While customers have the power to choose how and when they shop – whether it be online, mobile or via a call centre etc. – half (49%) of consumers confirm the option of being able to visit a physical store to preview items and/or make a purchase is important to them, according to a new Qmatic survey*, “Great Expectations”.
It reveals that:
- Physical stores continue to be core revenue generation engines; retailers report that over the 2013/14 Christmas/January sale period their revenue was equally split between online (48%) and in-store (47%) sales
- Just 18% of consumers reported visiting physical stores more frequently during the Christmas/New Year period compared to other times of the year.
As retailers continue to integrate digital and mobile commerce strategies with bricks-and-mortar stores, the physical store is becoming a de facto brand showcase in which customers can check out physical goods, seek out advice and guidance to support purchasing decisions and spend personalised vouchers.
It is also generating opportunities for incremental revenue generation and better brand engagement as growing numbers of consumers opt to visit and ‘collect in store’ goods they’ve ordered online. Indeed, retailers that currently offer ‘click and collect’ to their customers confirm they’re projecting demand for it to grow by 15% in the coming 12 months.
Clearly customer experience in the physical store – whatever the reason for visiting – is becoming ever more pivotal to overall brand perceptions and purchasing behaviours. Getting it wrong risks contamination across all channels – and ultimately leads to less engaged and less loyal customers.
* This Qmatic survey was conducted in February 2014 by Vanson Bourne, an independent, trusted and specialist technology market research provider. The company conducted online interviews with 100 UK retail decision-makers in organisations with 500 or more employees and which have both online and offline sales channels. Online interviews were conducted with 500 consumers who shop using online and offline channels.