Brick-and-Mortar Experiences Rise in Foot Traffic

Ally Feiam By Ally Feiam | 19 Sep 2019

Despite the fall in sales across retail in the last few months, studies have shown that there’s been a rise in foot traffic throughout brick-and-mortar stores in Australia. 

Data from CouriersPlease shows than one in three Aussies went to a department, specialist or fashion store in the last week, with more than half going into a retailer store in the last fortnight.

So, If Foot Traffic is Rising, Why the Dip in Sales?

“All brick and mortar retailers in Australia are brutally squeezed by three forces: exorbitant rents, the highest labour costs in the world, and biased workforce laws and regulations,” explained Andrew Gorecki, Managing Director of Retail Directions to Power Retail. “The combined weight of these commercial and regulatory handicaps causes the primary structural pressure that forces retailers to close stores and run them understaffed. As a secondary factor, e-commerce agitates the situation further, but only in some verticals.”

The results from the CouriersPlease survey found that 31 per cent of respondents last stepped into a physical store in the previous week, with a further 23 per cent visiting two weeks prior. Moreover, a further 23 per cent went into a store in the two-four weeks prior. All up, this indicates that 77 per cent of Australians have stepped into a retail store in the last month.

“It is encouraging to see that online shopping hasn’t caused a mass exodus of shoppers from stores. While retail spending has gone down, our survey indicates that shopper foot traffic has been maintained. The key for retailers is to convert that traffic into purchases,” said Jessia Ip, a spokesperson for CouriersPlease. “While retailers are increasingly having a strong focus on eCommerce, many are now not only investing in the online channel, but they are also strengthening the omnichannel experience shoppers get both in-store and online to provide a single unified feel for the brand. They’re aiming to provide consistency across all areas – from the shopping experience to delivery to returns – and by doing so, retailers are likely to leave a positive impression on shoppers, regardless of the way they choose to purchase.”

The Focus on Retail Sales

“The key strategy for succeeding in this market segment is endurance, combined with operational excellence. The only way to survive the cyclical market conditions and increased competition is to run a lean, focused concern,” said Mr Gorecki.

“A well-structured business will still break-even during difficult times and will then flourish once conditions improve. A bloated business will run at loss during the next downturn and this may not be sustainable. Sure, e-commerce has an important place in this scene, but only as one part of a savvy all-channel strategy.”

According to the study, CouriersPlease found that more WA shoppers visited retailers in the previous week (42 per cent) than those in any other State. In NSW, for instance, just 28 per cent of residents and 30 per cent of Victorians walked into a store in the previous week.

Below is a table showing the proportion of Aussies who last stepped into a department, specialist or a fashion store by State:

The last time Aussies went in-store Total NSW VIC QLD SA WA ACT
In the last week 31% 28% 30% 31% 33% 42% 31%
In the last fortnight 23% 23% 27% 20% 19% 22% 19%
In the last month 23% 27% 22% 21% 20% 19% 25%
In the last 3 months 12% 11% 10% 14% 19% 9% 6%
In the last 6 months 6% 5% 5% 7% 7% 5% 6%
In the last 12 months 2% 2% 3% 4% 0% 3% 6%
More than 12 months ago 3% 4% 4% 3% 1% 0% 6%

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