Following a winter of online-shopping, store retailers might feel some cause for concern. Though sales numbers dipped significantly during the coldest season, there's still reason to look on the bright side. Spring brings milder weather and the promise of holiday shopping. Mother's Day, Father's Day and Independence Day are all the horizon, as well as supply-runs for Memorial Day barbecues. Another encouraging fact is that sales per consumer increased nearly 6 percent despite a modest decrease in foot traffic and overall transactions, according to PYMNTS.
Though consumers are making fewer trips to stores, they're spending more each round, according to RetailNext's most recent Pulse report. Combine this with an uptick in conversion, and it's possible that the winter rut was simply a lull and not a dire projection of things to come.
Taking a look at trends across regions also hints at the weather's impact on in-store traffic numbers. The Northeast - facing a more brutal winter than other regions - absorbed the greatest blow to in-person commerce.
Sales and traffic were down in both the Midwest and the South, but each region saw increases in sales per shopper and average transaction value. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the West's consumer data shows promise for the rest of the country. Sales in the region rose by 8 percent, and ATV grew nearly 12 percent.
Enhance the shopping experience
Though it's too early to predict the numbers for the rest of the year, business owners can draw more shoppers to their stores by upgrading their POS systems to the latest systems, which boast complex, efficient analytics capabilities that can help retailers build lasting customer loyalty.
Using data to focus on customer retention strategy costs less than recruiting new customers, Entrepreneur Magazine said. The best payment solutions systems can interpret data from past customer activity, allowing retailers to cater to the needs of their most valuable supporters. Further, these analytics can help retailers figure out what factors drive customers to return to their stores.
Keep customers happy
As every retailer knows, an unpleasant shopping experience is the quickest way to break customer loyalty. It's important to keep lines moving during the busy summer rush, giving customers reason to return for fall holiday shopping. If transactions are too slow, customers might vow to never return to the store. The latest POS systems are optimized for the most efficient transactions, including EMV and NFC capabilities. Since these platforms can be attached to smartphones, it's possible for a retail representative to bring the checkout terminal to the customer. This means stores aren't limited by a finite number of cash registers when the lines double up. With streamlined POS systems, customers don't need to wait as long!
Outside of the store, retailers can still reach their customers via email promotions. Analytics data enables companies to send more meaningful, personalized messages that are relevant to specific customer needs. Merchants can also use their own apps to deliver loyalty programs and promotions. This kind of customized connection can help raise the repeat shopper rate, and build lasting customer loyalty.