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Insight: report reveals shoppers' frustrations with physical stores

A new study has found that 40% of consumers think that shopping in-store is a chore and a third would rather stay at home washing the dishes.


Insight: report reveals shoppers' frustrations with physical stores

A new study has found that 40% of consumers think that shopping in-store is a chore and a third would rather stay at home washing the dishes.

The report by Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute surveyed 6,000 consumers and 500 retail executives from the UK, US, China, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden.

The results highlight a divide between retailers and consumers on how they view physical stores with 81% of retail executives regarding the store as important compared to just 45% of consumers.

The study found that shoppers are frustrated by in-person retail experiences. Dissatisfaction was shown to be highest in Sweden and Spain where a respective 54% and 49% of respondents said bricks and mortar shopping is a chore. This compared to 29% of respondents in China and 31% in the US.

The results of the study also reveal that 71% of in-store shoppers find it difficult to compare products while 66% get annoyed with long checkout queues. Meanwhile, 65% complained that the promotions they receive in-store are irrelevant and the same percentage said they are unable to find the products they want.

Consumers were also found to be exploring new retail models that reduce their reliance on traditional retailers. More than half said they would be open to buying directly from manufacturers or buying from technology players such as Google, Apple and Facebook if they partnered with local retailers for last-mile delivery. Overall, 71% consumers would consider bypassing traditional retailers but this attitude was most prevalent in China.

The research found that some 54% of the retail executives surveyed admitted they had been slow to digitise their physical stores although it was a top priority for 78% of those canvassed.

However, 40% said they were still implementing technology foundations while others claimed that store managers are not promoting in-store digital initiatives. More significantly, 43% said they are unable to measure the return on investment from in-store digital initiatives. Overall, only 18% of retail executives were found to have implemented digital initiatives at scale and be generating significant benefits.

Mike Petevinos, global head of consumer products & retail at Capgemini Consulting, said: “Shoppers are increasingly disconnected with the in-store experience, and it’s easy to see why. Most physical shops remain stubbornly ‘offline’, unable to offer the speed, flexibility and sheer ease of use that consumers take for granted on websites.

“Many retailers we spoke to admit they aren’t digitizing stores quickly enough because making a business case for investment is challenging. This report makes it clear the real question retailers have to be asking themselves isn’t whether they can afford to transform the in-store experience, but can they afford not to?”  

However, 70% of consumers polled said they like to visit shops to touch and feel products before buying. Furthermore, three quarters of the sample wanted to able to check if stock is available before going in store while 73% expected same day delivery of products purchased in-store.

The survey also showed that stores need to do more than sell and fulfil with some 57% of consumers wanting retailers to provide social spaces, learning experiences and inspiration such as cooking or DIY workshops.

In addition, seven out of ten consumers expected loyalty points for spending time in store and repeat visits, while 61% wanted store memberships that offer lower prices. 

Kees Jacobs, consumer goods & retail lead, insights & data global practice at Capgemini, said: “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.”

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