In today’s digital age, more consumers are researching and purchasing products via their smartphones, tablets, and computers at home. While it’s convenient to purchase products quickly with a swipe of the screen or a click of the mouse, customers are losing out on having in-store experiences – opportunities to engage deeper with their favorite brands. More so, retailers are losing out on chances to turn prospects into loyal customers if they can’t get them back in-store.
It’s incredibly important for retailers to drive foot traffic back into their stores. Brands have the opportunity to increase consumers’ basket sizes by 3X-10X through in-store experiences – giving consumers the chance to interact with products and services, or exposing them to ancillary and complementary items.
According to a First Insight Report, 71% of shoppers spend $50 or more when shopping in-store, indicating that consumers purchase significantly more per visit in-store than online.
Here’s how retailers can increase their foot traffic and create exceptional customer experiences.
How to increase foot traffic
1. Store signage
One of the first interactions that consumers have with brands in-store is their signage. A store’s sign visually displays the brand and attracts people in-store. Brick and mortar retailers must properly display their exterior signage – either hanging it above the entrance or displaying it on windows. If consumers can’t see the signage, they might not know what the store sells, which can leave consumers confused or unimpressed.
Once consumers enter stores, in-store signage must help consumers buy products – either by conveying the benefits of products or services or heralding discounts and promotions; essentially, these signs must warrant strong calls to action. Complementing store signage, visually appealing window displays can help to attract foot traffic by showcasing the latest products or fashions, which can capture shoppers’ attention. Though signage isn’t a new tactic, it’s significant in reaching consumers and persuading them to purchase, and brands must use that to help potential customers make in-store sales.
One of the most important strategies to attract more foot traffic is marketing. After all, marketing helps expose potential customers to brands’ products and services. It can also allow retailers to engage deeper with consumers and create loyal customers, especially through mobile, websites, and social media.
Mobile is a consumer’s most personal device, so by having conversations with brands via the device signals that customers are eager to engage more with retailers – either by app, email, or text. Now, retailers must use mobile to drive traffic in-store.
Brands can send exclusive promotions or offerings to their mobile subscribers, inviting them to purchase in-store goods at discounted prices. Retailers can also use push notifications to alert customers about new items or flash sales in-store in an effort to increase foot traffic.
Old Navy is a great example of a brand that sends consumers text messages to drive them in-store. Text messages are consistently sent each weekend, so consumers know to check their messages for their discounts.
Retailers’ websites are perfect vehicles to showcase product images and descriptions. According to eCommerce Foundation, 88% of consumers research products online before making purchases either online or in-store. How can retailers capitalize on this opportunity?
Like with mobile marketing, retailers can offer exclusive promotions and incentives to encourage online browsers to purchase products and services in-store.
As more consumers use online to research and offline to purchase, retailers must ensure that their websites provide enriching experiences for consumers that move them from digital to physical.
5. Social media
Social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other channels – present tremendous opportunities to engage with consumers and drive store traffic. Arguably, brands’ most loyal customers are already following their social pages because they’ve chosen to learn more from them and stay in touch about future news.
On social media, retailers can host contests with customers and award them in-store promotions. They can also ask them to post reviews about products and services with chances to receive exclusive rewards that they can redeem in-store.
In-store appointments are incredibly powerful to drive foot traffic. In fact, 64% of respondents said they typically spend or invest more in products or services after in-person appointments, according to JRNI’s 2018 Consumer Behavior Research.
Scheduling in-store appointments allows retailers to give customers personalized services – something they can’t receive online. For example, customers can meet with in-store stylists for recommendations about what styles best fit them for suits or dresses.
By offering appointments, there are enormous opportunities for upselling and cross-selling; for example, for customers getting fitted for suits, in-store stylists can offer suggestions for shirts, belts, and shoes.
For customers looking for the right dresses, in-store stylists can offer recommendations for accessories such as jewelry and handbags. These appointments deepen customer relationships because of the time and attention given.
Events are also effective for increasing foot traffic and creating exciting customer experiences. Hosting in-store events allow brands to give their customers live experiences and interactions with them, which generate loyalty.
With events, brick and mortar retailers can invite customers to the launch of new products, or they can have them attend VIP gatherings with exclusive promotions or offerings.
If retailers are opening new stores, they can turn them into events by inviting customers to preview sales with in-store promotions. Events can even produce benefits to brands’ bottom lines.
8. In-store experts
One of a brand’s biggest competitive advantages is its in-store staff, and retailers must build their brands around them. These individuals can share their extensive knowledge of products and services with customers, illustrating that their products and services greatly outweigh any ones that customers might consider to purchase from competitors. Speaking with in-store experts can help consumers find the best products or services for them because in-store staff can provide tailored recommendations.
As with appointments, in-store experts have opportunities to upsell and cross-sell to consumers. For example, consumers might be in the market for a certain type of smartphone, but after speaking with in-store representatives, they might actually want to purchase a different smartphone than originally envisioned. After all, knowledge is power, and this knowledge can create powerful in-store experiences.
9. Loyalty programs
Loyalty programs are the pinnacle of brands’ experiences with their consumers. Customers who’ve joined loyalty clubs are brands’ biggest fans because they either consistently purchase products or services from them or they enjoy their experiences with them.
With loyalty programs, retailers have opportunities to take their customer relationships to the next level. They can establish deeper connections with their top customers by knowing their preferred products or services and their purchase histories. These insights allow brands to customize promotions and offerings to customers who’ve voluntarily opted into their favorite brands.
How top retailers drive in-store traffic
From keeping inventory fresh to building stores of the future, retailers are savvy in their strategies to increase foot traffic. Here are some examples from top brands:
American department store chain TJ Maxx is known for its creative ways for bringing customers in-store, especially by keeping inventory fresh.
The brand has a motto of “door to floor in 24,” meaning that the retailer’s goal is to distribute products on the floor within 24 hours of delivery. This strategy results in consumers purchasing goods at faster paces – an average of 25 days versus 100 days that traditional stores such as Macy’s typically see per inventory turn.
This approach keeps styles fresh, so customers can almost always find new merchandise with every visit. And with products at discount prices, potential customers will undoubtedly flock to their nearest TJ Maxx for some great in-store sales.
Athletic apparel maker Lululemon’s name alone might draw customers in-store, but when consumers shop in some of the brand’s stores, they might notice new layouts and designs.
The innovative retailer recently unveiled a new in-store format, designed to create more immersive shopping experiences, according to Chain Store Age. In July, Lululemon plans to debut a 25,000-square-foot “experiential” store in Chicago that will include yoga studios, mediation spaces, healthy juice and food selections, and community gathering areas.
The goal? To develop stronger relationships between the brand and its loyal customers.
“We believe we are operating from a position of strength as we invest in creating dynamic experiential moments for our communities to connect and come together,” said Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald.
Beauty store chain Ulta Beauty is mastering the in-store experience by unveiling stores of the future, or what it’s calling “digital innovation ecosystems.”
According to Retail Info Systems, the U.S. beauty giant is set to expand internationally to Canada and is planning numerous store openings. In fiscal 2019, the retailer is eyeing to open about 80 new stores, remodel 12 stores, relocate eight stores, and perform 270 store refreshes.
In these stores, Ulta is using various technologies to drive consumers from the web to the store via chatbots, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality. Perhaps most interesting is that Ulta’s “Ultimate Rewards” loyalty program now has 32.6 million active members, growing 14% on a rolling 12-month basis, according to Retail Info Systems.
This growth signals that consumers are extremely loyal to Ulta and that the retailer honors them by delivering personalized offers, which can help to drive in-store traffic.
Interested in learning more about how you can drive in-store traffic and increase conversions via appointments and events? Request a demo of JRNI today!
June 24, 2019
12 minute read