The Only Way To Increase Foot Traffic: Department Stores For Digital Customers

By Aamina Suleman , Mar 9 2017

Terry Lundgren, Chief Executive of Macy’s, acknowledges that the shopping behavior of customers is changing and the store has to evolve strategies and quickly execute to survive the challenging retail environment. This goes for other department stores in America like Kohl’s and Sears, or those in other countries such as Australia.

Due to economic, social and political turbulences some businesses are suffering from bruises (loss of sales) and even death (closure of stores), they can only recover from if they target the new type of customers in this digital age.

Department Stores Industry

Whenever I visited my brother in America, I went to Marshalls and Macy’s for everything. It’s a shame to see department stores are failing to cope up with the changing customer behavior. They’re trapped in a spiral of takeovers, shares slump, loss in foot traffic, target market collapse, stagnant inventory, and cessation of stores. It’s almost like a witch cursed them – no way out except one!

Department stores shelf an array of products from a variety of retailers belonging to different industries. Unlike Ali Baba and Amazon, department stores rely mostly on in-store purchase and if they have to they wish to subsist in the coming years they need a strategy in favor of digital savvy customers.

According to IBIS World, department stores all over the world will face competition and revenue pressures from e-commerce businesses up until 2021 until they change their business model.

The Digital Age Shopping

If you’ve got aspiration like Jack Ma to run a billion dollar business, you need to understand the epoch in which your store exists – the digital age that’s decked up with technology and internet of things. A time in which you’re compelled to be innovative at all levels with all modes of communication in order to provide a seamless omni-channel experience to customers.

The digitization of communication will continue because as far as I’ve observed, people are not limited when it comes to interaction. Thus creative brands are using opportunities like hyper-realism, social selling and conversational commerce to lure digital customers who like personalization and enjoy visual marketing and storytelling.

Explore: Sales Growth Strategies for Retailers in 2017

Who Are Digital Savvy Customers?

It’s important to revisit your customers every now and then to revise your branding and marketing strategies. You don’t simply do market research when you start off. Your target market tends to evolve and you need to stay informed about the significant changes that occur in their lifestyle, preferences, and decision-making process.

Ideas To Entice A Digital Customer

All department stores are not suffering – they truly recognize the approach they need to take to address a digitally smart world. Some stores consider 2017 retail trends such as these mentioned by Richard Shapiro, and develop a strategy befitting their goals.


Target managed to book its place in the Internet Retailer 2016 500 Guide because of its wise use of online marketing and management tools to provide on-the-go inventory showcase on devices for customers, and collect data from its website and app to enhance experience. Target spent $10.3 million in 2016 on paid search which drives 13.5% of its website’s traffic and sales.

Neiman Marcus

The luxury department store started its own innovation lab to boost in-store customer experience. Scott Emmons, head of iLab aims to provide convenience to shoppers with digital imaging fashion mirrors and Snap, Find, Shop feature in an app (customers can use their phone cameras to search information about a product). Marcus is also looking into voice assistants like Alexa and augmented reality.

How do you aim to charm your digital customer?

A marketing design enthusiast, super passionate about the evolving scope of visual communication. With 3+ years of experience in content marketing, Aamina is driven by insights, inspirations, trends and creativity. She loves to travel, eat khowsuey, sip coffee, and watch mysteries.


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