Increase Retail Footfall With Outdoor Advertising

How To Increase Retail Footfall With Outdoor Advertising

What is customer footfall?

Footfall simply refers to the amount of people setting foot in a shop or venue over a given period of time. Increasing customer footfall is a key goal for businesses, and outdoor advertising is an effective way to do this.

Huge drops in footfall have been reported by the British Retail Consortium [1], so it's imperative that your business does everything it can to boost visitor numbers. Learn how to use your shop's exterior and outdoor signs to increase footfall with our top 10 tips.

How to increase footfall with outdoor signage

Among the most effective examples of outdoor advertising products are A boards, heavy duty pavement signs, flags and banners, cafe barriers and poster cases. Pavement signs in particular can divert pedestrians' attention to your store window displays, which are a significant driver of footfall [2]. There are various ways you can use your outdoor signs and storefront displays to encourage footfall and generate unplanned purchases [3].

Top 10 examples of how to increase footfall with outdoor signs

  1. Make your advertising comprehensive and cohesive, with similar messages online, in-store and outdoors. Mention any promotions or sales you've been advertising on social media on your window and outdoor signs. Liquid chalk pens can be used on both chalkboards and inside windows for consistency in your outdoor marketing.

  2. Create innovative window displays in your storefront to attract customers and showcase your products. Install window sign holders and digital screens to convey pricing and branding in a subtle and stylish way. Studies have proven that window signs significantly influence passersby to enter, so make full use of these [4].
  3. Use humour on pavement signs. Jokes, rhymes and cartoons cause passersby to smile and feel warmly about your business. This increases your chances of getting free advertisement, as funny messages are more likely to be remembered and shared online.

  4. Make important information clear outside your business, such as displaying menus outside your restaurant, or using posters and leaflets to advertise opening hours and details of sales promotions in a shop or estate agents.

  5. Use event flags and forecourt signs as a great large-scale option which will attract attention from motorists and pedestrians alike.

  6. Use bespoke printed door and wall plaques to build brand awareness and enhance your image. Similarly, café barriers are a great way to section off an outdoor area, while presenting your branding and/or special offers.
  7. Promote loyalty schemes, which will attract customers away from competitors, and keep them coming back for more.

  8. Offer free samples outside using a Promotion Stand. This tactic works wonders for a range of business types, particularly retail stores and cafes.

  9. Connect with customers and appeal to their basic needs. Social and seasonal factors affect what customers might feel a need for at any given moment. A rainy weekend is the perfect time to advertise your umbrellas, for example. The same applies to warm clothes in winter and cool clothes or fans in summer. You may even alert customers to something they didn’t realise they needed!

  10. Host classes, music or poetry events, and invite industry professionals and influencers to give talks or sign books at your business.

Outdoor signage to increase customer footfall

Remember to choose your outdoor signage carefully. For extreme weather conditions, you should get a strong, weather-proof pavement sign with a weighted base to stop it from tipping.

‘storefront displays offer an attractive, cost-effective alternative means to improve retail store image’- ‘How storefront displays influence retail store image’ [3].

Measuring the success of your outdoor advertising products

One challenge that retailers are faced with is how to measure the success of window advertising and other outdoor promotions. There are various methods for inferring this information. Traffic can be monitored with manual and infrared counters. In-store, you can use video cameras, eye-tracking software, and customer feedback.

Edwards and Shackley's UK study on window displays looked at sales figures and surveyed 250 pedestrians to measure the display's success. [5]. This enabled them to gather both qualitative and quantitative data. Their research found that sales were positively increased in brick and mortar stores that utilised window displays.

Outdoor advertising products to increase footfall

Kira Swales

Kira Swales

Kira Swales is a copywriter for UK POS. Kira has nine years' experience in e-commerce and copywriting, with a background in retail. She enjoys researching topics in depth in order to provide readers with the latest information on point of sale merchandising. Read more of her comprehensive guides in our Knowledge Hub.


1. ‘Footfall Stumbles Ahead Of Christmas’ (December 2022), British Retail Consortium [accessed January 2023].

2. ‘Shopper Investigation: Windows’, POPAI (2021).

3. Cornelius, Natter and Faure, ‘How storefront displays influence retail store image’, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services (2010), Vol. 17, pp. 143-151.

4. Franklin Velasco Vizcaíno, ‘Beyond window signs: Understanding the affect-based effects of window signs on store patronage intentions’, Psychology & Marketing (2018), Vol. 35, Issue 7, pp. 542-552.

5. Edwards and Shackley, ‘Measuring the Effectiveness of Retail Window Display as an Element of the Marketing Mix’, International Journal of Advertising (1992), Vol. 11, pp. 193-202.