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Why retailers should pay attention to their neighbours

With some 10,000 store closures expected by the end of this year, it is time that retailers abandon the traditional silos they tend to work in, and instead look towards a more collaborative approach.

While it is important to understand shopper behaviour in-store, it is equally necessary to understand how consumers are interacting with neighbouring retailers to obtain a more complete view of the shopper.

Retailers are now becoming aware of the need to delve into available data to better understand the behaviour patterns, needs and expectations of shoppers. But, with so much data available, it can be difficult for retailers to prioritise what insights they need in order to truly drive profits and enhance customer experience.

Just like shopping centre owners would objectively look at which anchor retailers would benefit the centre and increase transactional volumes, brands should take advantage of those retailers in a close proximity to their store presence. If the neighbouring brands compliment the in-store offering – such as a fashion shop located next to a beauty shop – retailers should look to extend loyalty schemes so that shared customers, who would typically shop in both, can benefit from joint promotions that are complementary to one another and help to drive greater traffic and sales.

This is the same for retailers and hospitality brands. Indeed, our recent research, conducted with JLL, showed that shoppers who eat during a shopping centre trip spend on average 27 minutes longer across the shopping centre and spend 18% more in overall transactions, making it a lucrative position if a retailer is placed near a food or beverage establishment.

Again, there are opportunities here for a more direct, profitable collaboration. By partnering with food chains through loyalty schemes, retailers can capture the attention of shoppers at a point of reflection and planning, where they are sitting, revived, considering where to shop next. This is a perfect moment for partnering retailers to excite consumer interest with an exclusive, in-store discount offer, encouraging shoppers their way.

Similarly, by offering a drink voucher for a nearby hospitality outlet, for example, as a customer enters the store or makes a purchase, retailers will be incentivising dwell times within the area. This means that those customers that initially intended to showroom, may, on contemplation over a drink or some food, decide to make a purchase later that same day. This kind of partnership becomes mutually beneficial as increased visits and sales will incur for both parties.

In this data-led industry, where consumers are difficult to predict and track, it is essential that loyalty brands are harnessed so that marketers and decision-makers can get a deeper understanding of their shoppers and performance can understand what needs tweaking going forwards. Historically, it’s been possible to achieve this alone, but why should retailers struggle in today’s economic uncertainty, when they could innovate, collaborate, share strengths, insights and data, and as a result, provide their customers with an experience they couldn’t be without?