How To Get More Customers Into Your High Street Shop

How To Get More Customers Into Your High Street Shop

The high street is having a tough time – sadly, this is not breaking news. Even before COVID-19 arrived, the rise of online shopping made it increasingly difficult for local stores to compete successfully. Post-pandemic, we’re now in the middle of a nationwide cost-of-living crisis with inflation at levels not seen for 40 years. Not only does this translate into less disposable income for customers to spend, but shopkeepers are also grappling with rising costs and crippling energy bills.

Local independent shops may be hit hard but large retail companies are affected too. In recent news, Boots, B&Q, House of Fraser, Paperchase, New Look, TK Maxx, Wetherspoons, Lloyds and Halifax have all announced closures. So, is there anything that our retailers can do to encourage customers back in-store and spend money?

Well, yes there is. Retailers should be taking a careful, in-depth look at the new economic realities and their customers’ changing expectations and behaviours to see how they can deliver what people are now looking for. Crucially, product and service offerings on the high street must serve today’s marketplace and any local business owner operating on yesterday’s assumptions is likely going to struggle.

High street retailers should also remember that they have one great advantage over shopping online: they have a physical location and can offer a unique in-store experience with personal engagement in real life! With that in mind, let’s take a look at some practical ideas or local funding injections for green initiatives that go some way in helping to beat the downturn and re-invigorate high-street shopping.

Attractive store design

With easy online retail options available to all, people no longer ‘need’ to go to the shops for most things. Take that as a challenge to make your physical shop location somewhere people ‘want’ – better still ‘love’ – to go. High street stores that offer outstanding shopping experiences will have the edge to attract customers to the premises.

The fact is that people are drawn to well-designed spaces, so think about impactful ways to give your premises a makeover. From beautiful period shop fronts featuring Victorian sash windows to brand-new shop fittings and visual merchandising, innovative interior schemes and the latest colour palettes, there are lots of ways to elevate the in-store experience. The winning combination is to use impeccable design that creates a strong brand image.

Multisensory shopping experience

Statistically speaking, the longer someone stays in a retail space, the more likely they are to purchase and the more they will spend. But for customers to increase their in-store dwell time, you need to be offering something more than just an attractive-looking store. Enter multisensory shopping, also known as experiential retail.

Providing an in-store experience that activates multiple senses to elevate the buyer’s journey to something extraordinary results in higher footfall and spending for you. The infographic below shows recent research results of customers’ dwell time increasing by 6 minutes when their senses were activated, resulting in a 10% increase in sales.

Ask yourself the following questions to tap into all five senses: Does the store feel open and inviting? How will customers be greeted? Is there music playing to create a positive vibe? How about using scent or fragrance to appeal to your target customer demographic? Could you offer a little treat, free sample or taster service to your shoppers, say a branded cookie, promotional gift or make-up demonstration? Are there any incentives you can offer to encourage a return visit?

One-to-one interactions

Online shopping may be quick and convenient but it lacks a personal touch. No FAQ section or Live Chat facility can replicate human communication in real life. Here’s something that the retail industry in general, and small independent shops in particular, have always championed above all else: providing excellent customer service.

“93% of customers are more likely to make repeat purchases with companies that offer excellent customer service,” according to Shopify. One-to-one human interactions can make all the difference between a customer deciding to make a purchase, or impulse buying, or coming back for a return visit, or not. It’s up to you and your staff to take the initiative, providing personalised advice and giving undivided attention to the customers you serve.

Omnichannel – the best of both worlds

You may not be able to beat the online retailers you’re competing with – but you could join them and reap the rewards. Omnichannel is a strategy that integrates several sales channels, providing a consistent shopping experience, be it in-store, mobile or online.

If your store has an e-commerce website, why not offer an in-store click & collect service for online purchases as an alternative to delivery? Make it free of charge and you will be encouraging shoppers back into your store to collect their item, giving your staff the opportunity to upsell while they’re there.



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