To better understand what influences consumers’ decisions to choose brick-and-mortar over online shopping, Mood Media conducted a quantitative study, probing over 11,000 consumers across nine different countries. We wanted to understand what consumers like (and dislike) about the in-store experience, and what motivates or influences them within the space. Seventy-two percent of Americans cite the ability to physically touch and feel product as a top reason for in-store shopping, while the convenience of getting items instantly compels 66 percent of consumers to shop in-store. Consumers also still view shopping as entertainment, with 48 percent citing the ability to browse and discover new things as a key reason for visiting physical store locations.
There are a few key implications for retailers given the consumer preferences detailed in our report.
Increase Interaction, Minimize Barriers
Capitalize on what’s working for you. We know consumers have a strong desire to touch and try products in-store, so ensure everything within your merchandising plan is easily accessible and interactive. If it’s tucked in a box, take one out. If it requires power, plug it in. Actively encourage consumers to engage with the product.
Apple stores have aced accessibility. Shoppers are not only playing with product, but they’re discovering new “can’t live without” items they didn’t even know they wanted. The joy of touch and exploration is integral to the brick-and-mortar experience.
Conversely, address the issues that most frustrate shoppers. Sixty percent of consumers cite standing in line as a top peeve, so ease the annoyance by embracing mobile checkout. It’s not a new idea, yet few retailers are actually doing it. Mood’s research found that items or sizes being out of stock are the second most common frustration, which runs counter to the desire for immediate gratification. If this happens, go the extra mile to make up for it by delivering (for free) the correct size to a customer’s doorstep ASAP. Nordstrom has nailed this aspect of customer care.
Capitalize on Leisure Shopping
A recent U.S. Census study reported that 43 percent of all online retail sales are happening at Amazon.com, meaning retailers aren’t competing with the entire digital world as much as they’re competing with a singular giant. While consumers purchase from Amazon regularly, they often view it as a rather emotionless “transaction” rather than a shopping “experience.” Shopping as an entertainment experience is still highly limited to physical stores. However, just as brick-and-mortar retailers are taking lessons from the digital space, online retailers are taking lessons from brick-and-mortar, and the lines will continue to blur. Use the advantage now.
Ensure You're Hitting the Sweet Spot
Shopping has to be engaging to justify getting off the sofa. Highly branded, emotionally rich experiences must be rooted in what consumers crave, not what the brand wants them to crave. The convergence of consumer desire and branded delivery is the sweet spot. U.K. retailer Topshop does a phenomenal job making its stores “must visit” destinations for millennial females.
Shoppers interact with product, sample makeup at the beauty bar, snack on cupcakes and even get their nails done — equal parts playful and fun. Similarly, the U.K. men’s store Hackett celebrates masculinity by offering a complimentary gin bar encircled by luxe, leather accessories. These two retailers offer highly branded, highly engaging experiences rooted in target insights.
Always Look Through the Consumer Lens
Put aside the traditional purchasing funnel — awareness, familiarity, consideration, etc. — and replace it with a clear understanding of your customer's journey. Walk through each step looking through the consumer lens. Correct messaging at the right time in the journey matters. Convenience and availability matter. Emotion and mood matter. Understand potential barriers along the way and address them head-on. At first sniff of the slightest roadblock, consumers will reroute and find a different path forward with a competing retailer. Make the journey as seamless and enjoyable as possible.
Scott Moore is global senior vice president of marketing and creative content for Mood Media.
Scott Moore is Global SVP of Marketing and Creative Content at Mood Media, the world’s leading in-store media solutions company dedicated to elevating the Customer Experience.
Scott is based in Austin TX, and is passionate about the current evolution of Customer Experience.
Prior to joining Mood, Scott spent over 20 years in the advertising agency world. Over the course of his career, he’s worked at major ad agencies in LA, San Francisco, New York and Austin, and has created award-winning campaigns for a wide range of clients including AT&T, Caesars Entertainment, Louis Vuitton, Old Navy, PetSmart, Revlon and Tommy Hilfiger, just to name a few.
While his work has crossed a variety of categories, he has a particular interest in all things retail.