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In-store vs. Ecommerce: What Does Today’s Consumer REALLY Want?

Imprint Plus, the makers of reusable customized name badges and signage, conducted a survey of 1,000 men and women throughout the country to determine shopping preferences in today’s market and how consumers see online buying experience compared to in-store experiences. The survey resulted in the following three groups: those who prefer to shop online (32.50%), in-store (29.70%), and a combination of both (37.80%).

Those who prefer in-store experiences frequented the following stores, in order of preference: Discount Mass Merchandisers, such as Target (76%); Food Retailers, such as a grocery store (71.20%); Drug Stores, such as CVS (50%); Beauty Supplies, such as Sephora (48.90%); Consumer Electronic Stores, such as Best Buy (48.90%); Hardware Stores, such as Home Depot (44.10%); and Department Stores, such as Macy’s (37.60%).

“Our survey tells us that consumers shop at brick and mortar retailers, primarily for discounted merchandise, food, drug, and health and beauty aids, as well as for consumer electronics, appliances, building supplies, and clothing,” Kristin MacMillan, President of Imprint Plus, said.

Consumers who prefer to shop in-store reported the need to see, feel, and handle the merchandise as part of the buying experience. They also preferred the immediacy of purchasing merchandise in-store to avoid the need of waiting for delivery. The majority of consumers surveyed (86.10%) prefer to purchase food in-story due to the ability to inspect the quality and freshness. Online food shopping presents challenges, such as the need to be home in order to accept the delivery.

60% of those surveyed favor purchasing clothing in-store, while 17% prefer to buy clothing online. Consumers find the travel time to and from the store, as well as long wait times to return or buy merchandise, too time consuming. In addition, there is the added difficulty of finding particular sizes, styles, and colors in-store.

“The retail in store experience fulfills the need for using the senses as part of the shopping experience and feeling, touching and even smelling is utilized in merchandise selection,” MacMillan continued.

52% of those surveyed noted that convenience was the main reason that they like online shopping. Consumers are associated a wider selection of merchandise online, price comparisons, online customer reviews, and free shipping as positive experiences with online shopping. A negative experience associated with online shopping is the inability to see the merchandise first hand and try it on, as well as the added wait time for shipping.

“Consumers are pressed for time and would be more willing to shop in brick and mortar stores if they could shop more efficiently in less time,” MacMillan said. “A focus on customer service would help the consumer navigate through long wait times and merchandise selection. The use of technology and retailer apps can play a role in streamlining the process of merchandise selection and check out.”

Over 50% of consumers surveyed mentioned the importance of establishing personal relationships with sales associates, both in-store and online. Almost 50% agreed that having a personal relationship with an in-store sales associate would result in more in-store shopping. Consumers also find that a name badge, stating a sales associate’s name, title and area of expertise, as a way to develop relationships with the retailer, as well as resulting in more sales and visits.

By Rachel Tallis

Source: Imprint Plus

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