The battle to find, implement and promote a unique selling point for stores continues to intensify, with new and on-trend products, and categories such as global confectionery (see p32), seen as a way for retailers to drive up sales, but also increase footfall as people travel to find items that not every store is offering.
However, in-store services have also proved to be excellent footfall drivers, particularly in areas where a local business that might have previously provided a service has since closed down or relocated. Parcel delivery and collection has been implemented by many retailers. It has brought in trade in its own right in the forms of payments from the delivery companies, but it has also given retailers a whole new wave of customers to whom they can market on-the-go coffee or other impulse purchases.
But beyond this, there are some retailers taking matters a step further, and finding new and inventive additions to what their store offers. The deposit return scheme in Scotland was meant to encourage customers to return to stores with empties, giving stores another chance to sell. While it has been hit with delays, retailers could consider enacting something similar for their stores. Bobby Singh, from BB Nevison Superstore in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, has a donation box in his store where people can drop off clothes for Help the Homeless.
“It brings people to your store and you’re helping people, while telling people what kind of store you are and what you’re doing,” he says.
Retailers would be wise to look abroad for inspiration, where stores could have uncovered or adapted services that are taking their country by storm. It’s important to remember that if stores can get ahead of these services, they won’t just have a service that people want, they could be the only store for miles offering it, which can bring in footfall from even further afield.