Optimizing Your In-Store Footprint to Drive $$$
It’s expensive to be a brand or retailer with physical locations. However, with 94% of all U.S. retail purchases ($4.4 trillion) being purchased in store (U.S. Census Bureau), it’s critical that brands not only have a physical presence, but also have a successful physical presence. So the question becomes, with the space you have, whether you are a retailer or a brand, how do you optimize that space to get the most bang for your buck and real ROI?
What I find particularly interesting is brands and retailers talking more about costs involved in their in-store experience without looking at the return on the in-store experience. Cost per shopper/cost per square foot, inventory turns, etc. are still valid metrics, but as marketers are being measured more on results, the return from these investments become important metrics. The reality is, physical retail is no longer a standalone venue accountable only to customers on site. Many brands and retailers are learning that the physical store is also helping drive online revenue as well, especially with in-store pick up.
So, what are some of the ways you can optimize your in-store footprint and maximize ROI from your efforts?
- Understand (research) how your customers purchase and what excites them, i.e. their path to purchase. Doing mobile and online research along your specific customer’s path to purchase will give you incredible insights on where you need to be investing to drive more sales. And, couple that with in-store analytics and you’ll have a constant pulse on what needs to be done so you can stay relevant and competitive. You’ll learn:
- What your customers do—Where did they go once they entered the store? How long did they stay there? What demographic group did they belong to? What did and didn’t they respond to?
- Why your customers do what they do—What motivated them to exhibit the behaviors they did, and ultimately purchase the brand they did? What did they consider before even coming into the store? How did they feel about your brand versus competitors? How did they use digital tools throughout their path to purchase?
- How do your customers feel—As your customers moved through their path to purchase, what were their emotions? Were they happy when they received product information from the display or were they frustrated with product information offered by the sales associate?
- Determine where your brand can most influence the customer along their path to purchase. Based on these “points of influence”, what excites/engages the customer with your brand in store? Understanding how you influence customers in store, with their proven path to purchase, provides you with a roadmap to in-store success. With all these insights in-hand, you can design experiences that “speak” to the individual customer. Can you customize and dynamically deliver content either on digital displays or via mobile that is of interest to that individual?
- Use interactive digital elements to convey a lot of information in a small space. Convey valuable information specific to the product being considered, and also specific to the individual customer and their needs based on where they might be in their path to purchase, i.e. researching features, considering alternatives, comparing prices, etc. Plus, you’ll also be able to:
- Provide engagement for the customer (increasing dwell time).
- And, get analytics of what messages/campaigns customers are engaging with and what isn’t working.
- Consider in-store kiosks if you have a lot of inventory and little space. Kiosks can show the same selection you have on the web, while minimizing inventory needed on hand. Here’s a fun example of one we did for Danze a few years ago using RFID tags, a touchscreen and six linear feet of wall space:
- Tie mobile into your in-store experience. 75% of shoppers are using mobile while in store. These customers are looking up price comparisons, pulling product reviews, searching social sites and more. This is a prime opportunity for brands to provide useful apps and mobile specific websites to answer your customer’s questions and take some control of how they experience your brand.
Physical retail can be expensive. And, the advent of new channels has increased competition, cost and price pressures. Nonetheless, the store remains at the heart of the customer relationship. As such optimizing your in-store footprint is becoming increasingly critical for continued sales growth. Are you taking steps to ensure you are maximizing your in-store footprint?
Image Copyright: boygointer / 123RF Stock Photo
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