The death of retail has been greatly exaggerated.
Despite the pervasive notion of a retail apocalypse dominating headlines, research from IHL Group thoroughly debunks the widely reported idea that retail is dying. In fact, the opposite is true: some retailers are ailing but overall, net store openings are outpacing store closings.
That’s because stores still serve the many needs of consumers. Discover how to drive store traffic by leveraging your retail business’s particular strengths.
#1 Instant Gratification: They Need It Now
Fast and free shipping is all fun and games … until consumers need their product now. The woman who on Thursday needs a hot dress for her date Friday isn’t going to wait until the Monday for her LBD to arrive.
Stores still provide the all-important instant gratification (and dopamine high!) that many consumers are seeking, so leverage this desire to boost store traffic. In your marketing messages, remind shoppers that purchasing in store means they get the satisfaction of bringing their items home right away.
And the icing on the cake? They can skip shipping and returns fees, which can add up quickly online. Who likes waiting days or even weeks for the refund on a return to hit their bank account? No one. Drive store traffic by reminding consumers of how shopping in store with you can help their bottom line, and incorporate people-counting technology to ensure your store is staffed appropriately to meet demand at the right times.
#2 In-Person Interaction
Despite all the hand-wringing over digitally native Gen Z and millennial consumers preferring to spend time on their phones versus visiting physical stores, research shows that these shoppers actually favor the brick-and-mortar experience — and being able to talk to store associates is a big factor.
Offering top-notch staff interaction and customer service is a key way retailers can drive store traffic. As competition with e-commerce businesses increase, retailers increasingly are investing in training store associates to be experts — and giving them technology tools such as handheld smartphones phones and tablets to cater to customers’ need for information. And with traffic-counting data insights, retailers can ensure that associates are always on hand to serve customers when they need it most.
Promoting your loyalty program can also boost store traffic as shoppers are rewarded for return trips. That’s a pretty powerful incentive to make a store visit, especially for shoppers who already have an affinity for your brand.
#3 Eliminate the Guesswork: Let Consumers Try Before Buying
Trying before buying is one of those things that shoppers really like about buying in store. Nothing beats feeling a garment, getting an idea of the quality and seeing how that trendy top actually fits her frame before committing to a purchase. We’ve all heard horror stories about expectations vs. reality when shopping online. Maybe the color photographed one way online and looks completely different in the light of day. Remember the ? Is it blue? Is it gold? When shopping in person, there’s no such confusion or uncertainty.
Shopping in store means there are fewer surprises — what you see is what you get — and increased satisfaction. Smart retailers can capitalize on this idea of “foolproof” shopping to drive store traffic and maximize staffing, informed by people-counting data, to drive conversions and capture sales.
As long as stores are serving up the products and experiences that consumers want, shoppers will continue to patronize brick-and-mortar retailers. And as convenient as online shopping may be, nothing drives store traffic like instant gratification, expert-level service and the reassurance of trying products before buying. Keep these differentiators front and center to encourage visits to your store.