Retail Store Optimization: Part 2
Posted on 10, March, 2015
Last Modified on 29, April, 2015
Part one of this series focused on essential factors that when identified, can greatly improve retail sales. Part two of this series is an in-depth look at how to employ best practices, technologies and techniques to increase in-store conversions. Let's dig in and break down some techniques, strategies and tools.
Taking Advantage of Digital Technology
We are now in the digital age. Owners are being presented with limitless technology and software options to improve the customer experience. Companies like Square and Paypal now make it possible to turn any phone or tablet into a cash register that accepts credit card payments. Employees have the ability to actively walk through stores assisting customers and checking them out on the spot. Many of you may have experienced a transaction like this while in an Apple store, where “geniuses” can check customers out with iPads and pull up reservations on the spot. This gives customers a more personalized experience and helps them feel as if their individual needs were specifically catered to.
Analyzing & Interpreting Data
In part 1, we discussed using store counter technology to analyze how customers are interacting with your store (What sections they spend the most time in, how much time they spend, etc.). Now it’s time to figure out how to analyze all that new data. Start by looking for trends. Is there one section of your store where customers are spending significantly more time than others? Are people browsing for a specific type of product, or are they driven to a specific area? These are just some of the things to start thinking about once you collect data. Try and do some A/B testing by switching around different displays and sections of your store.
Let's say that customers are always spending the most amount of time in the back right corner of your store regardless of what is being displayed there. You may want to consider displaying the most popular items or items that yield the highest profit margin. Maybe you can use the opportunity to move some dead inventory by getting customers to notice a sale they may not have seen before. Some stores sell inventory that will sell no matter what the situation, so it’s more advantageous to put lesser performing items in high traffic areas.
Customer Tracking & Mentions
With the emergence of social media, customers provide stores with tons of ways to research them and provide information. If you know where to look you can discover a customer's interests, where they like to eat and what their favorite sports teams are. With all this information at your fingertips, dig through it all to try and find some commonalities or themes with fans of your store. Not only does building a big Facebook following provide another channel to reach customers, it provides a huge database of information. Social media fans already have some sort of invested interest in your company, therefore researching their interests is a great way to improve aspects of your store. Are a lot of your Twitter followers Patriots fans? Put out some decorations before game day. Subtle touches go a long way with customers.
People will often take to social media to either give praise or barrage brands with complaints. While complaints can be cumbersome and a bother to deal with, they often contain a lot of truth. Use online tools like Mention to track mentions of a store or brand name to gain insight about improvements customers would like to see.
Create A Unique Experience
Collecting data and implementing data are two completely different ballgames. After gathering all possible information, it's time to roll up your sleeves and see how to apply it specifically to your business. Maybe a lot of sales are being lost between customers trying on clothes and checkout. So how do you fix it? Try developing unique fitting guides so customers will have a better picture before they try items on. This will prevent them from wasting time on items they inevitably won't purchase. You may find out that customers aren't purchasing items above a certain price point. Either lower prices accordingly or offer incentives to get customers purchasing more.
These are just a few examples of how valuable data can be for retail improvement. Establish an effective collection system by combining a variety of channels and then use that information to make improvements. For more information check out some of these awesome resources!