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How Improving Store Experience Can Generate More Retail Foot Traffic

This is an archived post from OrderDynamics, now Tecsys retail division.
How Improving Store Experience Can Generate More Retail Foot Traffic In July 2017, a report analyzing over 8M shopping trips across the U.S. indicated that retail foot traffic had hit an all-time low. The report further signalled an end for the brick-and-mortar revival. However, some retailers must not have read that report. Modern retailers understand that stores are no longer places to just display products and hope for retail foot traffic to wander in to buy. Moreover, thriving retailers are working hard, building brand experience stores that don’t look, act or do business in a traditional way. In fact, according to Lululemon their push tactics to renovate stores had paid off with traffic rising in the mid-single digit range. More to that, Morgan Stanley analysts claimed the company was able to pull off positive sales, both at its stores and online. Consequently, not only are these brand experience stores seeing an increase in retail foot traffic but retailers who focus on offering customer experiences, are seeing higher levels of return business.

Are There Many Omnichannel Shoppers?

To revolutionize your retail business, the focus towards leveraging the benefits of each channel accordingly is a colossal undertaking. In that sense, is it a worthwhile investment to continue to focus on physical stores as well as on digital channels? How many customers are actively taking part in omnichannel? Recently, the Harvard Business Review studied 46,000 shoppers to gauge what impact (if any) omnichannel retailing had on their experience. The results were: 7% shopped online exclusively 20% were store-only shoppers 73% used multiple channels Which just goes to show that there are many omnichannel shoppers out there. Not only that, but Havard Business Review also found  "that omnichannel customers loved using the retailer’s touchpoints, in all sorts of combinations and places. This past Black Friday weekend saw claims of a growth of 50% - 73% in in-store pickup of online order (aka: BOPIS | Click & Collect). Not only did they use smartphone apps to compare prices or download a coupon, but they were also avid users of in-store digital tools such as an interactive catalog, a price-checker, or a tablet.”

...and They Purchase More Often

However, it is not only that there are more and more people turning to omnichannel retail. Most often, customers that shop across different channels also purchases more often - across all the channels. It seems like through empowering customers to feel the essence of the brand, retailers are creating stronger relationships that result in more frequent purchases. Business Insider: Shoppers who engaged on multiple channels made purchases more often.  

... and They Have Greater Customer Loyalty

The Aberdeen Group (via Digital Commerce) has shown that companies with omnichannel retail strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers from channel to channel. Meanwhile, businesses with weak omnichannel integration retain only 33%.

The Innovators

As mentioned not all retailers feel that brick and mortar is no longer the way to go. Check out how these retail innovators are driving more retail store traffic. [caption id="attachment_9763" align="alignright" width="281"] Source: Audi Media Center[/caption]

I Audi Get Myself One of These Cars

To entice customers back into the showroom, Audi unveiled a new virtual reality experience that brings car buying to life. Customers can preview customizations prior to purchase and take a virtual test drive. With many dealerships only stocking a handful of cars, the virtual reality experience also brings the entire Audi's catalog into the showroom.

Build-a-Bag at Barneys

In the same way, Barneys empowers handbag lovers to individualize their own bucket bags. Customers of Anya Hindmarch (a British designer) can select from colours, accessories, straps, and handles to craft a custom creation at the customization concept space in Barneys on Madison Avenue. After receiving the product, customers can continue to update their bag with new additions. Admittedly, making it a truly personalized and ongoing experience with the designer brand. [caption id="attachment_9766" align="alignright" width="282"] Source: The New York Times[/caption]

Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, This In-Store Experience Was Built Just For You

On the other hand, Disney is unveiling a store prototype to bring the theme park magic directly into retail stores. The new stores feature large LED screens to live stream the daily theme park parade and fireworks. Moreover, associates, including characters, open each day with a small celebration. They then will interact with shoppers via learning and play activities.

Omnichannel Enables Retailers to Put Experience First For Their Customers In-Store

So, while some retailers are seeing a decline in physical retail foot traffic, others are seeing an incline. This positive approach is due to more customers are taking advantage of the opportunity to interact with a brand. Moving on, the evolution of retail space continues as brands keep redefining what it means to have a physical location. Therefore, instead of simply expanding, they’re exploring new real-estate strategies by reimagining and repurposing store environments. Hence, to be more relevant and responsive to customer needs. Today’s customer, generally, does not shop via one channel alone. On the contrary, a buyer’s journey encompasses different touchpoints from digital to physical. To capitalize on this, retailers can utilize their physical stores to enhance a customer’s ability to interact with both, the product and the brand. So, how will you put in-store experience first to create more retail foot traffic?   Author: Marie Badruddin is an Omnichannel consultant at OrderDynamics. Marie has previous experience in Sales and Marketing in the hospitality industry such as Hilton Hotel & Resorts, and smaller key players in the consulting and non-for profit sector. She has completed her Master’s in Strategic Marketing & BBA degree from the University of Wollongong, Australia.  
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