Re-Thinking Location in Retail, a Key to Profitability

Article
by Bill McCarthy on 03-07-18

These days, the modern consumer demands more of retailers than she ever has before. Not only do shoppers want convenience and availability, but they also expect that their online experience will integrate with their in-store shopping experience. This change in the way that consumers browse and buy is one of many modern consumer trends that spurs retailers to re-think aspects of their business model. One key point to give some thought if you’re looking to boost profitability and keep up with the pace of retail’s evolution? The importance of location in retail.

Whether getting smarter around location involves analyzing new data sets, leveraging new technology, or finding a new approach to an old problem, here are three key concepts to consider when brainstorming new ways to think about ‘location’ in retail.

  1. Choosing the right location

When it comes to where retail locations are positioned, it’s important to be selective about real estate. Researching areas of interest for new locations should always include finding out how stores in this area are performing compared to others in their overall market. The more similar in profile the store data you analyze is to your store type, the better. There are several business intelligence solutions – including ShopperTrak’s Market Intelligence – that provide data regarding the amount of opportunity a given storefront experiences YOY.

In addition to finding a spot that’s accessible and visible to the general public, considering the proximity to competitors in the area is “must-do.” Of course, this includes avoiding areas where the market may be over saturated and ensuring that there is a healthy market for your products or services in the area.

  1. Harnessing the power of location in retail with localized promotions and marketing

Upon landing on an ideal location for a physical store, it’s time to start thinking about how to make the most a physical location, as opposed to a digital presence. Localized promotions are one of  many great ways to drive traffic and get shoppers to spend more. Comparing the results of localized promotion strategies  across locations can enable retailers to focus on boosting sales at store locations that present the most opportunity for improvement, figuring out how to optimize profitability at newer or less frequently visited stores.

Engaging in localized promotions should lead to leveraging location-based marketing technology. Location-based marketing technology can target shoppers who are a very specific physical area around a given store location. For example, location-based technology may result in a store manager sending time-sensitive push discounts to opted-in consumers who are in the strip mall across the street, on a given Saturday.

Essentially, mobile push notifications and search ads can target those who are most likely to be interested in a brand’s products or services while also being physically situated near the ideal location.

  1. Providing a seamless online and offline shopping experience.

Today’s consumer often shops for the same brands both on and offline without thinking twice about it. But utilizing the excitement and convenience of online shopping to help drive traffic to physical store locations can be tricky. By finding a way to make the integration of online and offline customer experiences seamless, you can get the most out of your physical store location, while providing strategic online benefits.

If you want consumers to continue showing that they value the importance of location in retail by visiting a physical store, retailers should incentivize shoppers accordingly. This often means providing a meaningful and valuable in-store experience that complements any browsing or shopping that occurs online. For instance, you might provide specialized services in the store – e.g.,  personalized shopping, tailored measurements, or enabling buying products online and picking them up in store.

Looking Ahead

As the retail evolution continues, retailers need to continue to think about how they can use their physical store location to their advantage. By utilizing location-based analytics to strategically reconsider the role of location for your brand, your business can maximize productivity and boost profits anywhere, online and off.

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Read more posts by Bill McCarthy

Bill McCarthy is the General Manager of the Americas, in which he oversees regional efforts pertaining to the Traffic Insights business unit.