Top 3 reasons retailers might struggle to maintain footfall

In today’s competitive retail environment, driving footfall remains the bedrock of any successful brick-and-mortar store.

With more big names announcing store closures since Christmas, getting shoppers through the door and ensuring that a visit converts into a sale has never been more important. What are the top turn offs for high street shoppers, and as a retailer, how can you tackle them?

1. Poor Customer Service

We’ve all been there. Entering a store, you’re greeted with disinterested staff or conversely, you struggle to even locate a staff member to speak to.

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This has long impacted consumer brand perception and is something retailers must address. Staff are the face of the brand and ultimately, will influence whether or not a consumer is likely to return. Our research has shown that over a third of shoppers cite being able to engage with staff as one of the top three reasons for choosing the in-store experience over online. As such, retailers need to make sure their staff members add positively to the overall experience.

The Apple format, with many members of the team on the store floor, interacting with shoppers, allows for direct engagement and fast problem solving. The presence of tablet-armed assistants has totally changed the traditional purchasing process, giving them the ability to process payments wherever their customers are in the store. Queue times are reduced, and shoppers feel better connected to the store team. It also empowers retail assistants by giving them better control of the customer experience.

Empowering though it may be, retailers must ensure they provide the best possible training so that assistants are tech-savvy enough and able to make the best use of the technology at hand. Customers would tire of tech-wielding shop assistants struggling to get to grips with their brand’s dedicated app or in-store tech (think touchscreens, RFID-equipped smart mirrors and other VR/AR). Leveraging technology in the right way and ensuring proper education for customer assistants will therefore be pivotal to its success.

2. Failure to harness mobile and interactive technologies

Arming the staff with technology is key but keeping customers engaged through it is something that shouldn’t be overlooked either. The increasing demands of today’s ‘always-connected’ shoppers are redefining the in-store buying experience. Many customers are now used to shopping online, so their expectations of the brick-and-mortar experience are higher than ever.

Global research conducted by Mood Media uncovered an increasing demand for interactive technology to be incorporated into the in-store experience, with more than half of those surveyed enthused by the possibility of being able to receive redeemable promotions on their mobile phones while in store. For ‘Generation Z’, this figure rises to 80% – a unique opportunity to keep them engaged. This illustrates very well the ‘phygital’ trend, blending the in-store experience with a more digital one for a seamless, all-round shopping experience.

3. Neglecting the power of the in-store atmosphere

Research tells us that people feel unwelcome, disengaged and even angry when they walk into a silent store. As e-commerce competition grows in strength, the quality of customer experience – including music – has become the key differentiator for brick-and-mortar retailers.

Conversely, our research shows that having in-store music plays a key role in making the shopping experience more enjoyable (for 79% of consumers) and makes consumers feel that the brand is one they can relate to and connect with (65%).

A lot goes into creating the perfect playlist from identifying what songs and genres capture the brand’s essence, to what its audience wants to hear, without forgetting about keeping employees motivated. If done right, in-store music is an effective cue to a brand’s image and can enhance the customer experience, reinforcing customer brand allegiance.

Valentina Candeloro is the marketing director of Mood Media. The group offers experiential design and marketing solutions, helping brands connect with their customers by providing music, digital signage, scent, integrated audio visual, and interactive mobile marketing solutions that help to improve customer experience.

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