Every day brings new trends in the world of retail. Window shopping is one example of a trend gaining traction with consumers for a while now. Let’s understand the details about it.
What is Window Shopping?
Window shopping is the name given to the activity of strolling through shopping malls or retail outlets, browsing through the items on display without the intent to buy anything.
The act of window shopping is liberating to several people for a wide variety of reasons. We shall look at some of them below.
What Are The Advantages of Window Shopping for Consumers?
Some people can spend hours in stores looking at shoes, clothes, gadgets, books; you name it. Window shopping is a great way to spend time in a relaxed environment outside your home, and it gives you an excuse to get up, get dressed, and spend a few hours socializing.
Window shopping also acts as retail therapy, as simply walking in a shopping mall can act as a mood boost.
Staying abreast of the latest trends.
While it is not possible to buy every article being sold, window shopping keeps a person informed about the latest trends, styles, and tastes in the market. It enhances and widens one’s horizon about the products in the market, and one also gets to know about the latest offers and deals.
Explore new cafes and restaurants.
While our focus might be on the latest items to hit the shelves, what’s in and what’s not. Window shopping also provides us with an opportunity to discover new cafes, restaurants, or bistros that can become potential hang-out spots.
Exciting new photos for social media
Interesting decorations, especially during the festive season, the latest designs, or a fascinating exhibit at the mall, all of this is a wonderful opportunity to crank up those likes on social media.
No need to spend money
This is the most obvious advantage of window shopping. One can relax and observe all that different brands have to offer without the pressure of buying anything. There is no rush of time or worry about the budget.
What Are The Disadvantages of Window Shopping for Consumers?
Every coin has two sides to it, and the same is the case with window shopping. The two major disadvantages of this phenomenon are:
It could lead to impulsive buying.
Some retailers are really persuasive, which often results in people buying things they do not really need. This also occurs due to the addictive nature of window shopping.
Inflation defeats the purpose.
Prices of goods usually go only in one direction, and that is up. While you come across an item that may be reasonably priced today, it may so happen that its price could have gone up a few notches in the coming months, and this could make the item unaffordable or not worth the price.
Importance of Displays in Window Shopping
The ever-increasing cut-throat competition in the world of retail means that displays play a crucial role in customer footfall in stores. They offer the customers a glimpse of the products that a store has. This makes it essential that a retailer puts his best foot forward when it comes to displays.
Key functions of a quality window display.
Brand Awareness: A good display uses various methods to ensure that its brand is registered in the minds of window shopping people. This includes the prominent use of brand logos and colors or other elements consistent with the brand.
Attracting Customers: The display is the first point of contact for many people. Moreover, if you are using your display to bring in more footfall, the item should be unique, popular, or sold at a discount.
Tips for a Good Window Display.
De-cluttered display: While it is tempting to put up many of your wares on display, it is not recommended. Moreover, displays have to entice and not confuse the customer.
Use a theme: Select a theme that is seasonal, trending, and can appeal to the emotions of a passerby. Choose a theme that brings out the X-factor of your brand and is aligned with your business’s priorities.
Stay away from cliches: It is imperative to stand out from the crowd when it comes to deciding your window display. Make sure to avoid boring, bland, or repetitive window displays.
Indulge in storytelling: People love stories; therefore, it is up to you to take advantage of this fact. Craft a story that enhances the experience you want people to associate with your brand.
Lighting and position: All the items have to be positioned preferably at the customers’ eye level for the desired effect and grab their attention instantly. Lighting also helps in this regard. Retailers can choose from different lighting styles such as individual spotlights, ambient lighting, or full-length illumination.
The Phenomenon of Digital Window Shopping
Similar to every other activity in our everyday life, window shopping has also taken an online avatar. This was evident as retailers noticed that people were too busy looking at screens to notice their fascinating window displays.
Today shoppers are discovering a greater variety of products online. Further, they prefer looking for things to buy online for several reasons such as convenience, more choices, and the availability of reviews.
Online window shopping has increasingly become an activity that provides relief to many people. They see it as an escape from their dull and dreary jobs. On several occasions, just the act of adding something to the cart helps them feel better.
The best of both worlds
Brands such as Zara and Selfridges have already leaped when it comes to providing the ultimate window shopping experience by converting shop windows into large screens along with the use of QR codes and Augmented Reality(AR). Tesco, the UK-based supermarket chain, has also used this technique in South Korea to simplify the customers’ grocery buying experience.
Gucci, another name synonymous with fashion, makes use of mannequins interacting with digital illustrations. Additionally, they provide shoppers with VR headsets to give them a completely immersive experience.
How to Convert Window Shoppers to Buyers?
We have now seen who are window shoppers, the reasons why people love to window shop. Now it’s time to focus on converting these prospects into customers. We have already achieved the first target; get them inside the store, and now the task is to get them to make a purchase.
Understand store layout and position your staff accordingly
First things first, understand which sections of your store draw the biggest crowd of window shoppers. Placing helpful store staff in such sections will definitely help in an uptick in sales.
Focus on what makes you different
Make it clear to your shoppers why they should choose you over the competition. These could include aspects such as price, variety of products, quality, location, after-sales service.
Nudge them by encouraging small actions
Actions such as giving free food samples, getting people to try on different outfits, handing them your business card are meaningful interactions that can convert to sales at a later point in time.
Be their guide
Once you get a sense of what the customer is browsing through, try to provide them with suggestions. If they are looking at laptops, for instance, ask them questions like-
- What do they intend to use it for, personal or professional?
- Do they intend to use it while traveling?
- Are they going to use the laptop for intensive purposes such as gaming or graphic design?
Based on their answers, try to suggest the most suitable product for them. If not immediately, they are bound to be impressed by your knowledge and come back later to make a purchase.
Is there something that is frustrating potential buyers? Identify those pain points and fix them right away. These issues could be from long queues at the checkout, products being out of stock, lack of knowledgeable salespersons.
Create a memorable experience
Give the shopper the attention he deserves. The person in question could be a regular customer or a window shopper who has walked in for the first time. Each customer wants to feel welcomed and special. Greet your customers with a smile, be courteous and create a hassle-free experience. This will go a long way in building customer loyalty.
Digital Window Shopping – Converting Prospects to Customers
One should not ignore the ever-growing tribe of digital window shoppers and look to convert them as well. Here is how to go about it.
Create an intuitive experience
Your website needs to come with a UI that even a toddler can understand, and it has to be that simple to navigate. Further, it needs to be optimized for all devices such as mobiles, tablets, and laptops.
Provide them live chat support
Instant chat support is a must-have feature on your website so that people can easily resolve any queries that they may have.
Customer reviews are important.
A customer review of your product, service, or website is one of the most critical pieces of information on your website. Going the extra mile in ensuring the credibility of your reviews reassures the audience.
Providing different payment options such as credit cards, Stripe, PayPal, cash on delivery will definitely delight your customers as it offers them more flexibility. Seamless and secure payments will improve shopper experience and increase their inclination to buy.
Window shoppers are an integral part of the retail ecosystem- online or brick and mortar. Choosing to ignore them could prove disastrous for your business. Whereas the right amount of effort from your side could see those sales soar.
Ranu Kumari is a Professional Writer and a Marketing enthusiast who currently runs her own Marketing Consultancy, LatitudeBOX. She has written promotional articles for multiple brands and has published her work in Scopus indexed journals. She is passionate about expressing her thoughts and ideas to connect with her readers in a voice that they understand.