With a growing number of consumer purchases happening online, what are some of the world’s leading retailers doing to retain and increase the number of people coming through their brick-and-mortar stores? Let’s look at four of the best tactics we’ve seen that encourage footfall in retail.
Make it personal
A major part of what shopping online offers is personalisation, creating a product or order that is specific to you. All Star sneaker peddler, Converse, has always let customers personalise their Chucks online but their new Blank Canvas workshop in Soho, New York, kicks the process of creating unique high-tops into high gear.
Customers work with a designer one-on-one, picking sole colours, graphics, trims; whatever makes them feel like yours and yours alone. This kind of hyper-personalisation (a trend with cosmetic and beauty companies, too!) becomes a talking point amongst friends, creating a word-of-mouth campaign that, in the words of Converse’s global creative director, really “draws people in”.
I choose you, promo!
US video game retailer, GameStop, has teamed-up with Nintendo to motivate millennials to step on to the high street, and they’re using their biggest franchise to do it; Pokémon! Rare pocket monsters will be available for download in-store every month throughout 2016 to celebrate Pokémon’s 20thbirthday.
The promotion’s strength is that it asks almost nothing of the customer whilst providing immense value in return, and on a consistent basis. A somewhat harmless visit to the local game retailer becomes a monthly outing, giving the store an opportunity to build relationships with customers they may never have met.
A little alteration goes a long way
It might seem like a simple idea, but small services can make a big difference to new customers. ‘Lifewear’ brand UNIQLO offers free alterations on all bottoms (jeans, chinos, etc.) over £20, including online purchases. Customers just need to bring proof of purchase and the item into the store and they’re good to go. Not only does this encourage customers to visit the store, they also have to return to come pick up their freshly altered apparel; another cross-sell opportunity right around the corner!
S.I.Y: Shop It Yourself
Self-service stats are consistently proving that shoppers purchase more when left to their own devices, and big brands like STA Travel are already giving customers the opportunity to shop unaccompanied wherever possible. A little extra product information, the ability to save-for-later, and even click & collect are all simple ways to help customers guide themselves through the sales journey.
Even Apple, reigning champs of the dollar-per-square-foot competition, understand that some customers just want to get in and get out. Apple encourages customers to use their Apple Store app, join the free WiFi, and scan any product on the shop floor using their iPhone’s camera. If they’re ready to buy, customers simply log in with their Apple ID and pay with your stored card details. Payment complete, customers can walk straight out of the store, product in hand, having never spoken a word to anyone in a blue shirt. This gives customers complete control over their shopping experience, whilst lending a touch of magic to an otherwise mundane trip to the store.
There is no magic formula to creating foot traffic. Potential customers must be incentivised to visit your store, and once inside, service offerings must exceed or upend expectations so that shoppers will return for more. Value can be provided in myriad small ways, with perks that remind shoppers that real-world retail is best experienced in person, or events and giveaways that leave lasting impressions and create attention.