We all dream to provide the perfect in-store shopping experience our customers will love. But the constantly changing consumer behaviour can disrupt any retailer’s marketing plan. Identifying areas to invest in is difficult without relevant insights. Australian-based Resonate.cx, a leading customer experience management platform, has commissioned a timely consumer study on ever-changing experience expectations. – This study provides valuable insights for Australian retailers looking for growth in the post-pandemic era.
While the ease and convenience of digital shopping cannot be disputed, the study highlights key reasons why in-store shopping experiences still appeal to customers and meet a key need.
What drives customers to shop in a physical store? Based on the market research here are the top five reasons why customers prefer an in-store shopping experience:
1. In-Store shopping offers ‘immediate’ delivery.
Resonate’s research has in fact found that for almost 7 out of 10 shoppers, immediacy is what makes them want to shop at a physical store. This is even further heightened by the supply chain disruptions and scarcity of the COVID-19 Pandemic era.
At the time, there was a scarcity of certain items such as the supply of iPhones, Nintendo Switch, and the Sony PlayStation 5. Apple experienced a shortage of iPhone supply as a result of factory disruptions last year, while Sony also reported a limited supply of the PlayStation 5 in 2021. Items like these were considered high-value and their reselling prices went through the roof. After years of tight restrictions within the in-store environments some of which were not accessible at times, the value of bricks-and-mortar stores now makes it easier to make a purchase – far easier in fact, and maybe even quicker than creating an online order and waiting for it to arrive. This is especially true if the products they are purchasing are urgently needed and can be acquired within minutes after a store visit.
2. Ability to try/test a product or choose an alternative on the spot.
The study revealed that 48% prefer shopping in-store because of the ability to try on or test products. Further studies complement this insight with results showing that customers prefer being able to physically touch items before deciding to purchase them. Although customers can assess products once received from online orders, returning and choosing alternatives can be both costly and time-consuming. A shopper’s purchasing opportunity increases once they are already in-store. Even if they already have a set shopping goals, the store presents them with a broader variety of alternative options. This is especially valuable for shoppers in the learning and research phase. Since these new choices are already presented to them there, it becomes easier and more likely for them to inspect or test them out. Consequently, it increases the likelihood of more potential sales as well.
3. No shipping costs – an easy win.
In the same research conducted by Resonate Solutions, 48% of the respondents shared that having zero shipping costs adds to the appeal of shopping in a physical store. Regardless of the amount, and whether or not it is more or less than what it costs to go to an actual store, shipping costs are still something that consumers still have an aversion to.. “Free shipping” is usually a plus when it comes to online purchases, so the promise of “no shipping at all” when in-store shopping gives the shopper a sense of being able to purchase without any potential hidden shipping costs.
4. Reduces the risk of returns
Online shopping offers convenience and 24/7 accessibility, but it also poses significant risks like receiving wrong sizes, poor fits, or damaged items. Moreover, the return process can be tedious. 22% of consumers indicate that a reason why they prefer shopping in-store is because they are less likely to return the items they purchase. Customers can see items firsthand when shopping in-store and, related to Reason #2, they can test them to ensure satisfaction with the product. As a result, they are able to make more discerning choices about their purchases. While item returns can still occur, it is less likely to occur compared to purchasing products they have not yet seen firsthand.
5. It’s just more fun.
We should not underestimate the thrill of the in-store shopping experience. 19% of shoppers are there for the joy of the actual shopping experience. There is a huge difference between shopping inside a store versus scrolling through a screen. Retailers have the freedom to design specific displays, experiences, and offers inside a physical store. The multi-sensory experiences of modern retail include sights, sounds, and even smells that can heighten a shopper’s appreciation of the products. There is excitement in discovering new potential items, offers, and discounts on alternatives.
Despite the looming recession and customers becoming more cost-conscious, brick-and-mortar stores remain attractive. To continue succeeding as a retail business during this period, it is essential to understand what keeps customers returning and why they choose in-store shopping. This means consistently analyzing, adapting, and staying open to alterations. Such an attitude ensures that businesses can not only thrive but also grow together with their customers – and this is the key to retaining their loyalty.
Talk to a retail expert at Resonate.cx to learn more about how leading omni-channel retailers are using the power of real-time customer insights to drive growth and optimize experience investments.
Want to know more? You may download the report at this link.