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Why Ireland is a land of opportunity for in-store retail

Tuesday 4 December 2018 Catchment AnalysisRetail ConsultancyShopping Behaviour

Alex McCulloch's picture
By Alex McCulloch

The consumer has spoken – are you listening?

Let’s talk about the B word. No, not that one.

I mean Bricks.

Bricks are big business in Ireland, in retail terms. Our consumer data shows that shopping in physical stores in Ireland is more popular than in the UK.

Despite reducing footfall on the high street, and consumer spend moving online the Irish retail market is performing well. How can this be?
 

Less really is more in terms of visit frequency

Our exit polls for shopping centre operators show that the value of consumer spending per shopping trip has increased, while the frequency of their visits is reduced. The stores may feel less busy, but the customers are spending more when they do go. They’re visiting with purpose.

The stores may feel less busy, but customers are spending more

This new approach to shopping means that shoppers are increasingly in ‘hunter gatherer’ mode. That’s to say, they use the web for hunting specific items and ‘need’ based trips and visit the physical store in an exploratory, ‘heads up’ social gather mindset.

Our research leads us to believe that this hunter / gatherer trend in Ireland will increase, as more and more people use the web to carry out regular shopping and stores become increasingly about discovery, trying and social engagement.
 

Digital and store experience cross over for consumers

In the UK, well-established high street retailers command a large share of online spending – brands like Next, John Lewis and Argos. A high proportion of Irish online spending goes outside the country at present. But this could change if Irish retailers seize the opportunity to meet consumer preferences.

A high proportion of Irish online spending goes outside the country at present

For many shoppers, online and store-based retail are complementary. Shopper data suggests that the high street is far from dead, contrary to gloomy industry reports. Stores need a strong online as well as physical presence and the two need to work seamlessly – and because of increasing internet and mobile web adoption among all ages and demographics, these digital-physical crossover behaviours are growing.

A quick survey of Irelands Grafton St shows a mixed bag with some brands like Reiss delivering seamless on/offline engagement but others, such as White Company who you would expect to have a comparably seamless experience not even offering click & collect in Ireland.

Ireland has a healthy retail market place with lots of growth potential. But there’s no room for complacency. Digitally engaged hunter gatherer shoppers value time more highly than anything else. The digital world gives the illusion of instant satisfaction. And that expectation now extends to a real-world shopping trip.

Digitally engaged hunter gatherer shoppers value time more highly than anything else

Frictionless engagement: the simple things matter

Today, successful physical retail environments need to deliver ‘frictionless engagement’. That means shopping centres that are open at convenient times, well stocked, easy to access and pleasant to walk around. It also means stores whose physical outlets offer the same branding, ambience and service as their digital counterparts.

Don’t overlook the importance of comfortable amenities like restrooms and coffee stops. We frequently ask customers to rate the public amenities in shopping centres. Those who rate them most highly spend 16% more than shoppers who rated them 3 or less out of 5. After focus group feedback on one shopping outlet, the owners invested in improving changing facilities and a family room – the result was a 13% increase in footfall.

And if you want any more proof that a happy shopper is a valuable shopper -someone who rates a centre 5/5 spends 72% more than someone who rates it 1-3.

someone who rates a centre 5/5 spends 72% more than someone who rates it 1-3

Where to next?

The consumer and retail landscape is undoubtedly going through immense structural upheaval, and the political and economic backdrop is making it all the more challenging. Nonetheless, Ireland is uniquely placed to take advantage of this opportunity if centres connect to the customer, facilitating engagement throughout the whole path to purchase.

At CACI we’ve spent decades behind the scenes in the property sector helping leading centres and developers tailor their offering to the needs of each local population. Using our new insight from mobile data we can tell where people came from to your centre, what they did when they were there, and where they went next.

If you would like to find out how this insight can be used to help engage your centre’s customers, speak to one of our experts.

 

Retail Landscape

Bricks are big business in Ireland, in retail terms. Our consumer data shows that shopping in physical stores in Ireland is more popular than in the UK.

Why Ireland is a land of opportunity for in-store retail