80% of consumers miss in-store shopping

May 20, 2021 by
Sanne Leenders
in-store shopping

Retail brands are putting customer loyalty at risk due to a disconnect between their physical and e-commerce experiences. Research shows that 80% of shoppers say they miss at least one aspect on in-store shopping with most online experiences. A report from PFS, reveals that retailers, forced to rapidly scale their e-commerce offering by COVID-19, are falling short when it comes to replicating tangible in-store elements digitally.

This has led to 80% of all respondents confirming they miss at least one aspect of the traditional shopping experience while perusing online. Meanwhile 35% of respondents overall admit that have had such an unsatisfactory shopping experience with a previously trusted brand this past year, that they have gone on to look elsewhere. Moreover, almost a quarter of consumers (23%) agree that online stores either do not do enough to engage with them. Or that they only want their money and do not care about their satisfaction.

Recognizing brand loyalty

Perhaps inevitably, the most missed facets of the in-store shopping experience include being able to physically touch products (43%). In addition to testing certain items (41%) for suitability across aspects such as size or colour. Retailers have responded to these shortfalls with the rise of online tools such as FAQ pages and website chatbots. However, it would seem these attempts to elevate brand loyalty are not quite hitting the mark. In fact, 21% of respondents report that online customer service is still not as good as in-store assistance.

It is important to recognize that customer loyalty is not just based on the point of sale. Slow delivery (18%), a lack of available stock (17%) and difficult returns processes (14%) were all listed as potential factors behind reduced interest in using a previously preferred brand. A net total of 88% report at least one fulfillment factor that could or already has made such an impact. These contributing factors could well be responsible for 63% of Gen Z consumers and 46% of Millennials. Furthermore, 35% of all respondents admitting that they had endured such an unsatisfactory shopping experience with a previously trusted brand. They have since looked to shop elsewhere.

Fulfillment is set to be a key differentiator

It seems that fulfillment is set to be a key differentiator. More than one-third (37%) of consumers would prefer to choose how their product is packaged. In addition, 64% would be more loyal to brands who provide them with delivery timeframe options. 52% would prefer to shop with companies that help them to minimize their carbon footprint. Moreover, 49% would prefer to shop with a brand that provides packaging that can be repurposed in some way. Lastly, 70% more generally expect online retailers to minimize packaging.

Compared to the 37% figure who would prefer to choose how their product is packaged, 44% of Gen Zs contributed to the total. The option of buying and returning in-store, or to use click-and-collect when online shopping, was also 6% more popular for this age group (43%) than the overall total of net agreements (37%).

40% will revert to retail brands that have a high street presence

The last few months have been turbulent. Therefore, the reopening of the high street will be the true test for online brands when it comes to loyalty. 39% of consumers agree the safety measures implemented in-store should continue after lockdown. In addition, as many as 40% of consumers still claim that their loyalty will revert to retail brands that have a high street presence in COVID’s aftermath.

However, this might not last for long. More than one-third (34%) expect to return to online shopping after the initial buzz has died down. The role of the high street will instead be based on experientialism. Following the expectations of the Gen Z contingent more than one-third (37%) expect retailers to offer more of an in-store ‘experience’ than they did before lockdown. More than half (51%) of that influential Gen Z group expect shops to become more of a space for browsing in the future.

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