This panel session examines what makes a difference to business, from window to till

PCR Boot Camp: How to maximise sales in-store

The second panel session during the conference at PCR Boot Camp today focused on maximising sales in-store.

Is your window display enough to entice customers? Can layout make a difference? Do loyalty schemes really bring people back? The panel covered it all.

Chaired by Dave Stevinson, GNR, the panel comprised: Jat Mann, PC PAL; Angela English, Westcoast; Craig Phillipson from Shopworks; Stephen Mader, Kantar Retail.

Stevinson opened by asking what we can do to get people into stores.

Jat Mann pointed out that we live in a society where people shop on price, and consumers will always look online, but said “the hassle factor is something shops can win on”. He also noted that building up a reputation is important.

Craig Phillipson commented that it’s tricky out there, but brands can build exciting shops now, naming flagship stores in Oxford Street, London that have worked hard to stand out from the crowd. He also said: “The key to shopping now is to ask how we can differentiate ourselves from multichannel/online and you can’t do it on price alone. You can look at the human contact point and the service you provide – how many online can do that?”

Looking at how shoppers are converted to buyers, Stephen Mader said: We need to take a step back and look at shoppers’ motivation for coming to the store, look at the path of purchase, and realise that they might be in the store to buy or research. You need options in store to make them happy, and knowledge that customers need, without telling them things they already know.”

Angela English from Westcoast stated that it’s important to have staff people can relate to – “People want to buy from people. They like to touch and feel. The big retailers have iPad stands. Indies can do this too. The shop window is important too – you can draw customers in with effective displays.”

Examining store layout, Phillipson noted: “When we look at shops, we start a few hundred metres from the store – demonstrate who you are and what you do early on. Get people through the door, make them ‘fall over’ something, so they turn and can see what you want them to buy. You want people close to your service/product or message – if you can manage that, you have a chance to sell to them.”

He also made the too easily missed point that if you want to track where shoppers go, just look at your carpets. 

English mentioned that distributor Westcoast is keen to work closely with multiples and indies to improve POS and layout in stores – in fact it has just created a tablet stand for this purpose.

As for loyalty cards, Mader said they can work if they’re done right – and if you do get data you can link in digital marketing, offer benefits like pre-orders, and delight a lot of customers. 

Finally, when asked for their final points, the panel replied:

Mann: “Think of John Lewis, they balance price with good layout, and have been consistent over a long period.”

English: “Remember that effective merchandising will drive sales.”

Mader: “You store is just one touch-point. Customers might go to stores to do planning as well as purchase. Retailers like John Lewis offer a number of touch-points, from stores to online to click and collect, all sorts. Look at the whole system.”

Phillipson concluded with: “To make your shop a better place ask 20 customers what they think, walk through their experience. Then do something about it.” 

The panel spoke today at PCR Boot Camp, a one-day conference and expo for technology retailers and resellers at The Brewery, London. Follow the action live at

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