The retail industry is an extremely important part of the UK economy, equivalent to around 5% of GDP. Brexit, covid-19 and various shortages of products, drivers and fuel have all contributed to the difficulties faced by retailers since the beginning of 2020. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as offices have reopened and the commuter market has made a comeback.
As many UK office workers have exchanged the comforts of the home for the traditional office and the furlough scheme is now a distant memory, the real winners are the retailers who operate in the vicinity of office buildings. With footfall rising by an estimated 3% per week in many areas, and up to 9% in parts of central London and other large cities as office began to reopen in 2021, the return of the commuter market brought a much needed boost to the local economy.
Springboard Research’s Insights Director, Diane Wehrle said in 2021: “Footfall rose in all three destination types, but by far the greatest uplift occurred in high streets, where the increase was a third higher than in shopping centres and four times as great as that in retail parks.”
So as the streets are bustling again, it’s time to ensure that your business is in the best shape possible to cope. Here are our tips on how to maximise sales from the gold mine that is the commuter market.
What are your competitors doing?
It’s always worth keeping a keen eye on the competition, but it may be more important than ever. Have a look at their store layouts, the type of offers they are running and the products they are marketing to make sure you’re not being left behind. Be prepared to counteract an aggressive promotional campaign with one of your own if necessary and consider price matching if you sell high value items.
Upselling and cross selling
Ensure your staff are trained in upselling and cross selling so that they can maximise any selling opportunities. Think about setting up a small upsell display near your checkout to encourage the impulse purchase. Make sure employees are fully aware of complementary products so that they can refer to them when making a sale, for example “would you like the batteries to go with this?” or, “did you see the matching belt?”. Don’t forget that upselling isn’t just about products; if you offer extended warranties or other services, be sure they get a mention.
Bounce back promotions
Making a sale isn’t always about today. Bounce back promotions are a great way to encourage repeat custom. For example, offer £5 off the next purchase when a customer spends £50 in store, or a 10% discount voucher to be redeemed in the next month. Anything that incentivises the customer to return to you will prevent them from buying from a competitor.
Loyalty schemes are a great way to build a following and encourage repeat purchases. Allowing customers to build up points which can be redeemed for products or discounts can be an incredibly powerful way to build brand loyalty. For more tips on creating a loyalty scheme, check out this blog post.
After 2 years of disruption to the retail industry, the commuter market is back with a bang. Ensure you are in the best position possible to take advantage of this passing trade and increasing retail traffic by maximising the tools in your arsenal. If your current PoS system isn’t fit for purpose or doesn’t have the functionality you need to thrive in a busy and competitive environment, give our expert team a call on 0800 138 0050. We would be delighted to offer advice and talk you through our retail management solutions.
RMS (Scotland) Limited
Unit 006 Ettrick Riverside,
Dunsdale Road Selkirk
TD7 5EB, UK
Established in 2004, RMS is a leading provider of OpSuite Retail Management Solution and Electronic Point of Sale hardware equipment.