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Customers Pick Brick-and-Mortar Stores More Often

Posted by Kate Seat on 6/5/15 2:00 AM
Topics: college store customer service, college retail

Yesterday, we talked about the importance of having an online presence. That doesn't mean you should discount the influence of your physical location, though, as most consumers actually prefer to make their final purchases at a brick-and-mortar store. Read this selection from an interview about a recent study (originally posted on Retail Customer Experience) to learn why you should always make sure your employees are friendly and well-versed in the products you carry, that you anticipate what your customers want and that you make your store the very last stop on their buying journey.

Customers Pick Brick-and-mortar StoresSome of the highlights from the study included:
  • 85 percent of consumers shopped brick & mortar over online stores.
  • 90 percent of consumers were more likely to buy when helped by a knowledgeable associate.
  • 92 percent of responding millennials planned to shop in-store in 2015, as often or more than they did in 2014.
  • Only 13 percent of respondents have previously made a purchase using a mobile device.

Selections from the interview with TimeTrade CEO, Gary Ambrosino: Your study says 85 percent of consumers prefer to shop at physical stores, versus shopping online, yet it seems advertising is predominantly pointed to the Internet and mobile. Why do you think there is this gap in perception? Consumers do their exploring online and on their mobile device, then do the final buying in-store. You can use advertising to lead consumers to the Internet and mobile device, but the key for retailers is to convert these digital first touches into an actual sale. With nearly 90 percent of consumers more likely to buy when helped by a knowledgeable associate, retailers should be shifting their focus to the in-store experience. With 90 percent of consumers more likely to buy when helped by knowledgeable associate, how can technology assist this high percentage, or does the study support the idea that technology hinders sales, or gets in the way? Retailers should use technology to aid them in any pain points they are having in providing a knowledgeable associate. The biggest pain point is making sure that resources are readily available when the customer shows up to the store, whether it be a walk-in or a scheduled appointment. Store associates and managers must use technology to help with collaboration to provide superior service. Your study found in-store purchasing preferences spanned generations; with 92 percent of responding millennials planning to shop in-store in 2015, more than they did in 2014. Is there in anything in your study, or knowledge base that profiles the millennial shopper and how they differ, or are similar, to other generations of retail shoppers? As indicated in our report, millennials like individual attention and increasingly want specific, exclusive "just-for-me" products. For example, the TimeTrade survey reveals that 25-34 year olds are most likely to book online appointments to have a highly personalized in-store experience. What are some of the most basic, and interesting, data your study found out about the modern shopper that would be useful to a retailer? We found that shoppers want to go the store because they truly want help. They have narrowed their final buying decision down to two or three items, and they genuinely want help from a store associate. Those who receive the right help will leave the store much more satisfied, and this causes store and brand loyalty. Retailers today must run their store keeping this in mind; the store is now a buying point in the path to purchase and in-store customer service is more critical than ever.

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