Customer Insight

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5 Ways for High Street Retailers to Drive Footfall

By Michael Rolph, CEO at Yoyo

The widespread impact of digital disruption is reported almost daily, but perhaps nowhere is its impact felt more than on the high street. Retailers are under particular threat from the relentless growth of pure ecommerce players, who are able to offer unparalleled convenience and competitive costs.

Ever-changing business rates and low consumer confidence do little to relieve the plight of high street brands.

Yet there is reason for optimism. Tech-savvy high street retailers are beginning to invest carefully in a number of different areas in order to encourage brand loyalty.

1) Offer next-level in-store experiences

Research shows that 89%  of consumers switch allegiance from a brand to its competitor following a poor customer experience. The lesson is clear: whether a retailer is selling online or on the high street, they must continually seek to innovate their customer experience.

Uniqlo is an industry-leader in this regard. The Japanese fashion retailer recently launched its first ‘neuroscience’ campaign, suggesting clothes to the customer on the basis of their mood. By placing wearable technology on the forehead of the customer, brainwave readings were recorded in response to a customer’s psychological reactions to a series of images and videos. Algorithms then suggested suitable attire based on this state of mind. This is certainly a novel experience that may attract critics, but it’s one which will almost certainly attract crowds too.

2) Keep pace with consumer demand

Hyper-personalisation is increasingly integral to retail strategies. Showing a customer products based on their individual interests and past behaviour dramatically improves their purchase journey, making them more likely to buy, and increases their satisfaction with the brand.

Research suggests it may also increase average order values, too. According to a study conducted by BCG and commissioned by Google, 40% of customers are likely to spend more than they had planned if the experience is highly personalised.

We live in an age of algorithms. Retailers are having to meet sky-high consumer expectations when it comes to personalised marketing. Having real-time insights on customer data at the point-of-sale enables retailers to do just this. But only by investing in technology and taking data seriously will retailers keep pace with eCommerce vendors.

3) Target customers with app-based experiences

By capturing the right customer data, retailers can deliver even more personalised offers. In turn, these programmes enable customers to receive rewards and enjoy personalised experiences, as well as provide a holistic view of buying behaviours for retailers.

And it works! Asktraders recently published a list of the UK’s five worst performing high streets, finding that Poole, Blackpool, Warrington, Manchester and Swindon are the ‘fastest declining’. Intrigued, Yoyo decided to run its own investigation on how footfall was impacted when customers used experience-led loyalty apps to shop. Incredibly, we found that these customers actually increased their average spend per visit by 25% on these very high streets.

The findings bring into focus the impact of data-led loyalty programmes, which enable brands to deliver hyper-targeted marketing and communications at every single touchpoint - from online browsing to in-store check out.

4) Partner to grow your market share

Partnerships between retailers and ecommerce brands are an increasingly popular method of reaching new audiences and improving the customer experience.

Whilst online purchases may be on the rise, more than 20% of all purchases are returned, more than double that of a typical high street store. As such, pure ecommerce retailers are increasingly partnering with brick and mortar stores to offer consumers the convenience of returning unwanted items at high street locations. The benefits are abundant - more footfall and sales for the shop and a better customer experience for the ecommerce partner. Asda is one store capitalising on this with its ‘to you’ service, which enables customers to return items to ASOS, PrettyLittleThing, and others.

These partnerships not only give brands the opportunity to reach new audiences through multiple channels, but it also enables brands to plug the gaps in their services. By partnering with tech platforms, market research firms or even social media influencer brands, retailers can stay relevant to their customers, in order to boost long term retention.

5) Communicate your ethical credentials 

Consumers nowadays are increasingly conscious of their environmental and social impact, thanks in part to a number of high profile demonstrations and documentaries. A quarter of Brits now put environmental issues in their top three issues facing the country, putting it behind only Brexit and health.

As such, a number of brands are beginning to declare their individual commitments to social and environmental responsibility. Mango, for instance, has set a goal to source half of its cotton from eco-friendly suppliers, whilst H&M wants to be 100% sustainable by 2030.

Never has this been more important for brands. To appeal to consumers’ sense of loyalty today, they must demonstrate care for the ethics of their business if they are to succeed tomorrow.

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