In the past, the surest way to boost sales was to try and encourage more customers to come into your stores. Yet that is all changing…
Now, you can go beyond improving the physical layout of your store and use tactics to heighten their in-store experience, as well as make it easier for them to purchase your products online. Do that and you can potentially increase the number of purchases each individual customer makes.
Take the following scenario.
A customer comes into your store to buy some nails so he can finish a DIY job. By strategically placing other useful DIY tools within the same area; you may be able to entice them into buying more than what they originally wanted i.e. he might grab a new screwdriver or hammer to help him complete the job, etc.
Yet, when formulating your store design it is important that you remain mindful of the current climate. COVID is affecting businesses on a global scale, and will continue to influence them for many more months. Add into the equation the range of social distancing measures currently in place e.g. 2 people in a store/2 metre distances between shoppers – and minimising footfalls is imperative.
This means you need to find the right balance between increasing your sales while keeping your customers protected.
So, how can you make it happen? How can you get the best of both worlds?
Product layout within store design
Customers crave simplicity, so it makes sense to make their visit as quick and as efficient as possible. A good tactic is to have clearly labelled displays that are not only neat and organised, but that purposefully showcase your best sellers. This will give you the advantage of being able to promote your best products/deals while allowing customers to consider their options.
You can even go as far as to use intelligent and efficient communication tactics – such as indicating which products are your best sellers – as this will influence their purchasing decision.
This should not be their only option though. They should be able to browse through your whole range, as their needs may differ from your average customer.
Alongside making these displays easy to locate and identify – by giving your store a logical layout – it is important that you regularly refresh and keep these displays relevant so you can better connect with your customer’s needs. This can range from basing your displays on the weather, to focusing on what is happening locally, to observing trends, seasonal events or cultural experiences.
For instance, if you owned a garden centre, you would rotate your plants to suit the seasons, as well as would push certain tools/materials depending on when they are most useful, etc. This will ensure that any customer who comes in with a specific goal can find everything they need in one location.
- Incorporate customer centric design – here, every design decision should aim to maximise customer satisfaction.
- Use strong in-store visuals – the sad fact is, customers won’t buy anything that is visually unappealing. For this reason you need to make your visuals strong:
- Make your displays noticeable and insta-worthy – by placing your displays in strategic locations i.e. central and at the front of your store, you can drive customers into buying simply through this striking visual. Another tactic is to adopt multi-dimensional designs e.g. add height, colour and depth whenever possible.
- Have a focal point so customers know which items/details they should focus on.
- Avoid having busy or distracting displays – this will just overwhelm your customers. Plus, they are more likely to skim over your products and not look at them properly, as they won’t know where to look first.
- Make your displays useful and interactive – this will allow your customers to see your products in action and recognise their true value. To achieve them create displays showing your products in use; give them a chance to try them out, or have a team member perform a demo.
- Display best products front and centre – like we already mentioned, showcasing these products – even if they aren’t the cheapest – will show customers what you are capable of. They are also great conversation starters for staff and customers alike, as they can focus on ‘why’ they are so great.
- Dedicate your displays to special occasions and shopping events e.g. Mother’s Day, Easter, Christmas, summer holidays, etc. Consider the date well in-advance and plan out how your store is going to look during this period. For instance, you should put up obvious signs in hard to miss places (the entrance of your store) to help pump up sales and direct consumers to your offers.
A word of warning though – don’t make your signs too obvious as the current generation of shopper is intelligent and not so driven by marketing. Instead, they are more interested in purchasing products with a purpose. For this reason, you need to move past simple promotions, and focus on offering them a display that is meaningful, enriching and that will offer them more than a juicy deal, but a better shopping experience.
In-store experiences to hook and convert buyers
Give customers the option to ‘try before they buy’ and they will take you up on this offer, as it will enable them to experience EXACTLY what they’ll be getting should they decide to buy.
The easiest way to help them fulfil this wish is to offer interactive experiences where one of your staff – or an influencer – either does a demo with the product or invites a select number of customers to get involved. In either case, you can use these demos/interactive experiences to help prove to customers the quality and value of your products, so they’ll be more inclined to buy.
Another benefit to this particular strategy, is that it will help to engage your customers and ensure that they remember the product. For instance, instead of feeling lost under the weight of numerous products – that all look and sound the same – your activation will help to differentiate this product from the others, as well as will spark their memory. In doing so, they’ll more likely turn into a conversion as they know it works.
What else can you do to improve in-store experiences for your customers?
- Reduce wait times – research indicates that many customers will abandon their shopping and leave your store if they are made to wait for more than 6-8 minutes in a checkout queue.Yet given current social distancing rules – which are likely to be around for a while – waiting in a queue is now the new norm. So what can you do to make this wait more bearable? A good strategy many retailers are adopting is placing informative displays/posters at 2m intervals. This helps to distract consumers while they wait to be served, and keeps their satisfaction levels higher as they won’t notice the wait as keenly.
- Ensure products are on-point – you need to stay on top of your inventory to ensure that you’re stocking the right products at the right times of the year. This means tracking your inventory data and metrics (inventory turnover, produce performance, lost sales, etc.), so you’ve got a clear idea of what you’re selling, what is making money and which are failing. This will enable you to tailor your promotions and only buy what you need. We suggest looking at historical data and trends to help you forecast demand and determine what to buy, in what quantities and when. At Resolution Interiors we use platforms that can help you to predict trends for the next 3 years. For assistance, speak to a member of our team.
- Avoid ‘out of stock’ signage – going out of stock can cost you potential sales, but worse they will diminish customer satisfaction and perceptions of your brand. Should that happen, you could lose customers to competitors who are able to fulfil their needs.To minimise this, use an inventory management system to help you monitor stock levels (by sending you stock level alerts and reports) and your orders. You can also train your staff, so that they have the autonomy to implement a flexible strategy.
There is no denying that the right strategies can help your physical store to increase sales without prompting additional footfalls. However, it is not your only option.
Developing your online store can help you to quickly and efficiently engage with your customers without them having to pay you a visit. This is particularly helpful if they cannot get into your store during your regular opening hours – due to work – as they can simply jump online and purchase the products they need at any time of the day.
And this is great news for you, as it will eliminate customer restrictions, while giving them the flexibility to shop when, where and how they want.
It also gives you (the retailer) the added bonus of being able to reflect on your estate, and utilise smaller footprint stores that are designed for browsing / viewing shop only. Here, you can benefit from lower rent rates or the possibility of opening stores in more convenient locations (as smaller stores are more readily available and are a more feasible option).
Another bonus to focusing on your website, is that you’ll be able to reach a wider audience and go beyond supporting just those who live in your area. Instead, you can broaden your reach and even tailor landing pages to attract customers in specific locations.
Tips for boosting online sales:
- Make sure your site appears in online search results using keyword optimisation.
- Advertising – if you’ve got the budget consider using Google’s local inventory ads (LIA). This will let you list your local inventory info online so that they’ll show up as ads whenever customers search for products similar to what you’re selling.
- Offer click and collect – this has the added perk of getting people through your doors while reducing footfalls. In fact, research has found that 45% of customers who use click and collect are more likely to buy something else during their trip to the store.
- Offer a delivery service – this can boost revenues by up to 25%.
- Offer a loyalty program – a common scheme is to offer customers points every time they buy. When they reach a certain number of points, it can be converted into a discount which they can use on their next purchase.
- Harness social media/email/SMS – these platforms can be used to communicate with your customers about your latest deals.
As you can see, by carefully designing your displays, rethinking your store layout and adopting an online strategy, it is possible to increase your sales without having to get more people through your door.
For more assistance with designing displays/layouts and improving customer in-store experiences, contact our team of professionals at Resolution Interiors today.