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Why are customers visiting your shops without buying anything?

5th September 2017

New figures from ForeSee research suggest that around 50% of visitors to retail shops never have any intention of making a purchase. They visit just to look at the products and then order online.

This non-purchasing behaviour is a problem faced by all retailers at present. Retail chains invest in their properties, and online rivals can offer better deals specifically because they are selling online with just a single warehouse as infrastructure.

If retailers could even reduce the number of customers that visit, but don’t buy, by just a few percentage points, then it would give a significant boost to revenues. But how can it be achieved when online shopping habits are so deeply ingrained today?

The first question that needs to be answered is how well do you understand the intentions of your existing shoppers? There is a difference between shoppers who visit a store and have no intention to buy because they are just visiting on a ‘showrooming’ mission, and those who visit intending to buy and leave empty-handed. Perhaps they could not find the item they wanted, or it was out of stock, or they could not find any advice from an associate, or the line to pay was too long.

Customers who visit and do not buy are not always showrooming. Sometimes it’s the experience of visiting your store that forces them to walk out without making a purchase. But it’s not easy to find out what customers really think when they do this. Until you have some real data on what is wrong, it is hard to take steps to improve the situation.

Research into customer behaviour is essential to get this right. You need to speak to people who visited stores, whether they made a purchase or not, to find out about their experience. Did they make a purchase? If they did, how easy was it? If they didn’t, were there circumstances that led to them leaving without buying? Only once you have these detailed insights, you can determine if the visitors that come, but never buy, are really showrooming or – for example – just walking out because your checkout lines are so badly organised.

What do you think is causing customers to walk out without buying? Is there a potential reason I’ve missed? Leave a comment below and let me know, or get in touch on LinkedIn.

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Helen Murray
Article by: Helen Murray

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