Viewpoint – Forget sales per square foot, the future is about dwell time

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Brought to you by Retail Insider and K3 Retail

Retail Insider and K3 Retail bring you a monthly column taking a look at some of the most pertinent and interesting topics of the day in the big wide world of retail.

Retail was oh so simple in the days when stores were all about driving sales per square foot. Today it is increasingly shifting to towards being about dwell time. Could this be the new metric that determines the success of physical space – and who cares which of that retailer’s channel the shopper ultimately buys through?

Using physical space differently is why the big supermarkets have done a U-turn with their largest stores. They now want shoppers to spend oodles of time in these places so are installing restaurants, gyms, and whatever else might hold the attention of their customers.

Likewise, Waitrose is pursuing a strategy of increasing dwell time at its new store in Salisbury through the introduction of changing rooms for trying on click & collect clothing orders and with a cookery school for evening and half-day classes.

Convincing people to come into stores for such sessions has become a big deal and the likes of BookingBug – that helps retailers schedule their in-store appointments with customers – are doing very good business. It neatly ties together physical and digital.


Its platform is being heavily used by American Golf to book customers in for lessons and club fittings. At Pets At Home it is used for managing pet nutrition sessions where customers are given valuable insight that the retailer hopes will then prompt purchases and also encourage loyalty. Marks & Spencer also recognises the benefit of providing a booking service for value-added services such as its bra-fitting.

These are just a few examples of how retailers are seeking to deliver extra services over and above straightforward selling. By looking to add these services merchants are setting themselves firmly on the path to re-engineering their engagement with customers and at the same time accruing valuable data on their shopping habits and patterns.

And increasing that all important new metric – dwell time.

Glynn Davis, editor, Retail Insider

K3 Retail deliver multi-channel solutions that enable retailers to create joined up shopping experiences for their customers whether they choose to buy on-line, direct, in-store or via mobile. It has over 20 years’ experience delivering award winning solutions, to more than 175 internationally recognised retail brands.