Watching customers walk by (or walk out) hurts, but it isn’t rocket science to keep customers coming back for more
Did you know that 70% of consumers prefer to shop at brick and mortar stores? Then why do retailers find it so hard to keep customers coming back to their stores?
Online shopping is popular, but most customers will visit your store for the experience and customer service. However, not all retailers take advantage of their retail spaces, and if you’re one of them, you’re failing to give customers a reason for coming by (and staying).
Below, we’re sharing tips you can use to keep customers coming back.
1. Create a ‘decompression zone’
Overwhelming your customers with products, displays or a welcoming committee the moment they enter your store can alienate them and make them feel pressured to stay or make a purchase.
Consider creating what’s known as a ‘decompression zone’ – the immediate area (say, 10 to 15 feet) of your store where you’d typically place countless products or showcases. Giving customers space to acclimate to your store and take in the design will help them notice more features, like lighting, fixtures, colours, signage, displays and, yes, products.
This tactic also gives you more room to create impactful displays around your store, because products aren’t getting overlooked by the entrance.
2. To the right, to the right
Without realizing it, most customers turn to the right when entering a store. It’s called the invariant right, and smart retailers keep this in mind when placing their products strategically.
Knowing this, you can optimize the right side of your store by showcasing products that will make the greatest impact or catch customer attention more readily.
For example, featuring seasonal items, limited edition products, or special collaborations will perform better when displayed on the right side of your store.
3. Make checkout easier
Customers want convenience, which is mainly why they shop online – checkout is simplified and products can be purchased within minutes.
You can create the same convenient checkout experience right in your store using a POS (Point of Sale) system, a piece of technology (think: portable Square terminals) that can be carried with you throughout your store which eliminates the need for customers to wait in line.
Alternatively, you can station POS systems near checkout lanes so that customers with smaller purchases can readily buy their products or search the pricing of items they’re potentially going to purchase while waiting in a queue.
Faster checkout equals more convenience, and that’s what your customers are looking for.
4. Create a clear path
Knowing that customers will inherently turn to the right, you can outfit your store with furniture, displays, merchandise outposts and racks to help them instinctively continue their shopping path.
You can do this by arranging those elements so that customers walk counterclockwise around your store, which will help gain your ‘must-see’ products significant exposure as shoppers navigate your retail space.
Don’t forget, though, that you want this path to lead somewhere. That may not always be an immediate beeline to the checkout, but a feature product display, an interactive area, a customer service desk, or a POS station. Think carefully about where you want your customers to end up on this ‘path.’
For instance, if it’s your checkout area, placing displays of products leading up/near the checkout will help with encouraging impulse buys.
4. Make room, people!
Consumer behaviour expert, Paco Underhill coined the term ‘butt-brush effect,’ and most retailers will be familiar with this phenomenon one way or another.
The typical customer will often avoid going down an aisle or perusing products in an area of a store where they’re likely to brush their bottom against someone else’s – the same applies to being in uncomfortably close quarters with other customers viewing the same products.
Even if customers are interested in a product or ready to buy, the butt-brush effect can deter them from following through on a purchase. So, your retail space has to give customers enough room to explore your store without bumping into others. Fortunately, this is a quick fix, where you can broaden aisles, rearrange product racks and displays, and declutter shelving.
Essentially, you’re making room for people! This simplifies your store design but can also help you drive more sales.
6. Take advantage of your checkout area
Prioritizing your checkout area is a must if you’re hoping to simplify the purchasing process (and have customers coming back for more).
Your checkout area should have a few key elements:
- Space – small or cramped checkout counters are annoying for customers and make them feel closed in or ‘suffocated’ because there’s nowhere to rest products or lean their bags. Ensure your checkout counter is sizeable enough to accommodate this.
- Checkout wall – Take advantage of the space behind your checkout area to display special products on the wall
- Generate impulsiveness – Displaying products right at the immediate checkout area can provide additional purchasing opportunities
Beyond these, you can use your checkout area to share QR codes, encourage signups and newsletter subscriptions for special offers, or play digital advertisements on loops.
7. Know how much to stock
Customers get different impressions of your store based on stock. Display a lot of stock, and many customers will perceive your store as having a wealth of value. Stock too low, and it gives the impression that items in your store may be more expensive.
This means the amount of stock your display or put out on the floor will depend on your store layout/size, the image of your brand you’d like to project, and the type of customer experience you want to provide.
A high-end boutique might be selective of the products they display on the floor and will curate their stock and displays accordingly. Knowing your niche and customer will help you determine how much stock you should have on display.
TIRED OF WATCHING CUSTOMERS WALK AWAY? NOW YOU CAN KEEP CUSTOMERS COMING BACK FOR MORE
Whether you have 3 locations or are responsible for 3,000, at CBSF we have the strategy, design, engineering, fabrication, installation, and merchandising expertise — in-house — that’s needed to help you make the most of your space while also setting you up for future success. Simplify the complexities of designing, building and optimizing your retail environment. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you elevate your retail store.
What’s the future of retail?
Malls, as we know them, are changing. And many are changing not only to serve customers but to serve retailers, now and into the future. As the way we shop continues to change and evolve, retailers and malls have to find unique ways to adapt to consumer needs. Many malls across Canada are reinventing themselves not just for the short-term needs of consumers, but for long-term demand, thinking ahead for the future of retail.
Explore the future of retail for both malls and retailers alike in our white paper, “Reinvention: The Saviour of Canadian Malls?”.