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How to Get Shoppers Into Your Store: Feed Them!

Image of Tommy Bahama retail store with restaurant

Are you losing business at your brick-and-mortar locations to online retailers selling items at competitive prices? I know as a consumer, I am guilty of looking at items in stores and then going home and purchasing the exact same item online. On occasion, I purchase the item through the same company in which I looked at the item in their store; however, more often than not, I am able to find the exact same item cheaper through competing company. With more and more consumers choosing to purchase online, how as a retailer are you supposed to compete and keep the doors to your brick-and-mortar stores open?

Many retailers are following the example of luxury retailers, such as Tommy Bahama, Ralph Lauren, and Armani and opening restaurants and cafés at their brick-and-mortar locations. This is not exactly a new trend, and many American department stores had operational restaurants and tearooms in the early 1900’s. However, with online retailing becoming the norm, brick-and-mortar retailers are looking for ways to attract merchants into their stores. Retailers alike are seeing the clear advantages of opening restaurants in their brick-and-mortar locations, and you may consider how you can implement a similar customer experience in your store locations.

Advantages as Told by Luxury Retailers

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, adding gourmet food and drinks to Tommy Bahama’s retail stores was not just a marketing gimmick. Tommy Bahama’s 13 combination restaurant-stores sales are two and a half times higher per square foot when compared to the regular, retail-only stores, showing that adding an eatery is a smart business investment. This not only adds increased revenue to a brick-and-mortar location, it offers a retailing customer experience that can’t be matched by online retailers. If you still aren’t convinced its worth looking into, take Terrain stores for example. Terrain’s president, Wendy McDevitt, indicated that customers only spend an average of 90 minutes browsing their stores; however, if they choose to visit their café, the time spent in the store can double to three hours. If that’s not added value, I don’t know what is!

Implementing a Combined Restaurant-Retail Customer Experience in Your Store

You may be wondering how this applies to you if you are not a luxury retailer. I understand that not every retailer can get away with charging $12 for a cocktail or $18 for a grilled steak salad (that’s what you would be paying if you ate at Tommy Bahama’s restaurant). However, you can still offer food and drinks (or at least drinks). It’s important that you adjust the prices of your food and drink offerings to be in line with the average prices of the merchandise in your stores. For instance, Wal-Mart and Target often have fast food offerings, which are better matched for the prices of the goods sold in their stores.

The Risks

Obviously, this type of retailing model does not come without its risks. Not only do you have to worry about a customer being satisfied with your traditional products, such as the pair of jeans they purchased; you also have to worry about them enjoying the beverage or meal they just had.

Let’s play out a possible scenario: A customer comes to your store and purchases a new outfit, and let’s assume they are more than satisfied with your clothing. After the customer purchases the item, they decided to go have a glass of white wine and a grilled chicken salad at your new restaurant. Oh no! The chicken was undercooked and the customer got sick! Now the customer is not willing to come back to your store to purchase any more clothing or eat at your restaurant because of their food-borne illness.

As you can see, this opens up new risks for your retail business, but if executed properly like Tommy Bahama and Terrain, you, too can increase your revenue and average time spent shopping in the store.

Talk to the Retail Advisors

Here at ArcherPoint, we know the challenges this type of retailing model can bring. We also know that to properly execute this model, you will need an end-to-end retail management solution that can handle both point-of-sale and hospitality functionality. Call us today to request a FREE demo of our end-to-end retail solutions and to see how we can help you become the next Tommy Bahama!