Shop Talk: Practical Answers for tough business questions.

by : 
Kim Perkins
April 1, 2013

Question: How can i attract more tourists to my store? With the current economy in our area, it sure would help to have more business from visitors!

Answer: To attract more tourists to your store, you need to think like a tourist. When you are traveling on vacation or even for business, what shops do you look for where you’re visiting? Most people are interested in finding stores unique to that location—independent book and gift stores they can’t find close to home. Tourists should be interested in visiting your shop—as long as they know it exists.

Make sure these tourists know about your store. Advertise in publications geared to them. A good place to start is your local Chamber of Commerce, which often has an online or printed visitor’s guide. Also investigate other local publications geared toward out-of-town visitors, such as those available at hotels or local attractions. Another great resource are the concierges at finer hotels in your area. They love to find unique places to excite their clients! Invite them to your store and give them information (rack cards, discount cards, etc.) they can pass on to their guests.

Two customers recently came to our store, Elysian Fields, directly from the airport because they saw a review of our store in an airline magazine. Although we had no idea the review existed, it was a wonderful testament to the power of attracting tourists through travel and visitor related publications.

As always, the best advertising is word of mouth. Perhaps begin a campaign that rewards customers for bringing a friend to your store—one where both receive a free gift or a discount if the friend is shopping at your store for the first time.

Kim Perkins is co-owner of Elysian Fields Books & Gifts for Conscious Living (, an award-winning store in Sarasota, Fla. Send your retail questions to