Now that non-essential stores are allowed open, many retailers are up against a new challenge – convincing consumers to enter their stores. But there are a number of approaches retailers can utilize, such as shoppable window displays, ensuring safety with a queuing app and booking system, and serving customers from the curbside.
It’s been over a week now since shops have been allowed open, and while a number of lengthy queues have made the news headlines, one of the key challenges retailers will face over the months to come will be luring customers inside their stores again.
While the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has tried to reassure the public by saying: “Shoppers should shop, and shop with confidence,” many are still skeptical about making non-essential trips to retail stores.
When wandering through London’s notoriously hectic Oxford Street and Regent Street shopping districts over the weekend, a large proportion of shoppers were curious to see what was on display in the windows – more so than usual – but less were interested in joining queues to enter stores.
Here are 5 ways retailers can lure window shoppers inside their stores and increase footfall during Covid-19:
1) Showcase your best products…and more of them
Covid-19 has done a great job at throwing best practice out the window for a range of industries, including retail. So, instead of focussing on your business-as-usual seasonal or campaign related window displays, showcase your most appealing products, and consider increasing the number of products on display.
Now is not the time to be coy – with customers less likely to set foot inside stores, retailers should allow customers to browse through as much of their products as possible before they see something they like.
2) Use your windows to inform about social distancing
Convince consumers to enter your store by using your window displays to showcase the safety measures you’ve implemented in-store.
For instance, many retailers are using virtual queue management systems and appointment scheduling systems to manage store footfall and ensure in-store social distancing. This means customers can join a virtual queue through their smartphones instead of waiting in a physical line, or they can select a time-slot to visit your store.
Many retailers are highlighting this clearly on their window displays so that customers wanting to enter stores can do so easily – but also for window shoppers passing by who might be tempted to come back at a later time if they knew the experience was safe.
3) Shoppable window displays
Retailers have been talking about “phygital” – the blend between physical brick-and-mortar stores and digital online shopping – for a while now, but Covid-19 has prompted many to give some bold new initiatives a go. For example, we’ve seen many invest in shoppable window displays by making their products easily available to buy online.
Lone Design Club, a community dedicated to helping independent fashion retailers, launched a fully interactive window in its South Molton Street store in London. The display allows customers to shop through a carefully selected collection of items using QR codes, as well as register for virtual personal shopping experiences, workshops, beauty events and tutorials.
4) Don’t be afraid to get creative
We mentioned in the first point the importance of showcasing your products – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be creative, too. Now is the time to try new things and put new ideas to the test.
For instance, the week before the lockdown eased for non-essential stores, Selfridges set up a window display outside its Oxford Street store that paid tribute to key workers who helped kept the country in motion during Covid-19. The displays featured hundreds of personalized thank you messages from the Selfridges’ team members.
Selfridges is known for its beautiful and elegant window displays – often more attune to an art gallery than a shop window – yet it decided to take this authentic and genuine display of affection from its staff, showing the brand’s complexity as an organization and its ability to adapt to change.
5) Serve customers from the sidewalk
With Covid-19 requiring brands to enforce strict social distancing measures and limit the number of customers allowed in-store, many retailers are serving customers from the sidewalk.
Customers arriving at a store to collect an online order can easily, efficiently and safely be served using click and collect check-in software. This creates a contactless click and collect experience that allows customers to pickup orders without setting foot inside the store by alerting store teams when they have arrived outside the store. A member of staff is then notified and will bring their order out to them.
Other retailers are allowing customers to request items from store associates at the front entrance of their stores. Store associates then go into the store and collect items on the customer’s behalf.