Footfall into retail stores were 15.1% higher in 2022 in comparison to the year before. 19.7% more shoppers flocked the high streets and 13.4% visited shopping centres. This upward trend is expected to continue through 2023, therefore, it is crucial for retailers to focus on enhancing the physical retail experience in order to retain existing customers and win new ones.
61% of shoppers said they’re more likely to spend more when shopping physical stores, making brick-and-mortar store a valuable touchpoint. Creating easy, unique, and memorable shopping experiences will make retailers stand out among competition.
Consider using technology to improve store operations. For example, software helping with stock management so demand is always met; or sales staff using iPads to access information quickly when serving customers on the shop floor.
Self-service kiosks, which supports the e-commerce boom, can help put customer in control. Other AI and machine learning based technologies can be integrated in-store to provide personalised suggestions, saving consumers valuable time and energy.
Since technology can help make shopping experiences easier and more fun, it doesn’t come as a shock that 49% of consumers prefer to shop in stores that embraced technology to improve consumer experience.
Seamless omnichannel experience:
Today’s consumers are multichannel buyers and their journey includes an average of six touchpoints. The buyer journey can start online, on social media, in store etc and can end in any of the touchpoints available. Some might interact with the physical product in store before purchasing and having the product right there and then; others may choose to buy online to avoid carrying bulky items; there are also impulse buyers who purchase directly from social media when influencers promote an item. Therefore, providing multiple touchpoints and a seamless omnichannel experience is very important in 2023.
Click and collect and in-store returns allows consumers to move seamlessly from online to offline store, giving retailers an opportunity to upsell in store. Similarly, social media shops allow consumers the ease of purchasing on their preferred platform without friction.
In store, QR codes on products can help consumers get more information on products and purchase online if they are not ready to buy in store.
The more buying channels you have, the more consumers you’ll attract. Giving them options removes friction and allows them to move through the buying stages seamlessly, making the experience pleasant and reducing the number of consumers lost along the way.
One of the biggest investments in retail stores is the rent, the cost of which is dependent on the location. Good locations, with high footfall of the target demographic, can massively improve sales, simply by being in front of the right customers, making location a very important decision when opening or moving a physical store.
Sizes of stores are also important to consider. You’ll need data on the role of the stores in order to decide on the sizes. In one location your target customers may prefer to buy online and collect in store; but in another location they may spend a long time browsing the store. Therefore, for the first store you can have a smaller space which is mostly used for click-and-collect and only display a few products to upsell; and for the second store you may wish to display a much larger range, allowing consumers to discover and engage with more products.
Pop-up stores can be used to gather data on customer needs in different locations and the role of the store. They can serve to test new concepts and products before making large investments on permanent stores.
Rob Anson, CEO of Loop Insights says, “Leveraging data will be critical for retailers. Retailers must measure and attribute customer value to create strategies that keep customers engaged, and increase revenue.”
Due to the cost-of-living crisis, we’re expecting to see further changes in shopping behaviour, ticket value and frequency of purchase from shoppers across different categories. With real time information on your shoppers, you can understand current consumer behaviour and also future changes. So, strategic decisions such as where and how big to open a store, adding additional touchpoints, or introducing certain technology will no longer be guesswork.
Use real-time data to gather insights into your customers: understand traffic, in-store shopper flows, dwell analysis, queue analysis, and behaviour in general to help you identify the role of your physical store on your customers’ shopping journey.
Data can also be used to personalise products and experience in store. This is where brick-and-mortar stores have the upper have as they are able to delivery personalised immersive experiences in a way online retailers cannot. As far back as 2019, 63% of consumer between the ages of 22 and 36 were willing to switch to in-store shopping for a better experience.
Data is king. To provide positive in-store shopping experience and seamless omnichannel experience, you will need a deep understanding of your consumers’ needs. This is where data becomes necessary.
In summary, getting your physical store ready for the expected footfall in 2023 is crucial. Those who will stay ahead of the curve will be able to retain existing customers and win new ones.