3 Unique Ways DSW, Walmart & American Eagle are Driving Traffic Into Their Stores

Family Shopping

By Tricia McKinnon

It is not a surprise to anyone that retailers are struggling with foot traffic. To confirm what we already know data analytics firm Thasos tracked mall foot traffic using data from more than 100 million mobile phones. It found that after an increase in mall traffic between October 2017 and August 2018 mall traffic is now on the decline again. So what are retailers doing about this? There is no shortage of ideas as to what will make customers leave the comfort of their homes and make a trip to a nearby store or shopping centre.  DSW, American Eagle and Walmart are among many retailers that are thinking creatively about how to respond not only to changing consumer shopping habits but also about changing lifestyles. Take a look at the ways these retailers are trying to get you back into their stores.

1. DSW began testing locating nail salons in two of its stores located in Ohio back in 2017. One of the goals of offering this service in-store was to attract a millennial shopper. Approximately 25% of DSW’s client base are millennials while 50% of the customers that use the retailer’s nail salons are millennials.  Based on successful results of the test DSW is planning to roll out nail salons in 5 of its shoe stores located in Austin, Washington, D.C. and Dublin, Ohio, this year.  The hope is to eventually have nail salons in more than 250 DSW shoe stores.  Customers using the nail salons located in DSW stores can get a manicure or a pedicure and certain locations will also provide waxing services and a place where customers can have a glass of wine as well as other beverages. At one of the DSW stores where a nail salon is located, total store revenue is $10 million while salon services represent 6% - 7% of total revenue.  DSW hopes that salon services will eventually contribute to 15% of total revenue.

Speaking about the initiative, DSW Chief Executive Officer Roger Rawlins said: “you’ve got to develop differentiated experiences to ultimately retain and attract customers.” Rawlins is focusing on experiences that “cannot be duplicated in just a digital environment.”  He has also said that opening nail salons is “part of a much larger strategy of differentiating the experiences and the product for the DSW brand that separates us from the rest of the pack.” “Everyone else is out there competing on price; we want to compete on experiences.”

2. In order to attract more students to its stores and get them to stay for longer American Eagle added washing machines in one of its stores.  The store is called AE Studio and it opened in 2017.  It has a number of washer and dryers in the store as well as a study area where customers can hangout while they wait for their laundry to be ready for free.  AE Studio is located in New York City right beside NYU’s dorm.  While in the store customers can sit in a lounge with views of Union Square or wait while getting a new pair of jeans personalized. Speaking about AE Studio, Chad Kessler, American Eagle's Global Brand President said: "AE Studio is a perfect example of our evolution, where we invite customers to enjoy a unique brand experience, feel at home, and curate their distinct individual style." 

3. Walmart is officially in the pet business.  The retailer already has 21 veterinary clinics in six states but the retailer plans to grow that number to 100 within the next 12 months.  Walmart is trying to capitalize on the growing pet industry which had record sales of $73 billion in 2018 up from $60 billion four years ago.  Some of the services it will offer within its in-store clinics include: vaccinations, exams, and treatments for minor illnesses at affordable prices, sometimes with discounts of as much as 60% off.  Walmart is supplemented its offline offering with the launch of an online pet pharmacy, WalmartPetRx.com in May of this year. Its online offering will provide customers with cheap pet medications. Speaking about the initiative Kieran Shanahan, Senior Vice President of Retail for Walmart US eCommerce said:  "Millennial dog owners...spend up to $1,285 a year on their furry friends, with the majority of spend going towards vet care and vaccinations, food and supplies." "We're about to bring that cost down."


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