March 6, 2018 Driving Footfall in 2018: The Optimal In-Store Experience
Catching customer’s eyes and attracting them to a store and all the way to the cash register has always been a challenge for retailers.
Moreover, in the past few years, the increase in the number of online platforms and competitors has only made it more difficult for retail companies to keep potential customers interested in visiting brick-and-mortar stores. With online shopping becoming more and more convenient for them, physical stores start to experience a dramatic decrease in footfall.
This calls for a need to identify footfall drivers, implement the necessary changes and improvements to adapt to this new landscape and find new and innovative ways to boost foot traffic in stores.
When it comes to buying a product that can be easily found online, what would make a customer pop into a physical store? This is a question that retailers should ask themselves if they want their brick-and-mortar locations to remain competitive and find a way to boost in-store sales. The answer is to create added value by offering unique experiences that customers can’t find online.
Implement omnichannel strategies
In order to keep physical retail businesses alive, they need to go hand in hand and be aligned with eCommerce and social media strategies, among others. Customers think of shopping as a single experience, regardless of the channel they use. That’s why it is so important to establish a coherent and consistent engagement with the brand throughout all channels.
Use technology to improve your customer experience
Technology is one of the key enablers when it comes to creating a great customer experience. If you wanna give shoppers a good reason to go out on the streets and visit your brick-and-mortar store, you gonna have to be creative and, above all, entertain them. This is what we call retailtainment, and it can be achieved in very different ways. For example, you can make use of interactive mirrors that showcase specific video content to passers-by, or set up iPads or touchscreen tables to expand information on a product.
Make use of digital tools to offer special discounts in store
One way to increase the interest in brick-and-mortar stores is to offer deals and discounts that customers can only enjoy when popping up in a physical store.
Everyone as a customer like discounts: 38% of customers are said to look for special deals before they would make a purchase. So what if they could take a picture of any products they want to buy in the store, by using a feature in the retailer’s website or app and collect all the desired items at the cash desk when paying? And even better, what if, by doing so, they received a voucher to get a discount on their purchase?
Augmented reality to leave your customers amazed
One of the main drawbacks in online retail is that customers cannot know what the product they intend to buy will look like until they’ve bought it and tried it. This is especially true in terms of clothing, furniture, home decoration, etc. That’s why some online retailers are starting to implement online augmented reality (AR) experiences that blend the digital and physical worlds. This allows, for instance, to be able to know how a piece of furniture will look in a certain room.
But augmented reality applications don’t need to be limited to online stores. What about using AR to improve traffic in physical stores? Exclusive augmented reality experiences might help raise interest in visiting brick-and-mortar stores, captivating tech-savvy customers and bringing in potential clients driven by curiosity.
Retailers can also use AR to visualize products to visitors that may not be available at their smaller store units – this way, they can showcase the full inventory at all the locations in a cost-effective way.
Hold relevant and engaging activities
The store of the future needs to be more than a place to buy products. This is why some retail companies have started organizing engaging events at their physical stores. This may involve a large variety of activities, such as presentations of newly launched products, music concerts, events with influencers, prizes and contests, and even educational courses (as Apple does). This helps bring in more traffic and, at the same time, strengthens the retailer’s brand and reputation.
Exclusive in-store games- let’s gamify the whole experience
Remember customers need to be entertained? Gamification offers an interesting way to do it. It combines elements of a game with certain rewards, such as offers, discounts, promotions, etc., which the customer gets access to by participating in different activities or achieving certain milestones.
This is a subtle, yet highly efficient way to get customers to engage with your brand and make the in-store experience fun. Boston Retail Partners predicts that 87% of retailers will aim for gamification strategies in the following 5 years.