Omnichannel strategies, discounts keeping customers in stores: Euclid
Retailers are finally figuring out how to battle declines in store traffic, using digital strategies as well as human ones, according to Euclid Analytics’ mid-year benchmark report. In-store bounce rate (the percentage of shoppers who leave within five minutes) fell almost 3% year-over-year.
With the economy improving, the weather may be retailers’ greatest enemy, Euclid found, with store traffic and sales correlating with weather. Year-over-year traffic declines and bounce rates were worse on the East Coast, which saw long stretches of bad winter weather. Fewer consumers shopped overall, and those that did only went for quick visits for necessities, Euclid found.
Discounts were effective at getting new customers into stores, but not very effective at getting them to come back, Euclid also found; engagement rates were higher the first half of this year, but active repeat customer visits were down almost 1% year-over-year.
It sounds from Euclid’s mid-year report that brick-and-mortar stores get it—that their initiatives to make money in store and online, their moves to offer delivery and in-store pickup, and their moves to make stores more inviting are all paying off. Wal-Mart’s efforts earlier this year to bring greeters back to the front of the store is a concrete example of a move that Euclid finds is helping keep customers in the store longer.
Some things that Euclid suggests, like having store associates with iPads handy to help customers while they're in the dressing room, are really just tech-enhanced versions of the best retailers already do. But free WiFi and buy or reserve online and pick-up-in-store are new, and extremely helpful, innovations.
But there are a few worries here too. The weather —which you can't do all that much about—put a real damper on things this past winter. The fact that major promotions helped with that particular problem is a mixed blessing. After all, retailers are eager to get away from deep discounts or at least begin the process of weaning customers off the habit.
That issue is made worse when you realize that those discounts are doing nothing for loyalty and repeat business. In fact, perhaps that should be no surprise: A customer wedded to a good deal is going to follow the discount, not the retailer.
"Providing an omni-channel experience that connects online, mobile and offline activities to foster engagement with customers, particularly millennials, has also been a key strategy employed by retailers. Millennials demand convenience—they want discounts and they want fast fulfillment," the report says.
- Euclid Analytics U.S. Retail Benchmarks - Mid-Year Report 2015
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