Retail customers: Evolving shopping habits and expectations for 2023

What is the current state of in-store shopping? The past few years have seen major changes in the public’s retail habits due to the Covid-19 pandemic. How are the customers of today and tomorrow doing their shopping – and what are their expectations going forward?

Offline or online is not the big question anymore, but rather how to optimize and personalize the two experiences in tandem, since they are seen as parts of the same journey toward a purchase. We’ve read the results of Mood Media’s Charting In-Store Trends report, which surveyed shoppers’ evolving attitudes towards physical sales environments. All statistics mentioned below come from the 2022 report.

Why customers shop in physical stores

So a full 71% of respondents continue to shop in physical stores, with some reporting even more frequent visits since the pandemic began. What are the factors that entices them to go with in-store shopping over online purchases? The study presents four main reasons why the respondents choose to shop at physical stores.

  • 1. Instant purchases
  • 2. New product inspiration
  • 3. Shopping with friends and family
  • 4. Collecting purchases and exchanging or returning unsuitable or unwanted products bought in-store or online

What parts of the in-store experience do consumers value the most?

One of the top things mentioned by the respondents is a good store layout, as well as engaging digital screens in large flagship stores. For smaller and local stores, knowledgeable and friendly staff were the only thing that were even more important. Thus, the expert and advisor role is crucial, since this is something that customers value highly.

As we all know, a physical store’s atmosphere is vital for encouraging customers to spend more time at the store, make purchases, and happily return. According to Mood Media’s trends report, these are customers’ top three factors for a pleasant atmosphere in the store.

How to make customers stay longer and make more purchases

Other than creating a pleasant atmosphere in the store, two factors were mentioned in the report as the most likely to increase the time a customer spends in a store. Those two factors are a branded music playlist, and a store-specific scent. This may particularly apply to Spain, US and Germany.

With a more personalized & interactive shopping experience, one third of customers would be more likely to make a purchase.

It’s all about getting the customer engaged and providing an opportunity to try different services or products, as well as creating a more personalized shopping experience. With this, over a third of the respondents would be more likely to make a purchase. Customers enjoy the perks of a physical store, particularly in regards to touching and feeling the products – products they can buy directly from the store.

A personalized experience and engaging digital content have the largest impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions, according to the study. This is most likely to make customers interested in making a purchase, returning to the store or staying longer. The key is a mix of the right interaction and experience.

So what is the key takeaway from this report? Customers do not only seek out physical stores for reasons that are impossible to replicate online. While they do want to touch and feel the products, online and offline offerings need to be balanced to meet customers’ needs. This will give them the best possible experience, as well as what they need to make a purchase, and to come back again.

Source: Charting In-Store Trends, Analyzing Evolving Customer Expectations Of Physical Stores 2022, Mood Media, 2022.

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