Consumers are returning to stores, and they are more digitally savvy than ever.
According to US Census Bureau data, in-store sales as a percentage of total retail increased by more than 2% in the first quarter of 2022, from 84% to 87% and much closer to where that ratio lay, pre-pandemic. This is not unexpected. As vaccines and public health organizations release constraints on public health precautions, shoppers are returning to the store to get what they can only get from the store: experience.
A more digital in-store experience
However, the return to in-person shopping is not a return to normalcy. Consumers have changed in the last two years. According to a McKinsey & Co. report in late 2021, 75% of shoppers had tried a new shopping method in the preceding 18 months (“The Value of Getting Personalization Right — or Wrong — is Multiplying”). The mix-up has allowed innovative retailers to experience massive growth, while most have suffered from significant reductions in foot traffic, and sales.
So what impact have innovators and digital shopping had on consumers? A Reflect study of 1,684 respondents identified a few key features that shoppers would want from in-store shopping, and three out of four participants expressed that they would be more likely to shop in-person if the store had interactive screens with information, such as product reviews and comparisons. (“What do online shoppers want from the in-store experience?”, 2021). Internet and mobile shopping has clearly changed what consumers want their stores to look like.
Retailers are well aware of these trends, and most are either deploying or planning to deploy changes to their store environments in order to accommodate rapidly evolving expectations.
What are retailers prioritizing, and how significant are their plans to digitize the store experience?
The 2022 Retail Touchpoints’ Store Design Benchmark Survey analyzed responses from 150 retail executives to identify five key trends that will shape the future of store design.
Savvy retailers can use these trends as indications and guide posts for their own store projects and renovations over the next two years. However, they will also need to understand how they should approach these projects.
If you are currently planning a digital transformation project, be sure to turn to the article on page 10: Meeting Demands of the New Customer Experience: Three Key Points to Consider. Author, Kelly Amaroso, VP Customer Engagement & Product Marketing at Scala, a STRATACACHE Company, helps retailers set-up their store evolution projects for success.