For most consumers, the in-store shopping experience is best when they’re given a lot of space. That’s one of the key findings of a just-released consumer survey by HRC Retail Advisory, which polled 2,900 shoppers in North America.
The report found that 95 percent of respondents “want to be left alone while shopping” – unless they specifically want the help of a store associate. Instead of personalized service from store associates, shoppers prefer “turning to their friends and family via social media to share pictures and gather opinions before they buy, particularly in apparel,” researchers at the consultancy firm said in the report.
Other findings of the poll showed that 85 percent of respondents “want to be able to check prices at price scanners throughout a store” rather than asking a sales associate. And 69 percent said that when ordering technology products, it was important that they are able to order it online and pick up in a store. This compares to 65 percent for apparel purchases.
Overall the firm found that the “need for store associates is diminishing.” Fifty-two percent of respondents said “an in-store personal shopper who helps them choose products” is important when it comes to technology purchases. “However, most respondents still preferred technology over personal service, as a much higher 76 percent of overall respondents rated an in-store app that will provide personal recommendations as important,” the authors said.
Farla Efros, president of HRC Retail Advisory, said that as consumers favor in-store technology over sales associates while shopping, “retailers must adapt to shopper expectations in the store environment. Identifying the right technologies and pairing it with the right in-store experience for shoppers of different generations will be critical to retailers’ long-term success. Those that curate and customize the store experience and services to suit shoppers’ needs will see the benefits.”
The survey also explored consumer preferences regarding current technology and merchandising tactics being deployed in the market.
With mobile payments, for example, 8 percent of respondents said having to pay using a mobile app was important to them. And 17 percent said various “dressing room technologies” were important while “only 6 percent of respondents ranked customized lighting in dressing rooms as important when shopping for apparel and shoes.”
Regarding in-store events, 19 percent of those polled said special events “designed to create communities were an important part of a store’s offering, particularly when shopping for apparel and beauty products.” However, 24 percent of Generation Z consumers who were polled said events were important.
“Across all consumers surveyed, in-store environment ranked as the most important factor while shopping (53 percent),” the firm also noted.
For more business news from WWD, see: