The UK high street has undoubtedly never faced such a difficult period in attracting customers.
In 2018 alone, House of Fraser, Mothercare, Carpetright, Maplin, Toys R Us, Prezzo and Poundworld have all either gone into administration and had to start shutting stores, or shut down altogether.
This makes it all the more important to see the high street stores that are still attracting customers into shops and what they have done differently to increase footfall, rather than lose it completely.
One example is the health & beauty retailer Superdrug, who have increasingly remained buoyant despite operating in a digital consumer marketplace that is more convenient than ever.
In December 2017 Superdrug reported increased revenues of 2.3% to £1.2 billion, while pre-tax profits increased a whopping 16% to £92.9 million. This is thanks in no small part to them opening an additional 22 stores and sponsoring ITV’s Love Island.
But how exactly have they managed to drive footfall into their physical stores? We look a little closer at the successful strategies they’ve put in place.
1. Effective promotion of order & collect services
Superdrug have managed to integrate an ‘Order & Collect’ service into their customer journey.
This option is promoted aggressively throughout the checkout process online, meaning that even though a customer might be purchasing online, the preferred option (since it is completely free with no minimum spend) is visiting a local store.
Rather than keeping the digital purchase journey and the physical purchase journey separate, they have been combined by actively encouraging shoppers to still pop into store.
In addition, Superdrug also offer a whole host of other services including an Online Doctor. After completing an assessment and prescribing medication, this once again encourages consumers to complete their transaction in-store by using order & collect.
2. Integrate offline services into the online experience
Alongside their Online Doctor service, Superdrug have also introduced their Beauty Studio and Health Services that extends the online experience to stores.
Both services pages have an easy link to a list of stores that allows customers to see what services local stores provide.
The Beauty Studio concept was rolled out in 2014, offering beauty services such as threading, manicures and eyelash extensions in-stores.
In certain stores, Superdrug introduced digital displays and an interactive ‘selfie’ area so that shoppers can share their makeovers on social media.
3. Provide an attractive loyalty program
While most high street businesses operate a loyalty program to retain customers and to give consumers a reason to return to a store, Superdrug have provided something a little more innovative.
Their Health & Beauty card rewards shoppers with points that allow them to access exclusive discounts, but in addition, they are able to take advantage of offers, perks, and long-term members can also claim gifts.
They have a weekly promotion called ‘Treat Thursdays’ offering further discounts and more opportunities to collect and spend points.
To ensure the loyalty card has full integration with digital services, it also works in conjunction with the Superdrug app, meaning that regular shoppers can access offers and check how many points they have.
The app has further allowed Superdrug to provide deals and promotions that take into account a customer’s location and previous purchase history.
4. Create information-rich store pages
Another strategy that has taken Superdrug’s online shoppers into account when driving footfall to stores is the content they have created for their store pages.
By making the store pages rich in useful content and information, it means customers don’t have to struggle when finding contact details, in-store services, opening hours and even disabled access and mobility information.
The integration of an interactive map on each store page easily shows directions to the closest physical store through Google Maps.
5. Optimise your local SEO
Another tactic that is increasingly more important is the creation of a solid local SEO strategy.
Superdrug have made sure that all of their stores have an updated Google My Business page complete with contact information, opening hours, reviews and images available.
Putting importance behind local SEO means that if a consumer is browsing and is looking for health & beauty stores close by, Superdrug listings will appear. Another important tactic for converting a digital shopper into a physical one.
Rather than remaining stagnant and continuing to sell products in exactly the same way, Superdrug have seriously considered how their customers like to shop and tailored different ways for them to combine online browsing with shopping in-store.
In this way, they have remained innovative and reactive to changing trends in the average consumer, meaning they continue to drive footfall in their physical stores up and down the UK.