People Don’t Want To Go To Stores Anymore: So Now What?

The New Killer App: Stores

This syndicated study explores consumer response to digital-retail integration (DRI) and uncovers where stores are falling short, but can still make changes to attract shoppers. The results yield some surprising discoveries.

As retailers continue to throw darts at consumer sweet spots, the target lies in combining the function of online with the emotion of in-store. Our research has revealed a number of solutions. The ‘buy online pick up in store’ (BOPIS) option is great, but consumers are looking for an overhaul to their in-store shopping experience. And at this point most retailers are missing the mark completely.

What is the optimum scenario for physical retailers when online shopping is so easy and convenient? Touch & feel, instant gratification and customer service need to play a better role in the shopper experience. Retailers have to do a better job of figuring out what shoppers are looking for, and how they can exceed these high expectations.

WD Partners’ report takes an in-depth look at what consumers desire from stores. Hear from consumers as they share what works, what doesn’t, and the best options moving forward in WD’s exclusive study, The Next Killer App: Stores.

Findings Include:

1. BOPIS Starts the Conversation, But Still Isn’t Saying the Right Things.

Buying Online and Picking Up In Store (BOPIS) is a great fulfillment tool for consumers, but it is falling flat when it comes to meeting shopper expectations, especially at pick-up.

2. What Imitating the Amazon Model Really Looks Like.

Becoming an Amazon-esque warehouse isn’t the answer. But WD was able to uncover the attributes that consumers truly want, and beating online retail involves making the in-store attributes better than the convenience of anything online shopping has to offer. Shopping in a vanilla box, with associates who ‘don’t know anything about anything’ will lead consumers right back to the online retailers every time.

3. Wiring the Retail Experience Can Breathe New Life Into the Store.

Throwing useless, bulky technology into stores isn’t going to draw consumers away from the multitude of devices they use for online shopping. But creative and useful technology might just get them to utilize it, and make that purchase in-store, instead of their iPhone. Finding the right balance is key to meeting the needs of all generations of shoppers.

Emotionally, experientially and psychologically, consumers are a moving target. How do retailers determine what shoppers really desire (and need) in a shopping experience? How can they navigate the endless array of shiny new technology that leaves consumers wanting more? Is there merit to the attempts being made at combining online and in-store shopping? Or should retailers simply throw the rule book out the window and take a calculated risk to win back shopper loyalty?

Our findings help define the solution retailers are seeking. Hear consumer driven ideas on what real options they want—and what’s just a miss; and learn what other retailers are doing that customers love. Wrapped up in this data are insights from WD’s retail experts, actionable concepts to implement now, as well as answers to these questions:

  • Do physical retailers have an undeniable edge over their virtual opposition, and if so, what is that edge, exactly? And how can it be exploited?
  • Which elements of DRI are considered the most appealing to consumers?
  • How can BOPIS be implemented and what about it is most attractive to shoppers?

Design and Methodology

This research report is based on quantitative and qualitative shopper research. Our methodology allows WD to dig deeper and search for insights beyond consumer and shopper behavior, uncovering desire. In late Spring 2014, we surveyed over 1,500 consumers using a nationally syndicated panel. Respondents were screened based on DRI behaviors. Results are shown as the percentage of top-two-box ratings received on a standard five-box scale. In the case of appeal scores, the figures are the percentage of respondents who said a concept was “extremely appealing” or “very appealing.” For purchase intent scores, the top two-box ratings were based on “much more likely” or “somewhat more likely” to purchase from a retailer who offered the selected concept. Demographic information on the respondents was obtained to align the survey results with the U.S. population based on 2010 Census and 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Following the quantitative study, our Insights & Strategy team conducted a series of in-depth group discussions among shoppers, representing three generations of consumers – Millennial, Gen-X and Boomer.

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  • Maybe it’s not in-store vs. online, but both… at the same time. I don’t mean BOPIS, but rather putting a software-based experience layer on top of the physical store. How about this as the future of retail: get rid of sales associates, drop beacons throughout the store and publish an API to your physical store and inventory. Create incentives for third parties (brands, publishers, others) to create experiences that shoppers access on their phone: buying advice, education, fun promotions. Turn the store into an exploratorium.

    IMHO, that’s how you compete with Amazon.

    • While I agree with the gist of your comment Mr. Brill – I think opening up the store API to brands & others is what has led us to today’s world of fractured BLE offers and consumers having to download 4-5 separate apps just to get information, cost compare, get coupons and pay.

      As the marketplace matures – I think retailers will be the “owners” of the overarching network/API and the brands will pay for access. Along the lines of trad. retail “slotting fees”

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