• Laura Wrigley

The ‘Triple A’ approach: 3 ways to improve in-store sales conversion

Updated: Jul 26, 2019

The retail store has never carried more functions. It’s a place of discovery, a collection point, an idea curator and a warehouse. But at the end of the day, every retailer wants the same thing from their bricks-and-mortar footprint: to drive as many sales as possible.


That sale can happen in the store itself or it can happen online; it doesn’t ultimately matter. However, there are still many occasions on which people leave empty-handed due to reasons such as out-of-stock items, long queues and not offering the right payment methods, in research undertaken by Adyen.


As multi-channel experience experts, One iota has developed a ‘Triple A’ strategy in response to these issues, to help more retailers improve in-store sales conversions.




Awareness


The first ‘A’ in our approach is awareness. Rising retail rental prices mean it’s unsustainable for many brands to have a large bricks-and-mortar footprint, and the growth of smaller format stores has had an impact on product range - limiting what retailers can display in-store.


In the past few weeks alone, we’ve seen stories about Tesco launching Finest range stores as a rival to Little Waitrose and M&S, while over in the US, Target is opening three small-format stores near college campuses, to tap into the student market. Toys ‘R’ Us are re-entering the Australian market with smaller experience stores, and Anthropologie is using its neighbourhood store concept to increase its UK footprint.


The key for these retailers is to intelligently curate product ranges in order to drive store footfall, and then implement the right multi-channel technology strategy to support the customer journey beyond the store.


For example, clear categorisation is required to help shoppers find the products they want with ease, and many retail brands are investing in digital signage solutions so they can flexibly change their store layout depending on the season and latest promotions.


At the same time, leading retailers are using the store footprint to create an endless aisle and promote products available beyond those four walls. Interactive technology such as kiosk apps, experience tables and iPads enable them to display their entire product range digitally in-store, which customers can order for home delivery or store collection. And this leads us nicely to our second ‘A’…


Availability


Availability of stock is a pillar of successful retailing, but there’s a vast difference in how different brands are embracing technology to manage this challenge.


The need for instant access to products increases as the spending power of digital natives grows; a recent Profitect study found that 48% of Gen Z shoppers will avoid a retailer if they have experienced out-of-stock situations, and 15% will never shop with them again.


There are, however, some great examples of retailers making stock availability a cornerstone of their bricks-and-mortar strategy. For example, after an up and down year, Quiz Clothing is re-focusing its physical footprint around standalone stores rather than concessions, and a recent Drapers article notes that visibility of stock is critical to this shift.


Quiz has introduced new bridal and race day lines in recent years, but not every store has the space to stock them. By equipping sales associates with iPads, the retailer can showcase these ranges to shoppers, who can purchase garments for delivery to the store or their home – despite them not physically being available on the shelf – based on staff having complete visibility of stock in all channels and locations.

Some retailers are taking this investment even further, using RFID to innovate stock availability across their business. One front-runner in this area is River Island, which has increased stock accuracy to 97% since onboarding RFID technology, reducing gaps on display by 50%.


In a recent interview with Essential Retail, River Island’s safety and loss program manager, Martin Speed remarked that “the real benefit of RFID is for the customer; they are now much more likely to find their size on the shelf.”


Advice


And now on to our third ‘A’...The one unique advantage that the store will always retain is its ability to enable human interaction. The difference today is that many shoppers enter the store with a higher level of knowledge; 82% of consumers will look up a product on their smartphone before buying in-store, while 45% will read customer reviews first.


This ROBO (research online, buy offline) economy, as BazaarVoice terms it, has a significant impact on bricks-and-mortar expectations. Shoppers still want advice and support, but they need more detail. In order to deliver on this and maximise conversion opportunities, technology must be well integrated into the shop floor experience.


There are two ways that retailers can go about assisting the in-store sales process with tech. The first is to provide consumers with self-service tools. As we’ve already touched on, kiosk apps and digital experience tables can enable to browse and even buy products that aren’t available on the shelves – for example, HUGO BOSS has incorporated high-end digital experiences to its newest concept stores by including shoppable touch screen mirrors.


The other way to increase sales opportunities within the store is to equip staff with the digital tools that help potential customers get the look or the spec they are after. In addition to enabling personalised service on a large scale, it provides store associates with valuable cross-selling and upselling opportunities – since One iota developed an assisted sales iPad app for luxury clothing retailer Hawes & Curtis, for example, its in-store sales have increased by 10%.


Hawes & Curtis is a great example of how to bring digital and physical engagement together in a well-integrated experience. Many of the retailer’s stores simply don’t have the space to showcase its full wedding suit range, but most people do not feel comfortable ordering something for such a big occasion online.


Through effective use of technology, customers can visit a Hawes & Curtis store to get measured up, before choosing their preferred look from the complete wedding collection, using an iPad operated by sales associates.



Making every moment count


Ultimately, every retailer knows that the best way to maximise sales is to make every moment count. The difference is how they are using technology to define where these moments begin and end – as our ‘Triple A’ strategy demonstrates.


By fully integrating digital experience platforms into the bricks-and-mortar journey, retailers can curate their footprint to deliver a powerful brand touchpoint, whilst also incorporating the connected tools and endless aisle capabilities needed to capture potential customers.


It is this integration of the digital and physical that ultimately maximises store conversions – even if a customer never actually touches that item in the store.

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