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Brushing up your bricks-and-mortar: 4 ways to boost retail foot traffic

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While online shopping is a worldwide trend, Canadian consumers still largely prefer shopping at bricks-and-mortar locations, according to a Retail Council of Canada study in December of last year.

However, because most consumers have come to expect the convenience — and nearly instant gratification — of e-commerce, retailers would be wise to employ cutting-edge technology to ensure a "frictionless" shopping experience, the council advises. Competing with the lure of online shopping requires understanding the needs of your consumer well enough to reduce potential frustrations, from casual browsing to point of sale and beyond. In addition, the study found that customers also want a level of personalisation of their shopping experience. Today's retailers can benefit from making the most of the advantages of both online and in-store experiences.

"Traditional retailers need to turn physical stores into assets rather than liabilities. These assets need to include entertaining, exciting, and emotionally engaging experiences that set you apart from an online retailer with no physical presence," writes Diane J. Brisebois, president and chief executive officer of the Retail Council of Canada.

Reimagining the retail environment in this way creates a huge opportunity for retail businesses to offer product sampling, demonstrations, workshops, and tactile shopping experiences that can’t be replicated online. A few other suggestions for optimising foot traffic in your bricks-and-mortar shop:

  • Optimise data gathering and analysis tools that help you know and understand your customer so you can personalise goods, services, and marketing campaigns accordingly.
  • Automate your cash room so you can apply your workforce toward providing excellent customer service.
  • Provide amenities in your store that make the shopping experience easy, convenient, and fun. Examples include mobile phone charging stations, lounge areas, complimentary snacks and beverages, pet-friendly policies, or entertainment.
  • Stage special events, perhaps partnering with complementary businesses, influencers or even celebrities to offer trunk shows, fashion shows, presentations, special guest appearances, or workshops. You might even form customer clubs around key elements of your business.

Increase foot traffic, create a better experience, and realise more profitable

August 22, 2018