When it comes to retail, conversion is king. Getting people to your store is great and that is difficult to do, but that is only half the battle. The rest of the battle and the true victory comes from when those customers, who you’ve worked so hard to attract, actually make a purchase.
So, is it the store layout? Is it the products? Is it the customer service? No single one of these good questions can lead to a rise in conversion on their own. They have to be considered as a part of the whole picture, or mosaic. People don’t buy from you because you got one big thing right. They buy from you because you got lots and lots of little things right. Let’s explore a few ways that you can get started increasing your store’s conversions today.
Google is your enemy. Google is your friend.
Many people do the same thing when they are interested in buying a product locally: they Google it. They will search the web to find who has that product or service locally, then go directly to the store and buy it. Some research has shown that people these days (usually Millennials) are less likely to just pop into a retail store and browse. They instead opt to focus in on one product and go directly from the web to store in search of it. Knowing this can save you a lot of grief.
Google can be your enemy in the sense that if you are not showing up ahead of or in the mix with your competition in searches, then you are missing out on a huge percentage of that brand awareness and traffic. However, the savvy retailer knows that Google can be their friend. Having a solid search engine optimization strategy along with a decent website and social media presence can put you ahead of the competition. If your business doesn’t show up on Google Maps, then you may be losing out on valuable business.
Location. Location. Location.
We’re not just talking about the store’s location, but the location of your top products and the overall layout of your store. According to the retail experts Shopify, it is always a good idea to first optimize the threshold area right where customers first walk in:
“The threshold area, also known as the "decompression zone," is the very first space that prospective customers step into when they enter your store. It typically consists of the first five to fifteen feet worth of space, depending on the overall size of your store. It's also the space where your customers make the transition from the outside world and first experience what you have to offer.”
Maximizing this zone is key to converting as many shoppers into customers as possible. Make sure they get a sense of your brand when they enter. They should feel welcome, but not exposed or overwhelmed. If they can see a clear path around the store, they will take it. Use the space to show off loss leaders and impulse items, if possible. It’s important that your store staff be visible from the front of the store, but not too eager to pounce on everyone that enters. People tend to want to ask for help at their own pace, if at all. Some shoppers prefer zero interaction with a store rep, and that’s fine. It’s your job to let the retail space speak for itself.
When it comes to turning browsers into buyers, it takes a lot of trial and error. Don’t let this frustrate you! One of the hardest things about operating a successful retail business isn’t bookkeeping or taxes, it’s getting to know your customer and how they act. If you can master that, you can master anything!