During the 2023 Omnichannel Retail Index benchmarking, we found that some retailers and brands are leveraging new tactics to optimize and drive in-store traffic. But others are still lagging behind and not engaging their shoppers in their physical spaces. Overall adoption of best Store practices fell to 53% this year (from 67% last year). In this blog, we share some examples we observed.
Many retailers have accepted the challenge and have found interesting new ways to drive in-store traffic, especially since the pandemic. Some offer physical perks, such as classes, book signings and other activities, while others leverage their digital capabilities in-store to merge the online and offline experiences. For example, 49% of brands still offer curbside pickup after the pandemic turned this feature into an expectation.
Lululemon has mounted large touchscreen tablets within the product aisles that allow customers to search for items they are interested in both online and in store. From there, customers can see if the size or color they want is available.
Floor & Décor have implemented in-store design services that give customers product recommendations based on their specific needs, visualization tools to envision products in their space, and help with how to install their purchases.
Ikea has implemented a tool that allows customers to listen to audio tours on their phones that guide them through the store and give them tips on furnishing.
PacSun uses their loyalty program to reward members for checking into a store.
Loyalty is an initiative on the roadmap of many retailers and brands. Some are looking to launch new programs, while others want to refine and re-energize existing programs. Loyalty is no longer just about “earn & burn” and discounts. Retailers and brands are using it as a tool to drive engagement and even drive traffic to stores. PacSun has an interesting loyalty program that goes beyond offering points just for purchase. They encourage store visits, giving points for checking in at a store.
Uniqlo and The North Face will take back used products in-store in exchange for a store discount.
Brands such as Anthropologie, Lululemon, Levi’s and Claire’s have implemented complementary and add-on services that incentivize customers to shop in store. Anthropologie has in-store events where customers can help the display team create displays while enjoying drinks and snacks. Lululemon has free in-store tailoring. Levi’s allows customers to distress, embroider, re-construct, and accessorize their Levi’s purchases in-store. And Claire’s does in-store piercings.
The new generation of consumers has become accustomed to doing everything online, so why should physical shopping be different? Brands need to create unique and fresh ways to keep customers engaged in their stores. One benchmarked area that proved disappointing this year was the lack of clienteling offered in the stores. One-third of retailers provide in-store sales associates with mobile devices, while only 7% enable them to check out shoppers on devices. More retailers and brands should provide store associates with mobile devices to help customers find their size or check out in a timely matter.
We’ll be sharing the executive summary of the 2023 Omnichannel Retail Index study findings in early June. Download it now to learn how you can augment your in-store traffic by offering new services that add value for your customers.
Kathy Kimple is the Executive Director of OSF Digital’s Strategy group. She leverages 25+ years in omnichannel retail with a focus on brands, covering digital strategy and store operations, registry, marketing, tech selection, and organizational design.