Retail Traffic Report: Is foot traffic still important?
Thursday, August 9, 2018

Is Foot Traffic Still Important to Omnichannel Retail?

The short answer is yes. But for whom is it important and why?

Going on any sort of travel begins with identifying a destination and searching for the best route to get there. With a variety of technology applications to uncover these routes, there is an opportunity to customize every journey to your every need. Do you need the fastest route? Or do you want a scenic route promising an enriching travel experience? Or maybe, you have a unique set of needs that demands a route that is truly personalized.

Today’s retail journey offers a similar selection of routes for customers to choose from. Will the customer shop purely online? Or will the customer choose to buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS)? The customer might even choose a more scenic route by travelling to the physical store. Technology has opened up a world of routes for each customer to take. 85% of retail sales are still made in physical stores

More and more customers are choosing to do the majority of their shopping online. However, this does not mean the route to the physical store has to be the road not travelled. Store traffic is still an important topic of conversation for retailers today. In fact, 85% of retail sales are still made in physical stores. Physical stores benefit the retailers with foot traffic converting into sales generated. But, they also serve the significant need of modern shoppers. They provide personalized retail experiences.


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Experience: The Reason Customers Still Shop In-Store

For many of the same reasons the traveller chooses a scenic route when travelling, the customer pursues the journey to the physical store. Customer experience remains the critical retail component for shopping in-store. For retailers, maintaining their brick-and-mortar locations means increased sales through direct store sales. Here foot traffic, also means customers meandering and discovering new purchases they often did not set out to buy.

4 Ways Both The Customer and The Retailer Benefit From Store Traffic:

1. Culture

More than 70% of consumers would prefer to shop a brick & mortar Amazon store versus Amazon.comAt the retail store, customers can be fully immersed in a brand’s culture. Digitalist Magazine says “Physical stores that survive well into the future will change how they operate and service their customers. Stores will increasingly move from showrooms to playrooms where shoppers can experience products in a meaningful way. They will become experience hubs for consumers, allowing product immersion that eventually drives a purchase, online or offline. Ultimately, the retailers that win will be those that can leverage powerful yet subtle technology to offer inspiring physical experiences to shoppers, as well as moments that touch them, to result in conversions.”


Related: Ship-from-Store


2. Store Associates

Sales associates, managers and other shoppers contribute to the customer experience. They provide a welcoming, knowledgeable and human touch. Online has yet been able to replicate this. Research by TimeTrade showed that 90% of consumers claim they are more likely to buy when helped by a knowledgeable associate. When you empower employees with digital technology, they gain access to relevant customer data. Collaboration between people and today’s technology provides the best experience for the bricks-and-mortar customer.

3. Convenience Do You Know Who Your Perfect Click and Collect Consumer is? Discover the Superconsumer! Get the Research.

The ability to touch, feel, see, and maybe even taste is the reason many customers visit a physical store. Being able to fully experience these tactile sensations lets customers interact with the products they want to buy. This foot traffic to the store, actually enhances the experience. It becomes physical, tangible, and real. Retailers who encourage these interactions are often the best at converging foot traffic into sales. Of course, product availability also provides a sense of urgency for customers to purchase. This is especially true when there are limited quantities available.

4. No Competition

A customer may have bought online and is now picking up in store. Or they may be purely an in-store customer. Regardless, the potential for capturing the attention of that customer with your brand is high. With no competition from other retailers in your store customers are mostly focused on your goods. Yes, some will surf and price compare using their smartphones. But for the most part, you have their attention. This is good. It creates a stronger relationships with your brand. This physical foot traffic is good. It lets retailers fully immerse in-store customers with a combination of digital experiences, friendly associates, helpful advice and live demos.


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Store Foot Traffic: Road Less Travelled, But Still Travelled

It's not the destination, but the journey that is important for many customers today. Today, both retailers and customers still want physical stores. Providing personal service in store is the reason ecommerce giants such as Amazon are opening brick-and-mortar locations. Matthew Fassler, an analyst from Goldman Sachs says “The retailer of the future will … have to tighten its relationship with its customer”. It means getting closer to customers. This whether they are in your store or on your site.

It’s not the destination, but the journey that is important for many customers today. Providing each customer with the experience they demand is our opportunity in retail. For this reason, foot traffic is critically important to retail. Customers still believe that the best experience with any brand is within the store.

For further insights into how omni-channel retail can contribute to store traffic, download your copy of Omni-1000 Research: Global.