10 ways to increase basket size

Dylan Brown
by Dylan Brown

Increasing the average basket size of your customer base is high on the priority list for retailers right now. This is particularly true as the retail world still reels from the impact of Covid-19 – customer loyalty is fickle and behavioral patterns are changing.

According to recent research by McKinsey, 35% of US consumers have tried a new brand since the crisis began while 77% have also tried new shopping behaviors, including new channels, stores, and brands. (There is a similar rate in the UK and around the rest of the world.)

As a result, most retail brands are focusing their attention on increasing sales and average customer spend across their existing customer-bases. The majority (73%) of chief marketing officers say they will depend on current customers rather than developing new markets to foster growth, a Gartner survey found, while 39% said they will focus on their current market by increasing the sales of existing products.

Here are some of the most effective strategies retailers can use to increase basket size in their stores:

1) Promote personal shopping appointments

One of the most effective methods to increase personal basket size is by promoting your personal shopping offering. While this service is traditionally used by luxury retailers to appeal to their more elite customers, many retailers from all different sectors are rolling out personal shopping, styling and beauty services in their stores – others are offering technical advice and support or product consultations.

In our era of hyper-personalization, offering a personal shopping service is crucial to increasing personal shopping basket size. An Epsilon survey of 1,000 US adults revealed that 80% of respondents want personalization from retailers, and offering a one-on-one service is key to building relationships with customers and increasing upselling opportunities.

“It can increase a sale to grow almost 100% on average,” Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at market research firm The NPD Group, told Business of Fashion. “Imagine a person going into a store to buy a new skirt; personal shopping can turn that skirt into an outfit.”

Read more: How to increase personal shopping appointments

However, these services need to be easy for customers to book and for store associates to manage, which can be achieved through an online appointment booking system.

2) Offer discount sales

Discounts are the Marmite of the retail world – some brands love them while others despise them.

On the one hand, discounts are key to attracting customers into stores and increasing retail basket size. According to a study by Software Advice, discounting is the top “pricing strategy for retailers across all sectors, used by 97% of survey respondents.”

This is especially true during the coronavirus pandemic, where a significant proportion of customers are increasingly cost-conscious. PwC’s survey found 18% of consumers polled worldwide have experienced a loss of income and higher household bills.

On the other hand, heavily reduced discounts can cause all sorts of problems. In a double-blind study by TK, shoppers who bought items at a discounted rate were less satisfied than those who paid full price, with the conclusion being that those “paying higher rates expected a better experience and molded their assessment to their expectation.”

3) Push your loyalty program

Another proven way to increase basket size is through loyalty programs. While many of the founding principles of loyalty programs have become outdated and redundant, where these initiatives excel is in their personalization opportunities.

Many leading brands are increasing average customer spend with personalized offers based on consumer data – others are taking it a step further with products or services that are exclusive to loyalty customers, such as “Nike by Melrose”, (part of the brand’s Nike Live concept store portfolio), which provides loyalty customers with access to a unique product range and services like curbside pickup.

A McKinsey study found 83% of consumers expect personalized content and experiences from their favorite brands. The 2020 survey also unveiled that paid loyalty programs are more effective at increasing basket size than free loyalty programs. Setting aside revenue made from subscriptions, paid loyalty program members are 60% more likely to spend more on the brand after subscribing, while free loyalty programs only increase that likelihood by 30%. In addition, paid loyalty programs also increase purchase frequency, basket size and brand affinity.

4) Keep stock updated

This one is rather obvious – customers can’t buy something if it’s not there – but it’s also one of the most crucial. Retailers need to do everything within their power to ensure their stock is regularly updated.

One innovative initiative an increasing number of retailers are implementing is adopting a crowdsourcing approach towards stocking issues. This way customers browsing your stores can take photos of your shelves when an item is missing or the shelves are in a sorry state and send them in to your head office. Not only does this keep your head office informed of what’s taking place on the shop floor, it is also useful for following up with customers when products come back into stock and to increase customer satisfaction rates.

5) Optimize your store layout

Another worthwhile initiative that can have a positive impact on your average customer spend rate is by optimizing your store layout.

A study by Shopify has revealed 90% of shoppers in the US turn to the right when they walk into a store, and tend to move counterclockwise through the store. This means your displays to the right of the front entrance need to make a bold statement – displaying your high-margin goods there is recommended by retail experts.

And while design trends come and go, it’s important to adopt a minimalistic approach when creating your aisles – keep them wide, uncluttered and easy to navigate so that your customers can move seamlessly around your store. Advertise additional services such as personal shopping or BOPIS at or near your checkout, and make it possible for customers to request assistance from your store associates using their mobile phones or through in-store kiosks.

6) Offer a curbside pickup and BOPIS service

BOPIS services have long been proven to increase basket size – customers come into your store to pick up an item they’ve bought online and, while they’re waiting in a virtual queue for their item to be prepared, they end up buying something else.

Curbside pickup, on the other hand, stops your customers from stepping foot inside your store, which might seem counterintuitive, but the service is beneficial for building customer relationships. If you can prove to customers that your service is consistently easy, efficient and reliable, then their likelihood of returning and even entering your store will be noticeably higher.

Find out more about curbside pickup and BOPIS

7) Create a frictionless checkout process

Cashierless stores are a growing trend, and have the ability to save customers time while optimizing retailer’s resources. Amazon Go stores are perhaps the most well-known example, while other big retailers like Walmart and Target are experimenting with the technology.

And while this trend is important, the most substantial message retailers should take from it is the increased need to make their checkout process as simple and frictionless as possible.

Eliminating the need for customers to join long lines to pay for items or to receive service is crucial to increasing basket size and building long-lasting relationships – and many are using virtual queuing technology to power this process.

In fact, it’s a good idea to set up a number of payment options. Installment payments firm Afterpay reported a 30% increase in average basket size for U.S. customers year-on-year during the holiday season, according to a company press release.

8) Bundle products together or create packages

Another way to increase personal basket size is by bundling relevant items together, such as a yoga kit that include a yoga mat, yoga pants and a water bottle. This approach works well if the items cost less than when the products are purchased individually, but many customers will be drawn to a bundle regardless of the cost-saving benefits.

Grouping items that are commonly purchased together or complement each other saves your customers time and gives them a sense of confidence. This approach is particularly effective for customers wanting to buy gifts and is a must-have throughout the festive season.

9) Train your store associates to upsell

Another important initiative is to train your store associates to make product suggestions to customers. The main point to emphasise here is to make sure these suggestions are genuine, or at least come across as genuine.

Your store associates should try to make suggestions like a friend would, rather than a salesperson. For this to work well, the items being suggested need to be low cost and complement the product the customer is interested in.

10) Think omnichannel

The final point to make when it comes to increasing basket size is stop separating online and in-store. Covid-19 has ushered in a new era of omnichannel sales, and in the coming years we will see a huge change in consumer behaviors.

“During the pandemic, we’ve seen an unprecedented acceleration of trends that emerged over the past five years,” says Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation. “Innovations are taking place in a matter of just months that would normally take years, in areas like acceleration of e-commerce offerings, blending of digital and in-store experiences, curbside pickup and quicker delivery options, and contactless delivery and payments.”

Retailers should focus on applying the same personalized shopping experiences that customers get online into their store environments, and bring the same helpful, service-orientated approach to their online offerings. They also need to measure average customer spend across multiple channels.

For more information on how Qudini’s appointment scheduling and virtual queuing software can increase basket size in your stores, contact info@qudini.com for a demo.

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