5 solutions for low conversion rates in retail

Take a look at these five ways to drive up retail sales and increase your low conversion rate.

Written by

Robert Woo, Writer @ Endear


How healthy is your conversion rate? We’re not referring to your online conversion rate, but the rate of sales-to-visitors in your brick & mortar stores. Ecommerce conversion rates are considered good ranging from 3-5%; but the bar of success is much higher for actual foot traffic.

According to the VP of sales operations at Experian Footfall, the average conversion rate is between 20-40%. So where does your in-store conversion rate fall? If you don’t know, the first order of business is to invest into hardware that measures your foot traffic. Ceiling or doorway mounted sensors will tell you how many customers are coming in throughout the day.

Once you have this data and have calculated your conversion rate (foot traffic / sales), there are two possibilities: 1) your conversion rate is high, which means your main focus should be on increasing footfall at your stores; or 2) your conversion rate is low and you should consider implementing these five solutions below.

1. Start clienteling with a mobile CRM

According to a study by iVendRetail, 67% of shoppers left stores without purchasing anything because they couldn’t find the product they needed. This is far and away the most frustrating “obstacle” that retail stores face, because it’s just so darn solvable.

Better layout and better product placement can help alleviate this roadblock to conversions, but the main solution always comes down to your sales associates. In the same survey, over half of all respondents said they want sales associates equipped with the best technology, actively seeking out ones that carry tablets.

Today’s shoppers want the clienteling experience, not just customer service, to help them find the products they may have browsed at home, and the personal touch of sales associates that can guide them to the products in-store.

Take our clienteling quiz and put your skills to the test.

Arming your staff with mobile devices with a robust CRM solution is the single best way to alleviate the largest reason why your shoppers aren’t converting in-store. A sales associate can quickly pull up a shopper’s in-store and online history, and not only guide them to the products they want, but recommend others in that style as well.

Which leads us to…

2. Apply targeted bundling and upselling

Product bundles not only have a higher Average Order Value (AOV), but lead to higher conversion rates as well. Shoppers love a good deal, and a bundle of their favorite items can entice them to make a purchase when they otherwise may not. “It’s just too good to pass up!”

Now, couple that psychology with a curated bundle for that specific customer, using their own shopping and web-browsing history. By being able to offer an incredibly personal bundle, either from a sales associate approaching them or at Point of Sale, your shoppers will always have a great deal to leave the store with.

This process may take some training on the retail CRM, as well as trust in your sales associates to create personalized bundles on-the-fly, but this method of upselling is a powerful way to drive conversions.

A simpler route might be to mine your most popular items purchased online and in-store, bundle these together, and place them in a prominent location. Not only will the bundles entice sales in general, but you can upsell as well by allowing a customer to choose from a selection of new items to add into the bundle for a discounted price.

3. Stock up on the products that drive clicks

It’s one thing if your customers don’t convert because they can’t find a product; it’s a whole other problem if your customers don’t convert because the product isn’t there at all.

Stocking enough of a product can often be a guessing game, and overstocking can be an expensive lesson in supply & demand. Luckily, retailers today have more insight into what their customers may be looking to purchase even before the shopping happens.

For example, Endear clients employ our popular Lookbooks to message customers a visual catalog of current and upcoming products via text or email.

Not only do Lookbooks make for great marketing, they also provide amazing insight into which products are actually getting the clicks and impressions that predict in-store sales. By using metrics like this to gauge interest in specific products, your retail business can stock up on the right items to help increase conversions when your customers come in, looking for what they’ve already browsed.

Which is just a small part of…

4. Marry at-home and in-store conversions with omnichannel retail

We started this article by mentioning the typically low conversion rates associated with online shopping. But what if you could boost both your online and in-store retail conversion rates? That’s exactly where omnichannel retail comes in, which is where the entire industry is headed in 2022.

Omnichannel retail refers to the seamless marriage of what your customers do online and in-store, and everything in between. Retailers who go to great lengths to take care of their shoppers throughout their entire retail journey see higher engagement and conversion rates, as well as loyalty and repeat business.

One aspect of omnichannel retail that directly impacts your in-store conversion rate is “click and collect,” or “Buy Online and Pickup In-Store (BOPIS).” By offering customers the service of starting their shopping journey from their home, then fulfilling the order in-store, a whopping 98% of retailers are seeing additional in-store purchases.

Similarly, the “opposite” service of BOPIS can help your overall conversion rate as well: offering customers the option of buying in-store and having it shipped home. This removes the hurdle of hauling their purchases with them for the rest of their day, and makes it easier for clients to buy on a whim.

5. Cut down on wait times

52% of retail shoppers will simply leave if a line looks long. How long? Sometimes as low as 3 minutes! Look, we live in a world of instant gratification; we can’t expect shoppers to hang around much longer than a few Tik Toks.

Cutting down on your check-out wait time, and especially the appearance of a line, will have a big impact on your retail conversion rate. But there may be other wait-times that you might not immediately consider. How long is the wait to flag down a sales associate? How long is the wait for a dressing room, or a mirror to test out makeup? How long is the wait to return an item?

By systematically addressing any long waits by changing layout or adding staff can help your retail location convert more of your rather impatient clients. A modern solution that today’s stores are implementing are sales associates with a mobile POS system, to check out shoppers in any part of the store.

Alternatively, set up a mobile system where your customer can pay for an item right from their phone. Eliminating waits can be facilitated by today’s POS and retail CRM technology, lowering the barrier to entry, literally, for busy customers who don’t want to set foot in a store with long lines.