5 ways to Improve in-store conversion

Conversion is something I have always been asked to track since my days as a sales associate working in GAP almost 10 years ago (when I was just 16!).

I find it funny in modern marketing how so much time and money is invested in digital tracking and conversion, on analyzing every single mouse click made by a potential buyer in your store and squeezing out a lot of insight into what works and what doesn’t (today I even read a thesis, yes an actual thesis, written for a Masters degree on digital conversion).

However in-store conversion seems less looked at, sure at Gap we used to track the metric and have mystery shoppers but it didn’t feel nearly as scientific and looking at some of the experiences I have had recently across London I have decided to outline the basics here:

So here we go, once I am in your store here are 5 really simple ways to make it more likely I will buy something:

1. Go shopping in your own stores and those of your competitors: So simple and so far from where you probably thought I would go… Mystery shoppers and spoon fed insight are OK, but how can you possibly judge the performance of your stores against competitors unless you regularly go there and see for yourself, be the customer and figure out what frustrates you!

2. Staff to win: Retail staffing is always a really tricky issue, that I know, but as business managers you have to give your in-store staff a few things:

  • Enough hours to have staff to actually serve customers – actually get out and talk to them, help them find sizes, give good service (this applies particularly in high order or premium chains) but also to ensure the supply chains are managed, tills are staffed, the store is well presented etc.
  • Train and incentivise staff properly, make them product experts and give them a reason to sell! – I remember once when there was a competition for sales at GAP with a prize for the winner I sold more jeans in one day than I probably had all year to that point! – If they have a vested interest they will do better! Another thing here is buying signals, train staff to recognize them and know when to help someone!
3. A well signposted store layout: At the weekend I walked into a John Lewis to buy a travel bag, I asked the girl on the front of the store where the bags were and she didn’t know (see above!) I then walked in, looked round, found no signs, no indication of bags and no one to help me, so I left and bought my bag somewhere else. It isn’t hard to signpost where stuff is and people are lazy, particularly now we have so much choice!

4. Stock: To go against some thinking: Keep a lot of product out on the shop floor, keep the shelved piled high, most mid-level stores and below are not going to ever be able to help everyone in your doors and every time someone walks in and can’t see their size of t-shirt or the particular colour they want they just leave with nothing, it is a particular shame when the exact thing they are looking for is sat in a stock room!

5. Track conversion regularly and in line with activity – if it is dropping or things are not working make changes, and empower your in-store team to do so too! Watch trends, collect data and take action!

I am a firm believer that not only do people like to buy but they also like to be sold to, they just hate being sold to badly!

And remember: you can spend all the money you like on marketing campaigns to drive footfall, but without solid conversion a large % of that money is wasted! 

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