How to boost in-store traffic on peak trading daysBY Adam Ioakim
Now is not the time to rely on guesswork in retailing in Australia. It’s clear that retail disruptions – most notably web titans Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and JD.com – will have a growing impact on traditional Australian retail sales in the coming decade.
Retail groups need to fight back with an arsenal of technology and data tools that will shore up and professionalise core elements of retail that online players currently can’t touch – namely stores. And when it comes to seasonal peak trading days, this is your golden opportunity to shine - but you need to get it right.
Our new special report Traffic analytics: Powering Australian physical stores in the e-tailer age explores the potential of bricks-and-mortar as hubs for experiential retail in the face on online competition. And we provide a wealth of recommendations on how to use traffic data analytics to raise your game, and survive the threats ahead.
Time for action
At ShopperTrak we believe Australian retailers are well-positioned to adapt their offer, retain their credibility and their customers, and survive despite the looming threat of the mighty web giants. Plenty of industry opinion echoes this view, with a recent GlobalData report stating, “Local retailers need to realise that competing against Amazon for most standard goods on price is not viable, and ensure that they provide their customers with a differentiated experience, by investing in technology.” According to GlobalData, “Australian retailers have the opportunity to build deeper connections with their customers than what a global generalist like Amazon could ever achieve, even if it opened physical stores.”
Peak trading is your treasure trove
An obvious starting point is to use technology to power up peak trading in physical stores. Bricks-and-mortar retailers already have the massive advantage of space in which to flaunt product, service, unique experiences and convenience. Peak trading comes at times that are emotional, exciting and poignant to consumers. They want a festive buzz at Christmas, or the thrill of finding a bargain during the winter sales. Most importantly, they’re on a mission to spend.
Every store group will have a calendar of known peaks to plan for, but there is a lot more insight that can be gathered and acted up with historic and real time traffic data. Knowing the days, and hours when these opportunities are going to arise gives retailers an incredible foundation on which to build a knock-out customer experience. More traffic should mean more sales, but you need to know what is most likely to convert these eager browsers to committed buyers.
ShopperTrak data shows that the Saturday before Mother’s Day always experiences an average +10% uplift in foot-traffic when people go out to buy gifts. We also know the traffic Black Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday receives every year.
If individual stores are primed to expect a hike in numbers through the door at a certain time, there is a great opportunity to introduce ways of raising the conversion rate at that crucial moment. Remember that a small conversion rate improvement can result in double digit percentage sales increases.
Plan meticulously and measure results
Peak days, once identified, can be meticulously planned for, so that optimum staffing levels and checkout availability is guaranteed, and no sale is lost due to disgruntled, hurried shoppers losing their patience in the queue. A greeter at the door, or a dedicated sales assistant offering the chance to try a new beauty product, might boost the conversion rate, and if this is the case, the initiative can be rolled out across the store estate.
A simple change of merchandise layout with peak-related ranges given prime position could drive up that KPI. Back to School or Halloween marketing campaigns can be improved upon, once their impact on traffic has been measured and shared.
So when are Australia’s peak shopping days?
Here is ShopperTrak’s latest data on Australian peak trading days. We urge retailers to use these market insights, and — even better — their own traffic data analytics to plan for peak. By resourcing to align with known uplifts in traffic, you can provide an excellent service in stores that will delight shoppers, and power up peak to maximise these vital sales opportunities.
When are Australia’s peak shopping days?
- Boxing Day has been the busiest day in shops for the past 4 years
- Either the 23rd or 27th December is the second busiest day (i.e. run up to, or post-Christmas).
- Traffic on the Saturday before Mother’s Day always experiences an average +10% uplift when people go out to buy gifts.
- The day before Father’s Day consistently sees an uplift (+6.65% on average since 2013).
- Valentine’s Day doesn’t have a noticeable impact on shopping trends in Australia.
- Black Friday is a popular shopping day in Australia, with large uplifts in traffic for the past three years – 2017 was the busiest so far.
- Easter Saturday and Easter Monday are popular shopping days in Australia, with traffic being up by +21.7% and +68% on average respectively.
Source: ShopperTrak data
Australian retailers and landlords are increasingly data-hungry, aware that technology and ‘big data’ will help them understand and keep pace with a fast-changing market. With insight it’s possible for retailers to play to their advantage. Certainly, generating an outstanding in-store experience at a special time of year, be it Christmas, Easter or Anzac Day, is something Amazon can only dream of achieving.
For more information and guidance on how to use traffic analytics to maximise these opportunities and boost store performance and profitability click here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam is the General Manager for Australia & South East Asia at ShopperTrak