Yes, we said it. Stick with us for a few minutes and we’ll show you why this isn’t one of the craziest things you’ve ever heard. Over the course of the past couple of years, we’ve seen traditional “walk-in traffic” decrease by about 10% per year. However, we’ve also seen digital traffic increase 20%-30%+. So why would walk-in traffic be down and digital traffic be up? It’s simple: consumer behavior.
Today, everyone shops for something (or most things) online, and because of that, their “onsite” behaviors have changed. Think about it — in the world of free Amazon Prime 1-2 day shipping, we’re primed (pun intended) to not go into the stores unless there’s something that we need immediately.
In fact, if you have Amazon’s “Prime NOW” option available in your area, you can have your items delivered within a 2-hour window. So the need to physically go somewhere to see something has dwindled. Your Honor, we present evidence “A” for consumer behavior shift.
How we pay for things
Do you remember when mobile device e-payment methods came around? You know, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, etc.? Back in 2014, being able to pay for things from our phones for the first time was truly exciting. If you are anything like us, getting to use it when it was available was a nice surprise.
Flash forward to 2020 — it’s commonplace to see these payment methods everywhere, so when we go to a store or website and find one is not available, it’s much more of a letdown and disappointment than the “nice surprise” from 2014. Have you ever started to purchase something online to get to the checkout and realize your wallet was on the other side of the house, and because they didn’t accept Paypal/ApplePay/GooglePay, etc. you abandoned the purchase? We have. This is a shift in consumer behavior because now we typically favor stores and websites that accept our preferred payment sources instead of it just being a “nice surprise”! (Plus it’s just more secure) The consumer behavior/expectations now affect which stores or websites you shop with.
Consumer housing behavior
So, what do digital forms of credit card payments have to do with a builder’s walk-in traffic being down… and why would that be a good thing? Because the consumer’s expectations of what they have to show up for to shop have drastically changed. They still shop via exclusion, except they don’t expect to have to do the majority of that in person… so they don’t. Consumers expect to have all the content they need on your website, and then come on in only when they have decided you’re on the shortlist.
How this benefits you
Because buyers’ everyday interactions have changed their habits and expectations, they don’t feel the need to get in the car and drive around all weekend looking for yard signs (hence why walk-in traffic is lower)! This is ultimately a great thing for you and for your sales team — because of the internet, people come in more predisposed to buy, and today, the traffic that you’re seeing is even more primed to purchase.
They have chosen to spend their precious time to come and see what you have to offer. When the sales team has less “tire kickers” to sift through, they can focus on the more “serious buyers” (hint, hint, all of them).
So, consumer behaviors have changed… which is causing less volume to walk through your physical doors and more qualified customers for the sales team to talk to. Walk-in traffic is down and you should be happy.