Despite Rise in Online Shopping, Brick-and-Mortar Remains Supreme
Online shopping is steadily becoming a standard for American households, but that has not dulled the appeal of brick-and-mortar stores. According to T.D. Bank’s 2017 Retail Experience Index, 51% of consumers shop in store “all the time,” compared to 28% who do all of their shopping online and 34% who shop through mobile apps.
This trend was apparent during this year’s Black Friday shopping weekend. Online specials were released early in the week and all day Thanksgiving, but shoppers still chose to visit the stores. In fact, there was only a 1% difference in foot traffic compared to a year ago, even though online shopping revenue is projected to increase by $13 billion this year over the 2016 holiday levels.
What is the allure of brick and mortar stores? For some, it’s the ability to speak with an associate about product information. 66% of the TD Bank survey participants said they asked a sales associate for help when making a major purchase of $500.
The TD survey showed consumers like certain elements of online and mobile app shopping, such as the ability to shop outside of normal business hours (52%), the opportunity to use discount codes and coupons (51%), and the lack of lines (48%). However, 90% of consumers agreed the ability to see an item in person was the primary benefit of shopping in-store. No matter how advanced virtual reality shopping may become, it can never replicate the feeling of holding a product in a store.
Yet another benefit for stores is the ability to make a purchase and immediately take it home. Even in areas with two-day or same-day delivery available, this instant gratification keeps shoppers coming to stores.
Regardless of where they choose to shop, consumers value research before making a big purchase. 89% of respondents researched their last major purchase before buying the product, spending an average of 1-2 hours looking up product details, reviews and more. 57% of users who spent over $2,000 researched for at least five hours. The value of the purchase also influenced when the transaction occurred—48% of purchases between $500 and $1,000 happened on the first visit, compared to only 23% of purchases over $2,000.