Return to the office proffers welcome boost to retailers

The retail industry is an extremely important part of the UK economy, equivalent to around 5% of GDP. Brexit, covid-19 and various shortages of products, drivers and fuel have all contributed to the difficulties faced by retailers since the beginning of 2020.  However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as offices begin to reopen and commuters return to work.

As UK office workers begin to exchange the comforts of the home for the traditional office and the furlough scheme comes to an end, the real winners are the retailers who operate in the vicinity of office buildings. With footfall rising by an estimated 3% per week in many areas, and up to 9% in parts of central London and other large cities, this brings a much needed boost to the local economy.

While weekend footfall remains lower than expected for this time of year, the Monday to Friday commuter trade is making a welcome return. No doubt weekend high street sales will continue to increase as we approach the busiest shopping period of the year, with traffic at shopping centres already on the up.

Springboard Research’s Insights Director, Diane Wehrle said: “Footfall rose in all three destination types, but by far the greatest uplift occurred in high streets, where the increase was a third higher than in shopping centres and four times as great as that in retail parks.”

So as the streets begin to bustle, it’s time to ensure that your business is in the best shape possible to cope with the changing tide. Here are our tips on how to maximise sales as retail footfall begins to recover.

What are your competitors doing?

It’s always worth keeping a keen eye on the competition, but it may be more important than ever as trade begins to heat up. Have a look at their store layouts, the type of offers they are running and the products they are marketing to make sure you’re not being left behind. Be prepared to counteract an aggressive promotional campaign with one of your own if necessary and consider price matching if you sell high value items.

Upselling and cross selling

Ensure your staff are trained in upselling and cross selling so that they can maximise any selling opportunities. Think about setting up a small upsell display near your checkout to encourage the impulse purchase. Make sure employees are fully aware of complementary products so that they can refer to them when making a sale, for example “would you like the batteries to go with this?” or, “did you see the matching belt?”. Don’t forget that upselling isn’t just about products; if you offer extended warranties or other services, be sure they get a mention.

Bounce back promotions

Making a sale isn’t always about today. Bounce back promotions are a great way to encourage repeat custom. For example, offer £5 off the next purchase when a customer spends £50 in store, or a 10% discount voucher to be redeemed in the next month.  Anything that incentivises the customer to return to you will prevent them from buying from a competitor.

Loyalty schemes

Loyalty schemes are a great way to build a following and encourage repeat purchases. Allowing customers to build up points which can be redeemed for products or discounts can be an incredibly powerful way to build brand loyalty. For more tips on creating a loyalty scheme, check out this blog post.

After nearly 2 years of disruption to the retail industry, now is the time to prepare for the economic recovery. Ensure you are in the best position possible to take advantage of pent up demand and increasing retail traffic by maximising the tools in your arsenal. If your current PoS system isn’t fit for purpose or doesn’t have the functionality you need to thrive in a busy and competitive environment, give our expert team a call on 0800 138 0050. We would be delighted to offer advice and talk you through our retail management solutions.

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