking salesmen.If you do this right, you will achieve a “multiplier effect” where thousands of people will know about you.

With that said,

You want to create a situation where you get people to share your products/ services / brand on their profiles or let their friends know.

Also, you can communicate with your customers by replying their comments. This gives your company a “human” element.

Best part? It won’t even cost you much (or anything at all) to do this.

Here are some examples:

Facebook Ad Example (GoPro)

(Image Credit: GoPro)

In this example, GoPro encourages people to share their photos with them which then gets uploaded on their Facebook (similar to Owndays’ where they get customers to tag them)

Next we have Scoot where they created a little contest for people to take pictures of themselves to join.

Facebook Ad Example (Scoot)

Image Credit: Scoot

Lastly, we have Cafe Pralet where they interact with customers on their post about their Chinese New Year snacks promotion. If you notice, the first comment was actually a complaint and they didn’t shy away from it. Kudos to them!

Facebook Post Share Example

8. Learn How To Sell Online

An alternative to getting more footfall for your physical stores is to…

Sell your stuff online. It’s really easy to do this nowadays, with platforms like Shopify.

We don’t even need to know how to do coding anymore.

It’s really easy to set up your own online store and pretty affordable too!

Shopify Pricing Example

(Image Credit: Shopify)

On top of that, with the growing trends, it would be best if you invest in establishing an online presence, the sooner the better.

Ecommerce Penetration Rate

Of course, we’re not asking you to give up your brick & mortar establishment. It’s just that having an online store of your own, you will be opening a huge door of opportunity for your brand and sales to rise.

With that, if you would like to learn even more techniques and tips on how you can use Facebook to drive more sales & footfall for your business,

Do check out GrowthX, our online business growth membership by top international digital marketing experts at the link below. 


About the Author:

Adam Teow is a customer acquisition expert who has managed more than $5.5 million dollars of advertising budget over his 7 years of experience in digital marketing for global brands such as SKII and Gillette. He has trained over 1,500 business owners and marketers and helped them generate millions of dollars of additional revenue for their businesses.