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08/31/2021

Survey: Consumers want digital capabilities in-store

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Four in 10 consumers want to use their mobile device in-store.

Many shoppers are coming to expect an omnichannel customer experience when they enter a brick-and-mortar store.

According to a new survey of 586 U.S. consumers from omnichannel store operations platform Newstore, in-store mobile technology is one leading-edge feature of the physical store that a growing number of consumers are seeking.

More than half (54%) of respondents say associates should have a mobile device, while 39% want to shop and checkout in-store via mobile device. One-third (33%) say store associates should be able check them out anywhere in-store with a mobile device.

Although email is long removed from being considered a leading-edge technology, many consumers still have a preference for using email as an omnichannel commerce channel. Seven in 10 (69%) respondents said store associates should be able to email their receipt, while almost half (49%) said store associates should be able to email them about new arrivals, product availability, promotions and store events. One-quarter (26%) of respondents said store associates should be able to show products and sell them solely through email.

Some respondents also expect store associates to provide personalized services using their name only. Close to four in 10 (37%) respondents said store associates should be able to access their loyalty profile and apply rewards with only their name, and 27% of respondents said store associates should be able to find all of their shopping history, sizes and other preferences with only their name.

Other interesting findings regarding expectations for in-store omnichannel services include:

  • 69% of respondents said store associates should be able to meet them for curbside pickup.
  • 68% of respondents said store associates should be able to sell them something that isn’t available in the store and allow them to pick it up from another location.
  • 67% of respondents said store associates should be able to sell them something that isn’t available in the store and ship it.
  • 66% of respondents said store associates should be able to know if a product is in stock without having to physically check.
  • 63% of respondents said associates should be able to accept all contactless payment types.
  • 58% of respondents said store associates should be able to chat directly with them via the retailer's website.
  • 51% of respondents said store associates should be able to return or exchange an online order in-store without a receipt.
  • 27% of consumers said they expect to interact with store associates through popular social media apps.

The survey also asked respondents about their attitudes toward shopping in-store during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Forty-five percent of respondents are more confident shopping in-store now than 12 months ago, while 34% have neutral feelings and only 21% are less confident about shopping in a brick-and-mortar store.

When asked whether the Delta variant will change their willingness to shop in a physical store, 42% of respondents said Delta will not change anything, 20% were neutral and 38% said it will change their willingness to shop in a physical store.

In addition, 33% of respondents said their expectations of store associates have not increased due to the pandemic, while 27% said their expectations of store associates have increased and 40% were neutral.

[Read more: Nearly half of consumers prefer to shop in-person — here’s why]