According to the National Retail Federation, the economy is in good financial shape, and so are consumers. Retail sales in the United States have seen steady 3-5% year-over-year increases since the financial crisis rebound began in 2010. No longer are skeptics warning “retail is dead!” but, rather, our understanding of retail has changed.
Consumers are confident in the robust economy, recognizing the value of their individual business to retailers in a competitive marketplace. They rely on brands to cater to their needs as they demand greater personalization, convenience, and service to maintain their loyalty. When looking for ideas to increase sales in retail stores, retailers must first consider, “what does it take to increase sales in this climate?” And then, “what technology exists to get me there?”
What Increases Retail Sales?
Growing brand affinity is perhaps the biggest contributor to sustained sales increases over time. It is estimated that approximately 65% of a company’s business will come from existing customers, so it makes sense to invest in efforts to build brand affinity.
Going beyond loyalty (which can be manipulated by fluctuations in pricing, product offering, or incentives), brand affinity is a deep-seated connection to a brand. Starbucks, Apple, and Amazon are a few brands that enjoy rabid brand affinity. Their shoppers find part of their identity in being customers of particular companies that speak to their value systems, preferences, pain points, and self-image.
Loyalty program members spend 12-18% more money than non-loyalty program members, but retailers have the power to increase conversions by over 131% by marketing educational content to affinity shoppers.
Innovative Ideas to Increase Sales in Retail Stores
In order to build brand affinity, which leads to increased sales, retailers should look into implementing some or all of the following innovative ideas.
- Add customer services. What makes your retail store different than your eCommerce website is the ability to offer above-and-beyond services. You can entice shoppers to pay you a visit without slashing prices. For instance, free clothing alterations, personal stylist appointments, concierge services, food offerings, fitness classes, free coffee or cocktails, and curbside delivery are some of the perks retailers offer.
- Host a special event. Hosting an exclusive event will appeal to the 78% of shoppers who value experiences over commodities. Examples may include crafting sessions at a home improvement store, vendor tastings at a wine shop, makeovers at a beauty supply store, yoga classes at an athletic wear shop, fashion shows at department stores, or author meet-and-greets at a bookstore.
- Improve convenience. Consider ways to eliminate obstacles that impede purchasing. Eyewear retailer Warby Parker used augmented reality and smartphone technology allowing shoppers to virtually “try on” products before buying. Often, there are much smaller ways to improve convenience and drive sales—allowing easy, “no receipt” returns; allowing pre-payment or mobile checkout to eliminate long lines; or enabling shoppers to ship-to-home any products that are out of stock.
- Launch a Pop-up. Pop-up shops aren’t just for young upstarts anymore. Well-known brands like Macy’s and Amazon have offered pop-up shopping experiences to generate buzz, test the waters in new markets, tap unique experiential themes, or boost brand awareness. More than half (58%) of the companies that experimented with a temporary pop-up said they’d do it again. Most shops cost less than $5,000 to set up, making it a viable option for retailers big and small.
- Go Mobile. If you don’t yet have a mobile strategy in place, now is the time. Mobile eCommerce sales topped $626 billion last year. More importantly, $1 trillion in offline spending was influenced by mobile! With many shoppers comparing prices on mobile devices before buying and 82% of consumers browsing on mobile devices while they’re shopping in-store, retailers should focus on creating a cohesive cross-channel experience to boost sales in the coming years. Be sure your website is optimized for speed and ease-of-use on mobile devices. There’s also the option to create your own mobile app tied to a loyalty program, or partner with a third-party platform like Shopkick.
When looking for ideas to increase sales in retail stores, retailers must first consider, “what does it take to increase sales in this climate?”
Increase Retail Sales With Shopkick
By partnering with Shopkick, retailers can offer incentives to their already loyal customer base while also reaching new consumers, as the app comes with a built-in user base of highly engaged consumers. Shopkick rewards users with points called kicks for walking into stores, picking up products at-shelf, and making purchases. These incentives encourage consumers to interact with products and establish positive brand and retailer affinity. In addition, these mobile rewards provide a better return than standard discounts and sales, as they do not require the retailer to immediately take a loss on the product, or dilute margins. Instead, these incentives are fueled by rewards points that consumers can later redeem for gift cards that they can use in-store—further increasing sales for retailers.
Shopkick partners can use the innovative shopping app to increase incremental sales. By leveraging one or more of these ideas to increase sales in retail stores, retailers also have the opportunity to build brand affinity. Read more success stories from our partners or contact us to get started today.
Image courtesy of Minerva Studio