by Nicole Pineda
With recent reopenings, people are increasingly returning to work and the means by which they commute are changing. Since the coronavirus outbreak, people are looking to avoid crowded forms of transportation such as subways, buses or ride-hailing services. In a 2020 survey by Statista Research Department, 57% of respondents reported being much less likely to take a subway or public train if COVID-19 were to spread in their communities and 54% of respondents were much less likely to use ride-hailing services like Uber, Lyft or a taxi. 1
New traffic, new angles
Instead, commuters are beginning to use active transportation or micro-mobility: e-scooters and e-bicycles.2 These sharing services are becoming more widely available – New York City Council legalized the use of e-scooters and e-bikes and instructed the Department of Transportation to develop a shared e-scooter pilot program.3
This shift in commuting means more people will travel above ground and at slower speeds. Especially in larger cities, this will undoubtedly result in new pass-by traffic for retail stores. It is essential for retail storefronts to be as welcoming and attractive as possible to this new potential revenue stream.
Storefront capture power
It is essential for retail store owners and managers to understand the impact a storefront can have on in-store traffic. In one example from an Envirosell study for an electronics retailer in NYC, 31% of respondents learned of the store’s existence while passing by. Envirosell has a long history of improving storefront capture power for many types of retailers. Here are some considerations for making sure your storefront is best suited to capture this new potential audience.
- Work to maximize sightlines into storefront and through the entrance. This can be as easy as keeping your doors open, providing one less barrier between your customers and your products. Make sure new signage doesn’t clutter windows. The more easily visible, the better for micro-mobility traffic – they may notice today, and stop in tomorrow.
- Parking! Make sure to provide a space where customers can safely leave their e-bike or e-scooter while inside your store.
- Make sure your signage reaches the street. Remember to keep angles in mind – where is the foot and micro-mobility traffic coming from? Make full use of perpendicular signage with large text so signs can be read earlier, before they are already passing by.
- The store should be well-lit. Bright storefronts stand out during all hours of the day and notify passing customers that your store is open for business.
- Display signs showing compliance with CDC health and safety guidelines. In a recent shopper-sentiment study by Envirosell, 46% of consumers said they were concerned for their safety while shopping in stores during the pandemic. It may also help to have hand sanitizer visible at the entrance.
- “If coronavirus were to spread to your community, would you be more or less likely to take the subway or public train?” Statista. www.statista.com/statistics/1105100/covid-19-impact-subway-public-train-usage-us/#statisticContainer. Accessed 13 July 2020.
- Thigpen, Calvin. “Rethinking Travel in the era of COVID-19: Survey findings and implications for urban transportation.” Lime, June 2020. Pp 29. www.li.me/second-street/rethinking-travel-in-the-era-of-covid-19-new-report-shows-global-transportation-trends-support-for-micromobility. Accessed 13 July 2020.
- “New York City Council Gives Green Light to Shared E-Scooter Pilot.” Bird Cities Blog 26 June 2020. www.bird.co/blog/new-york-city-council-green-light-shared-e-scooter-pilot/. Accessed 13 July 2020.