Tips for Converting Website-Driven Traffic In-Store
During a meeting with the CEO of a major department store chain, he absolutely gushed with pride about an article that listed his company's website as one of the most visited retail sites online. At the time his website was getting about 30,000 visits a month, which may not seem like a big number today, but at the time was truly impressive.
Then I showed him the results of an in-store traffic study my firm conducted for his marketing team. On the basis of the traffic counts logged in a sample of his stores, we estimated that brick-and-mortar store traffic was hundreds of millions of visits annually.
Retailers have some of the most visited websites in the world. Receiving 10 million, 20 million, 30 million visits monthly or more is impressive by any measure, but you shouldn’t pat yourself on the back if you achieve these high levels of web traffic only to leave consumers standing in the check-out line in your brick-and-mortar stores.
It’s well understood and accepted that consumers are shopping multichannel. Online visits are frequently a precursor to an in-store visit — and hopefully a sale. That said, retailers seem to be extraordinarily aware and sensitive to website visitation and conversion rates, but incredibly oblivious and insensitive to these same vital metrics for their brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, most retailers today don’t track traffic or measure conversion rates in their stores.
Instead of actually measuring traffic and conversion rates, many retailers simply use sales transactions as a surrogate for traffic in their brick-and-mortar stores. This is a gross misrepresentation of what’s actually happening in the stores and a miscalculation that could lead to a huge disconnect in the web-to-store customer experience — and ultimately hurt sales.
Think about it: If Amazon.com only measured the number of sales transactions it made and counted this as its site traffic, how do you think it would compare to the actual number of visits it was getting? Obviously, it would be a mere fraction. Furthermore, if Amazon, using these significantly lower transaction counts as a proxy for site traffic, built its infrastructure to support these lower numbers, what would the outcome be? Not a pretty picture.