How smart retailers optimise store footfall
Understanding opportunity levels in stores is crucial. But how do retailers get more people to visit their stores in the first place and how are they utilizing the right tech to help stores understand customer behaviour and maximise opportunity?
Improving Store Footfall
Nowadays, retailers are integrating cutting-edge e-commerce platforms with their physical stores and want the same dynamic view and access to data of their brick-and-mortar stores, as Google Analytics gives them for their e-commerce sites.
Therefore, a successful store experience involves optimising commercial offerings to consumers, blending the online with the in-store proposition, optimising click-and-collect store visits, and developing single views across their channels to market.
For sure, the best retailers are looking to enrich the retail environment and transform it into a real experience.
Hosting In-Store Events: In-store events may include a new product launch, demos, customer loyalty day, and celebrations of holidays or holidays. One of the most effective tactics that many retailers love to capitalise on is last-minute sales or door-buster sales that can quickly help to liquidate inventory during slow periods.
Collaborating With Other Brands: Retailers often form collaborations with other brands to bring customers in-store. Many brands are forming partnerships and inviting other brands in-store hold a special event or promote a service. In return, these brands then promote the store via social media, word of mouth, and email marketing, thereby bringing more foot traffic to the store.
Improving Store Design: To give customers a great experience in the store, the best retailers understand that navigation and store design is crucial capitalising on innovative, interactive visual displays to make in-store experience more fun and engaging. It’s about showcasing brand values through story telling. According to a Forbes article, “Brand storytelling is the cohesive narrative that weaves together the facts and emotions that your brand evokes. In addition to giving your customers reasons why they should buy a product or service, businesses need to start sharing the story behind their brand – why it exists and why it matters – consistently across all communication.”
It allows a retailer to stand apart from competitors, build a strong, trusted customer base and create a significant impact.
Ensuring Product Differentiation: Retailers understand that product differentiation is imperative if they need to get a competitive edge in the industry. Brands are coming up with out-of-the-box ideas and innovative solutions to provide extra value to their customers by offering them something that no other brand offers, ensuring a loyal customer base.
Just consider the example of Apple: the tech giant differentiates its products by pricing them higher than other similar companies, implying that their product have the latest technology and are premium quality. This prestige factor and exclusivity is what has makes Apple customers such a loyal and tight knit community. In addition, the company is a master when it comes to generating hype before launching its product through clever marketing tactics.
Offering BOPIS: Buy online, pickup in-store is a great way to create a smooth and seamless transition from online to offline shopping experience. This click-and collect tactic allows customers to buy the products they want from the comfort of their homes and help them avoid waiting to receive that order. To capitalise on this, retailers are now optimising store experiences, so that when someone comes to pick up an item, they may also end up buying something as well.
Investing in Customer Service: The average cost of a retail store redesign costs $40 per square foot (~ £32 per square foot); however, no amount of refitting and refurbishing can offset poor customer experience in terms of long queues, wait times, shortage of staff, disinterested and discourteous employees, and unhelpful engagement. [note figures are from October 2021]
All of this can mean a large investment for stores and thousands of dollars in potential sales. Hence, the best stores are investing in training their employees on how to manage the store in the most efficient way and improving the customer experience.
Increasing Customer Loyalty: The most successful retailers are adopting an ethos of treating customers like friends or family. By engaging early and using open questions to understand customers’ needs, staff are able to suggest and sell the most appropriate products as opposed to ‘upselling’ for the sake of short term gains. This approach engendered trust which means that retailers are effectively improving their bonds with the customers and increasing customer loyalty. Ikea have called their loyalty card their Friends and Family to re-enforce that sense of loyalty and trust.
Offering Complimentary Services: Successful retailers understand the power of offering free or complimentary services. A watch store that offers free battery changes may not increase basket size immediately, but a positive experience is proven to have a huge impact on valuable customer loyalty at all important return visits. Even stores that are doing small things, like adding a free bookmark with every purchase see an increase in customer appreciation, leading to repeat visits and higher store traffic.
Employing Experts On-Site: Physical stores that invite experts have been known to experience door-busting traffic at their store. A good example of this is book signing events which can attract thousands of potential customers to a store. Also take the example of Sephora, which employs expert makeup artists to offer mini makeovers that can teach a customer how to use their products and which type of products look good on them. Store stats have shown these activities add another level of engagement to the customers and often guarantee instantaneous purchases as well as repeat visits.
Personalising Promotional Activities: Personalisation allows brands to target their customers more effectively. Retail stores are now adopting various technology including people counters, sales records, and other analytics to collect the right customer data, getting deep insights into their customers’ interests and activities. This in turn helps them to find out how to reach their customers in the most effective way to encourage store visits.
Just look at how Louis Vuitton does it. The luxury designer offers personalisation services like hand-painting and hot-stamping your luggage tags. The company hires expert craftsmen who will hot press your initials or adorn your leather or hard-side luggage bags with whatever you want and give a truly personalized touch to your purchase, completely free of cost.
Holding On-site Classes: Many successful retailers hold free classes in-store. Apple offers “Today at Apple” classes that are taught by Creative Pros. These classes focus on Apple products and include topics like how to use iCloud, Swift programming languages, use of iPhone cameras, etc. However, the store also offers classes on other topics as well like how to run a connected business, how to create video using storytelling, and app prototyping.
There are reasons why Apple has such a close, exclusive, and loyal community, and the highly unique and engaging customer experience it offers to all its customers is just one reason.
Working with Influencers: Retail stores are now using influencers to create a lot of buzz of their event. These people know the things to say that can create hype and a lot of curiosity among consumers. Since they also have a large fan base, many people are already hanging on to their every word, and this is capitalised by successful retailers.
In fact, more and more stores are now turning to micro-influencers who are known around the local community to create anticipation as well as credibility for their brands. Not only are these kind of events memorable but they also create brand awareness for lesser-known retailers.
Offering Digital Amenities: Retailers are now using the lure of free Wi-Fi and charging stations to bring in more customers to their store. This is a very smart move since for modern customers, these amenities are hard-to-resist and retailers understand that using them will attract customers that might otherwise never enter their stores.
By using digital amenities and coupling them with an engaging store experience, retailers have been successful in not just grabbing the attention of customers but also helping them make a purchase.
Creating Instagram-worthy Opportunities: Millennials and Generation Z will go to great lengths to not miss a photo-worthy opportunity. Creating a photo wall or dedicating a corner in the retail store for pictures is a tactic that many retailers are now adopting. The benefit to this is two-fold since retailers are not just able to get bigger footfall into their store but the store also gets increases social visibility.
Measuring, engage, improve, repeat
Measuring foot traffic to and in-store is essential for understanding customer behavior and it helps store teams to align their resources, their focus and their activity to ensure every opportunity to engage and convert is met. There’s a plethora of easy to install and use tech that meets different aspects of the retail journey from walk-bys, to door entry, dwell time, store hot spots, journey time and queue management. Smart retailers are taking the time to explore and understand what the challenge is they want to address and based on a clearly defined road map, they implement a project that puts in place:
- The appropriate In store technologies for measuring different aspects of retail footfall traffic, journey and in store behaviours
- Clear and appropriate analytics with timely and actionable information
- The tools and information to assist store teams to optimize their stores performance
At StoreTech, we offer a broad range of advanced and flexible footfall and customer journey and behaviour solutions for retailers and commercial businesses. Contact us today for your free discussion and demo with our experts contact.