By Emma Louise Smith, Director of Moxie Business Marketing

To quote Cathy Sparks, VP of Nike: “Retail is not dead. Boring retail is dead.” Physical retail is still very much alive and kicking, and those stores that have created an exciting and welcoming experience for their customers are reaping the benefits. With transaction-focussed retail on the way out and heavy selling becoming less and less effective – what can retailers do to continue to encourage footfall?

1: Craft experiences that excite and delight customers!

  • Apple launched Augmented Reality (AR) technology to showcase its products in lockdown. ‘AR Quick Look’ for new iPhone or iMac models allows you to see what they look like in your space or in your hand.
  • BMW uses experiences to allow car shoppers to go into showrooms and customise cars with different colours or styles using their tablets or phones. It also provides Virtual Reality (VR) goggles in its showrooms so customers know what it’s like to experience driving the cars!
  • IKEA launched The Place App in 2017, where the use of Augmented Reality (AR) allows shoppers to place furniture items into their homes, so they can visualise exactly how the item will look in their setting.

2: Engage with your audiences at a local level:

Whether you’re positioning your business within your local community to showcase your commitment to ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) goals and/or CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) goals, getting involved at a local level will keep you in the forefront of your customers’ minds.

  • Sponsor local events;
  • Be a member of the town council and/or local networking groups. This will keep you fully up to date with local news and developments and increase your visibility;
  • Invest in younger generations. It could be a local sports team, or you could offer an apprenticeship;
  • Invite locals to an ‘exclusive’ open day, and/or host an event in collaboration with another local business.

3: Experiential marketing is the new buzzword:

Modern consumers desire more from their instore shopping experience. Your goal should be to make them feel connected and part of a community – alongside providing a product and service that is both valuable and memorable.

  • Invite them to ‘exclusive’ new product launches;
  • Host showcase events for new product lines or collections so customers can get up close to the latest trends;
  • Host reward based events that cater for the tastes of your top customers;
  • What other businesses out there are a perfect fit for your brand? And what can you do in tandem to raise awareness of your products and services?

4: Onboarding new customers:

Once you’ve rung the purchase through the cash register, what happens next? You don’t want to just wave them out the door never to see them again!

  • Set up reminders about followup footwear collections to tempt them back in store;
  • Send invitations to engage on social media;
  • Add the customer into a sales funnel that tracks their journey, continuing to add value to them as a consumer;
  • Invite them to ‘exclusive’ post purchase events.

5: Your people are your biggest brand advocates – and assets:

We all know the story of the goose and the golden egg – however, in any retail environment your people are your biggest assets. It is your personal responsibility to nurture them, develop their skill set, and reward them accordingly.

  • Investing in your staff to keep them up to date with sales techniques and business procedures will keep them inspired, and enable them to provide exceptional customer service.
  • People that feel valued in their position in a retail business will be your biggest brand advocate – and will organically bring not just theirs, but their friends’ and families’ to business to you.

Final thoughts:

Think: omni-channel, omni-channel, omni-channel – in fact let it be your new mantra! Every digital touch-point provides another route into your physical store location/s.

Put in place a corporate mission that is more imaginative than just profits – and remember minor adjustments to your strategy don’t increase footfall… major innovations do. Ask yourself if you want to be an innovator or early adopter in your industry, or will you forever be chasing the competition?