How to increase profits from your brick-and-mortar stores

After working with a wide variety of retailers we’ve gained a deep understanding of what drives great customer experiences and profits. What we’ve observed is that no matter how different brands or stores are, the two main drivers of customer experience and profit are the same: service design (staff) and store experience (store design and assortment). When these two factors come together in the right way the store accomplishes what we call ‘shopability’.

The key to shopability

And shopability, that’s what stores should be all about. In a shopable store, customers will enjoy their store experience and retailers will maximize their profits. To get to this point, brick-and-mortar stores need to fully use the natural advantages they have over online retailers. These innate advantages are the ability to let shoppers engage with the products (store experience) and the personalized service that store staff can offer (service design). When getting those right, the physical store should actually have an easier time when it comes to creating loyal customers.

These advantages cannot be replicated online. It’s also a mistake to think that online’s rise is caused by the fact that it has benefits greater than those that a store can offer. Of course home delivery is convenient, but a much more important reason that online has been able to fly is because online retail’s had insights that weren’t available to physical retailers for a long time. Online retailers had all the insights necessary, such as shopper profile and customer journey, to drive sales and build long-term shopper loyalty. And they’ve used this understanding of the shopper to their full advantage.

Stores are no longer a black box

But the time has come that through retail analytics, these types of shopper insights are available to brick-and-mortar retailers too. This means a giant leap forward, because physical stores can now combine their natural advantages with deep customer insights that were thus far only available online.

This type of shopper understanding is crucial, because improving store experience and service design, to get to shopability, starts with an understanding of shopper behavior. How do shoppers interact with staff, store and assortment? And what is the current state of each store? What do we do well in terms of staff and store design and what are the stores or specific areas in stores that should be optimized? And, most importantly, how does this all tie in to my sales results?

You can’t know what to improve if you don’t know what’s actually going on in the store

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