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Marketing Strategies for Retailers: How to Attract Tourists

The travel and tourism industry is on the rise now that the world is going back to normalcy after the pandemic, and retailers must prepare how to attract tourists.

As a retailer, are you targeting tourists enough? If your retail store is located at a popular tourist destination or perhaps you’re in a sought-after city or location, this is a must. Shopping tourism, after all, has risen in popularity in recent years. This gives a lot of opportunities to retailers who want to attract audiences that are traveling and visiting places specifically to take advantage of retail experiences. This is a big reason why they should learn how to attract tourists to their retail stores.

Why do retailers need to attract tourists?

With shopping tourism on the rise, this specific and unique combination of traveling and shopping is contributing significantly to the global sector of travel and tourism. In fact, according to a June 2023 survey in which Singapore has the highest share of shopping tourists worldwide, 36% of the respondents said that shopping was their main reason for traveling. To ignore the purchasing power of these shopping tourists would be a missed chance for growth. Here are a few compelling reasons why it’s crucial for retailers to target tourists as well:


  • Increased Revenue: Tourists are typically on vacation or leisure trips. This means they are often more willing to spend money on shopping, dining, and entertainment to experience the culture and get exposed to the local destination. Attracting tourists can significantly boost a retailer's sales and overall revenue, especially in tourist-heavy locations and known tourist destinations.
  • Expanded Customer Base: Tourists come from diverse backgrounds and regions. Retailers can use this opportunity to reach a wider audience. This exposure can help build brand recognition and loyalty among international or out-of-town customers.
  • Seasonal Business Stability: For many retailers, especially those in tourist destinations, business can be highly dependent on travel seasons. Attracting tourists helps stabilize revenue streams during peak tourist seasons, and will help compensate for slower periods of the year.
  • High-Spending Customers: Tourists often have higher disposable incomes allocated for vacations. This usually means they are ready to spend on luxury items or local offerings that they might not purchase at home. Retailers can capitalize on this by offering exclusive or local products that appeal to these high-spending customers.
  • Word-of-mouth Marketing: Positive shopping experiences can lead tourists to share their experiences with friends, family, and acquaintances, both in person and on social media. This word-of-mouth marketing can enhance a retailer's reputation and attract even more visitors in the future.
  • Cultural and Product Diversity: Tourists bring diverse tastes and preferences, encouraging retailers to diversify their product offerings. This not only caters to tourists but also enriches the shopping experience for local customers by introducing them to new and unique products.
  • Economic Impact on Local Community: Attracting tourists can have a positive ripple effect on the local economy. Increased spending in retail can lead to job creation, higher tax revenues, and greater investment in local infrastructure and services.
  • Partnership Opportunities: Targeting tourists also leads to partnership opportunities for retailers. They can partner with local hotels, tour operators, and even other businesses in the area to create package deals or offer special promotions. These partnerships can drive more traffic to their stores and provide tourists with a seamless and enriched shopping experience.
  • Brand Image and Prestige: Being known as a destination for tourists can elevate a retailer's brand image and reputation. It can position the retailer as a must-visit location, not just for locals but also for all kinds of visitors from around the world.


Overall, knowing how to attract tourists as customers will lead to better growth. This can enhance their profitability, market reach, and overall business sustainability, all while contributing positively to the local economy and community.

How can a business attract tourists?

Attracting tourists to a business requires a mix of strategic marketing, retail solutions, partnerships, and exceptional customer service or experiences. It would also depend on the nature of the business or the services offered to know how retailers can market their business to various kinds of tourists.


Here are a few marketing strategies that will help retailers attract tourists to their businesses:


Local Partnerships and Collaborations


  • Partner with Hotels and Resorts: Partner with nearby hotels and resorts to offer exclusive discounts or packages to their guests. This could include vouchers for a percentage off purchases or special promotions only available to those staying in partner accommodations.
  • Collaborate with Tour Operators and Travel Agencies: Collaborate with tour operators to include your business as a recommended stop in their itineraries. Travel agencies can promote your business in their travel packages, which will encourage tourists to visit.
  • Promote Local Attractions and Events: Work with local attractions and event organizers to create joint promotions and events. For example, retailers can offer a discount to visitors who show a ticket stub from a nearby museum, attraction, or concert.


Targeted Marketing, Content, and Social Media


  • Online Presence and SEO: Ensure your business has a strong online presence, optimized for search engines. Tourists often search for places to visit online before or during their trip. Doing this will help retailers stay top-of-mind.
  • Social Media Campaigns: Use social media platforms to reach potential tourists. According to Statista, 75% of travelers use social platforms as a source of inspiration for travel. Make sure to share engaging content, such as beautiful photos, videos, and testimonials from other tourists and visitors. Retailers can also utilize geo-targeted ads to reach people who are planning to visit your area.
  • Travel Websites and Blogs: Advertise on popular travel websites and collaborate with travel bloggers and influencers to review and recommend your business.
  • Publish Localized Content: Creating localized content that uplifts the local community is also a good strategy for how to attract tourists. This will give the audience more reasons to visit your destination and, in turn, your business.


Retail Technology for Visual Merchandising


  • Strengthen Visibility and Signage: Ensure your business is easy to find with clear signage and visibility from main roads or tourist paths. Consider putting up multilingual signs as well to help international tourists navigate and find your business.
  • Implement Electronic Shelf Labels: Switch to electronic shelf labels (ESL) instead of traditional paper labels. ESL can help modernize a retail business, not only in the aesthetics of the place but also in the actual operations. ESL helps in visual merchandising, where retailers can attract audiences with window displays, signage, and actual product arrangements. Newton ESL, for example, can centralize workflows and enrich retail shelves with customizable branding design, e-ink technology that mimics paper, 7-color LEDs, and a 7-page information capacity for product details. All of these SOLUM ESL features and more can help attract tech-savvy tourists to a store.


Tourist Information and Guides


  • Create an Information Desk: Set up an information desk in your store where tourists can get maps, guides, and recommendations for other attractions in the area. This also supports the strategy of creating localized content for websites or social media.
  • Provide Concierge Services: Provide concierge-like services to help tourists plan their visit, including advice on transportation, dining, and activities.


Participation in Local Events and Festivals

  • Establish Sponsorship and Presence: Sponsor local events and establish a presence at festivals. Set up booths or pop-up shops at these events to attract tourists who are in town for the festivities. This also gives a unique retail experience that tourists will value.
  • Create Event-Based Promotions: Offer special promotions or discounts tied to local events or festivals. This could attract tourists who are attending these specific events and looking for things to do and places to shop while they are in the area.


Exceptional Customer Experience


  • Offer Personalized Service: Retailers should also provide a personalized shopping experience to attract more tourists. According to a research by Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. Tourists will more likely look for businesses that can provide personal and unique services. This includes personalized recommendations, customized products, or VIP treatment for tourists who will visit your business. 
  • Create Memorable Experiences: Create memorable in-store experiences, such as interactive displays, live demonstrations, or cultural performances. This will provide tourists with a unique and enjoyable visit.
  • Offer Public WiFi: Tourists like to share their travel experiences online, and offering public WiFi is a good way to attract customers to visit your business. Whether they are stopping for a rest, buying groceries or trinkets, shopping for clothes, or eating at your establishment, WiFi adds a little more value to your business.


Remember that, as a retailer, getting to know your customers and audiences is a must for success. And if tourists are a big part of your target market, you need to do better at attracting them to your business. Keep these strategies in mind to effectively attract tourists, enhance their shopping experience, and encourage repeat visits and positive word-of-mouth recommendations. From local content to business partnerships and electronic shelf labels, you can create a better retail experience for your local and international customers alike.

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