Physical retail stores
During the pandemic, people's attitudes towards physical stores started to change as the world adjusted to the new normal. Despite this, most consumers still reported not visiting stores as frequently as before Covid-19. However, by 2022, more people were enjoying physical shopping experiences, with many saying they now shop in physical stores as often or more often than before the pandemic occurred.
As consumers return to physical stores, they expect to have the same digital experience they had online. They want personalisation, engaging content, a pleasant atmosphere, sustainable practices and instant gratification. Brands must find a way to combine the advantages of the physical and digital worlds to create an outstanding in-store experience.
What Consumers Want and How Stores Can Cater to It
Customers are increasingly expecting stores to provide digital self-service options and sustainable practices. Repair services and recycling points are becoming more important to shoppers when deciding which store to visit. Stores prioritising sustainable practices and products will be more successful in gaining customers.
It is important to note that the 35-44 age group has had the most increased in-store visits in the last two years compared to any other age demographic. Conversely, those over 55 have seen the least amount of growth.
Customers are more likely to favour smaller stores because they have friendly and knowledgeable staff. In addition, playing music and having certain scents in the store can make customers stay longer. This information is important for stores to understand how to draw in customers and be part of their shopping journey. It is a reminder that although the way we access things has changed, the importance of having a good customer experience when shopping in person hasn't.
The Shopper's Instant Gratification
People prefer to shop in physical stores rather than online due to the instant gratification it provides. They also enjoy the experience of being able to browse new products, as well as shopping with friends and family. Additionally, being able to exchange, collect and return products bought in-store or online is an important factor. This shows that physical stores are still highly relevant and provide a unique experience that online stores cannot replicate.
People say that for major retail outlets, they want a pleasing design and interactive digital displays. Nonetheless, having friendly and informed staff in smaller local stores is even more important in convincing customers to purchase. This highlights the importance of having knowledgeable staff in smaller stores.
63% of Gen Zs (18-24 year olds) favour in-store over online because of store experiences and environments.
Source Retail Economics; UK Omnichannel Retail 2023. Find out more here.
Human Touch and Sensory Experiences
The survey emphasises how important it is for stores to have friendly and knowledgeable employees to create a positive customer experience. A well-designed store layout, a tidy environment, and quick check-out processes were also important factors. Most people said that a pleasant atmosphere would make them want to return to the store, with the highest percentage coming from China. The largest age group (25-34 year-olds) were the most likely to return to the store.
The key to providing an enjoyable experience in any store is having enough staff on hand and having the store laid out in an organised manner. Providing a pleasant scent for health and beauty stores can also have a big impact. Customers visiting automotive stores or car dealerships prefer the presence of digital screens, while in QSRs, people tend to appreciate having access to free Wi-Fi.
Avoiding physical stores is often due to unhelpful or overbearing staff and long lines. Being greeted by friendly, knowledgeable personnel was the first factor in creating a pleasant shopping experience.
Understanding in-store trends and shopper tendencies are essential for retailers to create a successful retail strategy. By monitoring consumer behaviour and shopping habits, retailers can better understand what motivates shoppers and how to use this knowledge to create a more engaging shopping experience. Additionally, understanding in-store trends and shopper tendencies can help retailers identify opportunities to increase sales, reduce costs and optimise the customer experience. Ultimately, it is key to achieving success in the retail industry.
With over 24 years in footfall analytics in retail, StoreTech has been providing people counting solutions to measure demand, optimise performance and improve the customer experience. Everyone walking into your store is a potential customer, more so than online browsers. The intent is already there, so don't miss that opportunity to give great service and sell to a new or repeat customer! Do you want to know how to keep them coming in and returning to your store? Get in touch with us today to book an online meeting!