Visual Merchandising Techniques That Drive In-Store Traffic

Contrary to the buzz about e-commerce replacing brick-and-mortar, getting consumers in the doors of physical retail locations remains crucial to brands' success.

After all, primary household shoppers in the United States dramatically prefer in-store purchasing over digital buying for nearly every product category. As evidenced by recent surveys, shoppers still want to shop in-store.

The challenge for retailers following an omnichannel approach, then, is to capture in-store traffic in a way that's compatible with online offerings. That way, both realms—offline and cyber—can work together seamlessly.

To achieve this goal, companies can use visual merchandising techniques that strategically arrange retail space to encourage transactions. Here are some ways to leverage Internet assets to enhance stores' appeal.

Analyzing shopper selfies

Friends doing some shopping taking a selfie with a smartphone

Anyone familiar with the GoPro phenomenon or image-heavy social media sites such as Instagram knows that selfies are huge. So is shopping. Put the two together, and retailers have a major magnetic pull into their brick-and-mortar outlets.

Victoria's Secret ran a successful campaign that demonstrates how retailers can capitalize on the excitement shoppers feel when they encounter a hot brand and want share their experience with the world. In 2015, the lingerie business used Instagram to ask devoted customers to travel to Victoria's Secret locations, snap selfies in front of window displays, upload the pics to the Internet with certain hashtags, and tell sales associates. The customer-photographers received perfume rollers as rewards, strengthening their relationship with the brand. Surely some of these patrons made purchases while at the stores as well—and, likely, some of their social media followers hurried in to scoop up new outfits themselves.

How can companies take the shopper selfie idea to the next level to boost in-store traffic? One tactic would be to use our point of sale and platform solutions to integrate analytics into the rewards given to selfie-snappers so as to encourage repeat visits. Imagine a clothing retailer's brand ambassadors gifting special digital coupons to selfie uploaders—the company gains the email addresses of some of its most dedicated patrons, a subset that could be further targeted with other outreach or future social media promotions. That way, the shopper selfie promotion would increase in-store traffic the day of the event and on future days as well.

Sharing with digital signage

iPhone 7 displayed on a digital screen at an Apple Store

One of the best tools omnichannel retailers use to spread their brand story is digital signage. These electronic screens offer companies multiple benefits: the capacity to entertain patrons and educate them about products, the flexibility to adjust messaging easily (versus physical signage), and a “wow” factor as flashy videos light up the aisles. But how can digital signage be used in an omnichannel way to gain more in-store traffic?

Several hotels have found that employing digital signage to serve useful information to guests increases traffic and provides opportunities to enhance brand significance. For example, Marriott's SpringHill Suites used digital signage to supply helpful information about nearby gallery openings and other local events, travel details like weather conditions, and much more—plus a QR code that let patrons access the hotel's exclusive Pandora online radio station. This means someone might get in the habit of stopping by for helpful data (increasing in-store traffic) and continue developing personal ties to the hotel brand while away from the property.

A good digital signage solution can provide just about any content companies can envision. That includes general information that draws in-person traffic (such as a video calendar of local events) as well as brand-specific messages designed to drive conversions and increase brand loyalty.

The trick behind both tactics is to figure out what customers want and get them into retail locations by filling that need. iQmetrix products can help retailers meet that goal.

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Photos: Shutterstock / antoniodiaz, Shutterstock / Pressmaster, Shutterstock / testing