• Share

Retail Stores: The Best Ways To Improve Conversion Rate

Have you ever seen someone walk into your store, look around for a few minutes and then leave without buying anything? Every time this happens, they are just walking away from money. The good news is that it’s easy enough to fix by simply knowing how to improve conversion rates in retail stores. 

Your conversion rate is the percentage of people who buy something from your store divided by those that walk in. To find this, you will need to install a door counter if you don’t already have one.

It’s important to note that an in-store conversion rate is not 100% accurate. Sales associates are also counted as conversions, so the number may be higher than you think.

Once you clearly understand your current conversion rate, it is much easier to set goals and start using these techniques. You should know that if your rates are in the single digits (i.e., 15% or lower), there may be a marketing issue.

You may be doing something wrong with your marketing strategy. You’re attracting customers looking for the bad thing, and you have nothing to offer them.

how to improve conversion rate in retail stores


1. Make your store a success.

The first thing you should do is look at your store’s layout to know how to improve the conversion rate in retail stores. Where are the displays? Is there enough room for customers or things, or will they have trouble finding what they’re looking for? How long does it usually take to get through lines?

Unless you’re a discount retailer like TJ Maxx, don’t make your store look messy. You want it easy for shoppers to find what they need and get out of there quickly.

Here are some ideas:

how to improve conversion rate in retail stores

  • Make good use of your “power wall.” If you’re in the United States (or another nation where people drive on the right side of the road), make a huge statement with your right wall because consumers instinctively turn to the right when they go in. However, if you’re in the United Kingdom, Australia, or New Zealand, your power wall should be on the left because most of your customers will turn left as they enter your store.
  • The more merchandise on the floor, the less attractive and appealing it will be to customers. This rule helps keep your store looking tidy without having too much clutter.
  • It’s important to remember that the first 5-15 feet of your store is called a “decompression zone” because people in this area are prone to distractions. Please keep it simple and uncluttered by limiting how many products or fixtures you put in this section.


2. Hide your queue.

There are several ways to solve this problem, and you must do so. You can either increase the size of your store or change how customers get in line.

  • To make your checkout process seamless and effortless for customers, you should put the registers in a not immediately visible place. The store New York & Co., places their record by the fitting rooms at the back of its stores with many high displays around it.
  • If you want to reduce your queues, consider getting rid of registers and going mobile. That way, employees can ring customers anywhere on the floor, which will help with customer wait times. Alternatively, adding mPOS systems might be a good option for those who don’t like this idea.


3. Staffing should be based on traffic, not simply sales.

One of the secrets to improving conversion rate in retail stores is that many stores will schedule their staff according to hours where the most sales are made, rather than preparing people based on traffic. By switching over and having more employees when there is a high customer count in-store, your team can better serve everybody, which should result in an uptick in revenue.

Vend Tip

If you want to know the best time of day for your store, check out how many transactions are made at different times. If more people shop during certain hours than others, it might be good to adjust staffing accordingly.


4. Recognize that your staff plays a significant impact in increasing conversions.

The importance of being well-staffed is about hiring and how you train your employees.

how to improve conversion rate in retail stores

If you want to know how to improve the conversion rate in retail stores, some things will help:

Allow them to welcome and interact with every customer in the business.

You can’t just hope that people are going to ask for help. Your staff needs to be proactive and establish relationships with shoppers to know what’s on their minds.

If you want to ensure that your staff is greeting everyone, try assigning someone specifically for the front zone.

When you walk into any American Eagle store, there is always someone who “just happens” to be folding and tidying up near the front.

Teach your employees to encourage clients to discuss what they’re looking for.

The bulk of this is to ensure that they don’t ask yes or no questions. For instance, “Can I help you find something?” will most often be met with “No.” But “What are you looking for today?” requires the shopper to engage with the question a bit more, even if the answer is negative.

Make an effort — and mean it.

Once your staff has found out what the customer wants and needs, teach them to do more than just their job. When they’re working hard for you, it’s only fair that you return the favor.

Google’s algorithm can solve your problem, and it will probably be great. Click To Tweet

Convincing people to buy even if they’re unsure is a challenging task, but it’s necessary.

If you’re not too worried about staff training, then incentivizing their work with a prize is an easy way to motivate them.


5. Give away free samples, snacks, or drinks.

Ever wonder why Costco has made free samples a part of their business model? It’s for several reasons, but the main one is that, as Dan Ariely, a Duke University behavioral economist, says, “Reciprocity is a very, very strong instinct.” When Costco gives you a free sample, you feel obliged to do something for them. Ariely also points out that free samples remind you of cravings you have, making you want to buy what you just sampled.

If you’re trying to sell something that can’t be given away as samples, then offer a free drink or two. It’s been shown repeatedly that people will come in for a cup of coffee so that they have an excuse to stay around.

I had a great experience with Birchbox in SoHo. When I walked into the store, an associate was already there to greet me and offer me complimentary champagne.

I found that if I had a drink while shopping, it made the experience more enjoyable and encouraged me to stay and browse. The result? Purchase at the end of my visit.

I was never a fan of giving away freebies, but I realized that wineries charge for samples to boost revenue.

Wineries offer free tastings of their wines, making it easy for customers to decide whether or not they want to buy a bottle.

I recently went to a tasting, and I noticed that the employee running it was very knowledgeable about wine. He gave us some great tips on how we should taste what kind of food goes well with certain wines, and he also offered up his private stash for people interested in trying something new.

All businesses have to find ways of giving customers something to purchase. Click To Tweet

Sephora, for example, gives out free makeovers, and after someone spends 15 minutes making you the perfect eyebrows, they will not let you leave without buying anything.


6. Make use of social proof.

When you want to buy something, the first thing that usually pops up is reviews. Reviews give us a sense of social proof and make us feel more confident in our purchase.

With a few simple steps, you can replicate this store’s success. For instance, in Amazon’s physical locations, each printed product tag contains a snippet of a highly starred review from their website. 

The city is famous for putting its phone number on the street signs, but it’s also a great way to find your destination.


7. Create a sense of scarcity.

The scarcity of an item is a well-known psychological trick to make it seem like the customer will miss something if they don’t buy. It drives customers to want what’s in limited supply.

how to improve conversion rate in retail stores

One way to motivate your employees is by limiting the number of items in stock.

  • Reduce the number of products on your floor to make it seem like you have a wide selection. This can increase customer interest in an item because they might think it is all left.
  • Train your staff to tell customers when something is the last one you have. It’s an easy sales line that can help them close a deal and motivate potential buyers. Get used to saying, “You’re in luck! That dress we just had our hands on was the only size left for this item, and it happens to be in your style/size.”
  • Run limited-time promotions to provide a temporary boost in your conversion rate and artificial scarcity. A great example is doorbuster sales on Black Friday, which are only for one day, not several days, or even an entire week. By running these types of sales, you create urgency with customers who feel like they don’t have much time left before the deal expires.


8. Encourage customers to spend time with you.

Many stores focus on the idea that customers will purchase something if they’re in your store for a long time. The Wall Street Journal says you can see up to 40% increase from people who spend more than an hour shopping there.

We’ve already covered how to keep your shoppers in the store longer, so here are some key points:

  • One of the most effective ways to make shopping more accessible and fun is by offering amenities. Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary & Supply has a children’s corner in the back for parents with kids, which can help those frustrated shoppers who are stuck dragging their bored little ones around an entire store. Costco also offers free samples because they know that grocery stores should be engaging experiences.
  • To help customers feel welcome, make sure your employees are well-trained. For example, wineries can offer free wine education to their visitors, but they should also encourage conversation between the employee and customer so that both parties have a better experience.


9. If you sell a product that your store doesn’t carry, be sure to have an alternative plan in place.

Make sure that your customers never find themselves in a situation where they need to look elsewhere for an item. This is especially important if you don’t have the product available at your physical store.

DSW knows that many of its customers want to purchase the shoes they’re wearing but can’t because they don’t have them in stock. They offer free shipping when this happens, and associates will ring up the customer on a mobile device to have minimal frustration for both parties.

It’s not just about delivery anymore. With advances in technology, you’ll be able to offer same-day delivery on even more items so that customers don’t have to wait.

Further Reading

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Vend’s guide to increasing sales. This handy resource offers ten proven tactics for boosting retail and improving your bottom line.

Specifically, you will:

  • Learn how to convert knowledgeable shoppers into devoted customers.
  • Learn how to increase the actual and perceived value of each sale.
  • Learn More about the most effective strategies to set yourself apart from your rivals.


10. Provide flexible payment choices.

It’s tough when you have a limited budget. Consider being more flexible with how customers pay for your product if this is the case. Providing layby or installment options is an excellent way to motivate salespeople.

If you want to get paid upfront, offer customers the option of paying for their purchase in installments. This is a great way to do so through Afterpay, which allows them this luxury.

With Afterpay, you get paid upfront for your customers’ items. They then pay it off in four fortnightly installments with no interest or extra costs if they make on-time payments.

Afterpay provides a payment solution to help customers out and aids your sales team. Click To Tweet

As Bill Parry, Head of Sales – SMB at Afterpay, says,

“Afterpay is more than a payment method; it is a sales tool your team can use to drive results in-store. By integrating Afterpay into your team’s sales journey, you can combat objections and remove barriers to purchase by offering a simple way for your customers to pay for their purchase over four installments.”