Omnichannel Approach Key To Combatting Slow Foot Traffic
Using digital strategies in-store, retailers brought the “bounce rate” of stores down 3 percent since last year.
As e-commerce and online store traffic grows, physical in-store traffic has been declining for retailers around the country, says locational analytics firm Euclid. But some companies are combatting that decline with omnichannel strategies.
One of the ways Euclid measured the validity of physical foot traffic was through analysis of the “bounce rate.” Essentially, the bounce rate is the percentage of customers who entered the store for less than five minutes before leaving. Last year, the average bounce rate for retailers was around 10 percent. In the first two quarters of 2015, the bounce rate had dropped to just over 7 percent. Interestingly, the month of June saw a particularly low rate of 6.5 percent.
While the bounce rate did decline, so did overall retail sales in June, loyalty/repeat customer numbers also decreased, showing that customers are more likely to stay in a store they enter since last year, but less likely to go back to that store again in the future.
Euclid puts forth a few ideas to combat this drop. Retailers could follow in Walmart’s footsteps, who have recently made the effort to bring back greeters to their stores to help welcome customers inside. Other possibilities include increasing the ease with which customers are able to check out, citing an example of Banana Republic allowing people to reserve and pay for something online, then go in and pick it up.
Most other suggestions revolve around increasing the digital presence inside the store. Consider our recent story on Lowe’s and how it’s bringing digital browsing and information into the physical space. Customers are able to browse a full catalogue of products on in-store digital displays, see full size 3D models of larger products on large screens, and sales associates are equipped with mobile devices for answering questions, checking inventory, and even checking out right there in the aisle.
While Euclid cites the increased digitization of the retail process as an obstacle for increasing foot traffic, another, less predictable obstacle might be standing in their way: the weather. Euclid found that bad winter weather correlated heavily with a decrease in foot traffic as fewer people were willing to make the trip to the store.
The best way to combat that, according to Euclid, is through promotions. A strong, time-sensitive incentive is a great way to get people to go to the store now as opposed to waiting until the weather clears up.
Ultimately, Euclid concludes that the best way to combat lower physical traffic is through an omnichannel approach, using digital innovation to increase the functionality and versatility of in-store sales.