Retail foot traffic is declining, but there’s a light at the end of the checkout line

Posted on Posted in News, Retail

Recently, Forbes reported a looming foot traffic problem as the “dirty open secret” of the retail industry and the source of much of the decline in earnings from retailers including Macy’s and the Gap. The article sounds bleak if you’re a retailer:

“At a retail conference this spring, John Hazen, senior vice president of direct-to-consumer and omnichannel for denim retailer True Religion, addressed the elephant in the room head on, asking a crowd of his industry peers: ‘Is anybody not seeing large traffic declines?'”

So is it the end of an era for traditional retail? In all likelihood, yes, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Business Insider’s reaction to the Forbes article adds that retailers are attempting to become “internet proof” by creating experiences in the store like classes and events that foster a sense of community. This shift shows that many retailers understand that the key to the new retail generation is the customer experience, but the ones who will succeed with this method will be the few with enough money to take huge risks.

What about the rest of the industry? Those retailers who want to consider the customer experience but can’t afford or aren’t interested in turning their store into a “hangout” destination? Or want to do this in addition to maintaining their valuable transactions?

Forbes article says exactly what we at BoxHawk founded our company on: “consumers are increasingly demanding ‘omnichannel’ retailing, a seamless shopping experience whether buying from a computer, smartphone or in store.”

Shopping online should be as rewarding as shopping in the store, but without the hassle. Most stores don’t deliver on the omni-channel experience: the excitement of finding, comparing, and selecting a product is so disconnected from when it actually arrives in the hands of the customer, days or weeks later. The delivery is part of the shopping experience for the consumer, but most retailers don’t treat in the same way they treat the checkout line. Retailers would be embarrassed if they dropped or damaged your product while you were in the store, or made you drive to a distribution center to pickup your order, so why is it acceptable to have these experiences ever time you buy online?

Most retailers, that is, except one. Amazon so clearly saw the key to customer satisfaction and loyalty is the instant gratification of same-day delivery, it’s poised to become a full fledged shipping company to truly own the entire consumer journey. The truth is, many consumers would be willing to shop on other online stores than Amazon, but they haven’t been given a choice – Amazon’s service, friction-less experience, and fast, free delivery is so much better, why would you go anywhere else?

So how can retailers compete? BoxHawk is built to partner with retailers to provide same-day delivery integrated into their supply chain. The order is picked up from a store and delivered by that same driver, which allows retailers and consumers more control and visibility of the entire shopping experience, which is the key to surviving in the world of Amazon. Same-day and on-demand delivery options remove barriers to buying online.

There’s a light at the end of the checkout line. Retailers – it not about “internet proofing” your business. Think of your website as another channel to buy from you and win back customer loyalty from Amazon by offering a delivery experience that rivals your in-store experience.

 

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BoxHawk equips all retailers with an affordable same-day delivery network integrated into their business. Learn more at goboxhawk.com/retailers

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