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Difficulty Comparing Prices Is Consumers’ Top Brick-And-Mortar Complaint

That's not the only one, as a Capgemini report finds shopper grievances include long checkout lines, lack of personalized offers, and confusion about where to locate store products.

Consumers’ problems with shopping in a store versus using an e-commerce channel may be fairly obvious — and surely predate the online shopping — but a report by Capgemini on how customers’ cavils rank offers a clue for addressing those issues.

The Capgemini report, Making The Digital Connection: Why Physical Stores Need A Reboot (via eMarketer), put consumers’ feelings about the brick-and-mortar experience plainly: one-third of shoppers would rather wash dishes than go to a store.

The study of 6,000 consumers and 500 retail executives across nine countries (U.S, China, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden) points to a continuing divide between retailers and consumers on the value of physical stores: the survey has 81 percent of retail executives viewing the store as important to consumers, while less than half of consumers (45 percent) concur.

Retail Tech Lags

More than half (54 percent) of the retail executives surveyed concede that efforts to realize “omnichannel” features in stores to meet demands for convenience, wayfinding, and personalization. Capgemini contends that e-commerce shopping has trained consumers to expect more, highlighting the historical frustrations that have always been associated with the physical retail experience.

  • 71 percent find it hard to compare products and prices
  • 66 percent are annoyed by long lines at checkout
  • 65 percent complain that the promotions they receive in store aren’t relevant
  • 65 percent simply can’t locate the product that they want

“Shoppers are increasingly disconnected with the in-store experience, and it’s easy to see why,” says Mike Petevinos, Global Head of Consumer Products & Retail at Capgemini. “Most physical shops remain stubbornly ‘offline’, unable to offer the speed, flexibility and sheer ease of use that consumers take for granted on websites.”

Rumors of the death of the high street store may be exaggerated,Petevinos adds, but they are “becoming uncomfortably close to the mark.”

This report is meant to be a “wake up call” to retailers, noting that it “isn’t whether they can afford to transform the in-store experience, but can they afford not to?”

Retail’s Way Forward

There are a few silver linings for retailers in the Capgemini study.

Consumers believe that stores still have a role in their lives – 70 percent still want the tactile experience of products before making a purchase decision. Still,  there is a clear expectation for a value exchange to bring them into a store: offer the comparable convenience between online and offline — and offer some personal incentives.

  • Physical stores need to offer online features: Three quarters of consumers (75 percent) want to check if stock is available before going in-store, 73 percent of consumers expect same day delivery of products purchased in-store.
  • Stores need to do more than sell and fulfill: 57 percent of consumers want retailers to offer more than simply selling the product and for them to provide social spaces, learning experiences and inspiration, such as cooking or DIY workshops
  • Rewarding store visits: Seven out of ten consumers (68%) expect loyalty points for spending time in store and repeat visits, while 61 percent want store memberships that offer lower prices.

“Brick and mortar stores of the future will need to be very different if they are to give consumers a reason to leave their computer, abandon their dishes and visit,” says Kees Jacobs, Consumer Goods & Retail Lead, Insights & Data Global Practice, Capgemini. “The industry is going to see a fascinating struggle take place in the next few years to decide what exactly the new breed of retail store looks like. The battle to create the modern retail experience, between traditional retailers with a long, successful history of high street store building and new digital entrants built around the internet and mobile technology, is finely poised.”