Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Converting footfalls

How does a store convert sale shoppers to regular customers?

Every store has them, those who make an annual trip to the store only on sale days, purchasing clothes that have been marked down a few months after other bought them at regular price. When I worked at JC Penney, it was quite a common phenomenon, although in a large anchor store in a mall, its often harder to easily slot each customer that comes to the store.

In smaller specialty stores such as Gini & Jony, where I worked in Bombay, it was an easy and obvious process. Even though the store was located on the busy Linking road in Khar, we generally got traffic only from the local area (and some from the Mahalaxmi area further south where our store had recently closed), so over 60% of the footfalls were repeat and recognizable ones.

USA Today has an interesting article giving tips, such as reducing the display of large quantities of merchandise, promoting an everyday lower price, such as Macy's is now doing and reducing the number of sales.
Retailer discounting went into overdrive in the late 1980s and 1990s with the emergence of Wal-Mart and Target and the growth of specialty retailers such as Ann Taylor and Talbots."Department stores would do the markdowns to draw people into stores, but now it feels like they're always having a one-day sale ... and it doesn't even feel special anymore," says retail analyst Christine Chen. Markdowns do "create traffic, but it trains the customer to expect the sale and not want to pay full price."

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