Following the waves of the COVID-19 pandemic and the surge in online delivery services, it is a surprise to no one that the way of shopping has drastically changed. While many services such as Instacart, UberEats, or curbside pickup began as a precaution during the pandemic, they have now become a service that consumers expect for sheer convenience. 

Online grocery shopping became the norm during the pandemic, and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Despite the easing of restrictions, a study found that two in every three households in the U.S. placed an order online for groceries in 2021, resulting in $97.7 billion in sales through pickup and delivery services.

According to a 2021 Statista survey, approximately 80% of the United States population shops online. Meanwhile, a 2022 Raydiant study found that 56.6% of consumers prefer shopping online over in person, a strong 10% jump from 2020. However, despite this shift in online consumerism, brick-and-mortar still reigns supreme in influencing purchases and driving revenue.  

So, the billion-dollar question is: How can you drive in-store traffic in the age of online consumerism? In this article, we’ll cover five ways you can attract customers to your store to drive bigger baskets and greater satisfaction.

5 Ways Retailers Can Drive In-Store Traffic

#1 – Create a Positive and Welcoming Environment

According to a 2020 study from Ketchum, approximately 45% of consumers in the United States have “altered their brand preference amid the rapid changes of the world.” Only a month later, Mckinsey’s research estimated that number at 73%. With brand loyalty lacking, a study from Raydiant suggests retailers should prioritize creating a positive and welcoming environment for their in-person shoppers. At a minimum, this means keeping the store clean and well-lit. If you want to succeed in this area, it could mean creating attractive displays, using senses such as scent and lighting to create a welcoming atmosphere, and greeting customers as they enter. Retailers must do more to build an emotional connection with their consumers, whether by engaging in small talk, making conversation about products, or simply asking customers how their day is going. The end goal is to provide your customers with an experience that they cannot find online. 

#2 – Ease Friction During Checkout

Aside from offering this positive, personal experience, consumers also look for the easiest checkout process possible. Waiting in long lines at the grocery store can be tedious; in fact, 73% of consumers stated that the checkout line is the biggest pain when shopping, and approximately one-fifth of those consumers would abandon their items altogether if the lines were too long. 

Self-checkout kiosks have been popping up with increasing frequency due to labor shortages and the need for a hygienic shopping experience. However, the age of self-checkout for simple convenience has come. For example, Walmart stated in 2021 that it planned to eliminate cashiers, switching to a completely self-checkout experience. This is sure to draw in more customers, as roughly 75% of consumers prefer using these kiosks regularly. By providing your customers with multiple payment options through self-checkout kiosks, you are also providing them with shorter wait times and an easier shopping experience overall. 

#3 – Level Up Customer Service

It is no longer enough for businesses to provide quality goods and services; now, customers also expect a high level of customer service to keep them coming back. 90% of customers stated they would be more likely to return to a store if they had a positive in-person experience. Not only would they visit more frequently, but 60% of these customers admitted they would be more willing to shell out at a store that provided a positive experience than one that did not. Creating a better customer service experience than your competitors can help you stand out in the market, motivate customers to come back, and, therefore, increase your profit. 

#4 – Make the In-Store Experience Unique

Driving in-store traffic is crucial for retailers to drive sales through in-store-only products and impulse purchases. Keeping customers coming to the store for specific products that can only be found within the store can help drive more traffic; a good example is Target’s Dollar Spot. By keeping these products trending and seasonally appropriate, Target sets its in-person store apart from its website, creating an experience that cannot be found online. Keeping these products in-store allows for this opportunity to invite customers to browse instead of shopping online. This not only increases sales for these in-store-only products but also increases the chances of sales from impulse purchases. 

#5 – Provide “Destination-Worthy” Services

Another way to drive in-store traffic is by providing “destination-worthy” services in the store. Examples include banking services, cell phone repair kiosks, and coin exchange automation (like our programs here at Coinstar). 

Take coin exchange for example: most people don’t walk around with their change jars and piggy banks waiting for the opportunity to cash in. A trip to a Coinstar kiosk is usually an intentional one—meaning, customers will come into your store specifically to cash in their coins. So, once they have their cash in hand, why not stick around and shop? In fact, we’ve done studies that show that customers who use the Coinstar kiosk wind up with a 10% bigger basket by the time they hit the checkout lanes. So, you’re not only drawing customers in, you’re helping them spend more while you’re at it.

Innovation Drives Traffic

In this post-pandemic age, companies are trying to find new and innovative ways to drive in-store traffic in the age of free delivery and pick-up orders. By creating a shopping experience that is as easy as possible, utilizing technological advances within the store, and offering in-store-only products to bring in customers, you can effectively drive sales and in-store traffic. As the ways of shopping continue to shift post-pandemic, companies and stores must learn to adapt to keep up with the changes in consumer preferences and behavior. Follow us on LinkedIn and subscribe to our newsletter for more industry insights!