Two Things Every Retailer Must Optimize In Store

Over the last 20 years, ecommerce revenue has grown by double-digits, with almost two trillion dollars in ecommerce sales expected in 2017 alone. With no signs of slowed growth in digital sales, and major retailers making headlines for shuttering stores, it’s no wonder that experts continue to predict the death of brick-and-mortar.

However, in spite of the doomsday predictions, innovative retailers are continuing — and even increasing — investments in a physical presence; most notably, the world’s largest digital retailer, Amazon, who recently announced their multibillion dollar acquisition of Whole Foods.

With research showing that 85% of consumers still prefer to shop in person, the importance of the physical customer experience can not be overlooked. A physical store-front provides consumers an opportunity to touch and feel merchandise, get real-time advice, and have a memorable interaction with your brand. But in order to be a viable growth strategy, stores must be run more efficiently and effectively.

If you are looking to optimize your physical store in a way that delivers measurable results, here are two strategies to employ:

Optimize Store Displays through Ecommerce Data

This store display is creative and artistic, but misses an opportunity to drive the sale.

One of the major reasons customers prefer shopping in store vs. online is the ability to physically see and interact with the products they want. This puts enormous pressure on store operations and marketing teams to create and design the perfect in-store experience. However, the “perfect” experience is often driven by intuition, with visual merchandising relying on artistic imagination and vision about what products shouldmatch, rather than actual data about what experience will drive the most revenue per sale.

Optimizing your visual store display begins with viewing it as what it actually is — your store’s homepage and recommendation engine. The most sophisticated retailers are leveraging the depth of data available via their ecommerce sites to create compelling in-store experiences for their customers. For example, Walmart is investing millions to capture and leverage big data across both their digital and physical commerce channels, with a primary strategic goal of sharing information between business partners as fast as possible, driving effectiveness and an integrated experience across both channels.

By monitoring what products capture your customers’ attention on the web, and which items are most commonly sold together online, you can create an entire in-store experience that naturally nets higher transaction volumes and increases your average transaction value. Consider the possibilities of an in-store experience that provides the same kind of guidance visually and spatially as Amazon’s recommendation engine, but is coupled with the helpful expertise of trained staff — retailers that can achieve this vision will find themselves wielding an incredible competitive advantage.

Optimize Your First Impression

Too often, retailers forget that the first impression your store makes isn’t your product displays, it’s your signage. And this is a costly oversight, as almost 76% of consumers say they entered a store they had never visited before because of its signage, and 68% of consumers say a business’s signage reflects the quality of their products and services.

Signage doesn’t just have to be about the physical logo or artwork, it can include the way you strategically use staff, music and even robotics to make a first impression. For example, many retailers are optimizing the signage experience using high tech promotion devices like Pepper, a humanoid that leverages the latest machine-learning technology to attract new customers, engage them with your products and brand, and drive them to targeted calls to action — whether it’s completing the sale, or providing additional contact or preference data.

Softbank’s Pepper can seek out new customers, attracting, engaging, and converting foot traffic into revenue.

In 2011, 60% of businesses reported an average 10% increase in sales simply by creating a more engaging experience via signage. However, smaller retailers investing in high tech promotion strategies like Pepper reported a 300% increase in sales and a 70% increase in traffic. Larger retail brands are catching on too, with marquee names like Nestlé, Pizza Hut and Mastercard making serious investments in Pepper to attract and engage customers, noting an 18–38% increase in customer traffic, and a 15% increase in sales.

With so much resting on a first impression, retailers that enhance their signage and storefront promotions stand to reap enormous gains, particularly in areas where competition for foot traffic is high. Having signage and storefront promotions that not only symbolize a brand’s innovation and quality, but also engage and interact with potential customers is a critical component to a fully optimized store.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re providing more data-driven product displays, or you’re going beyond static signage, providing a more engaging, meaningful experience for the customer is a critical consideration when you’re looking to optimize your in-store channels.

Click here to learn more about Pepper.