High street sales have been in decline for quite some time as consumers switch their allegiance to online shops that they have access to 24/7 and offer them greater choice and competitive prices. This is only likely to continue as the tech-savvy Generation Z comes of age.
According to the Centre for Retail Research, the number of physical stores in the UK is set to decline by 22 per cent between 2013 and 2018 as more buying takes place online.
How can stores make the sea change from simply filling their floor space with stock that we know customers are buying on line to using it to create interest, attract customers and generate more sales?
In the future, stores will need to become more clever about how they use their square footage to maximise sales, and part of that will need to encompass technology.
Smart use of in store media that allows you to deliver dynamic targeted messaging rather than static print media is one such idea. Companies like https://moodmedia.co.uk/in-store-media/ can advise and provide retail stores with this sort of equipment.
Android users already have more than 2.8 million apps at their fingertips, so it’s not inconceivable that one could be created to revolutionise the shopping experience at some point in the future. Imagine walking into a store and having your app send you suggestions of what to purchase based on your entire online buying history – and then telling you exactly where you will find it. You could also call for alternate sizes or colours to try on in the dressing room without the embarrassment of hopping about half-naked behind the curtain trying to attract the sales assistant’s attention.
Events and services
Another way for stores to use spare square footage could be to create regular events and provide additional services alongside existing merchandise that will attract customers and in turn, sales. Imagine a dance or fitness class, or perhaps being able to get your hair or beard tidied up. Food is always a big draw. Whether it is free samples or short classes and demonstrations, food is another way to draw in customers.
Stores need to get clever about their use of space if they want to survive the continued charge of online sales.