Great expectations: What consumers want from today’s retail store

Paul Milner

The rise of online shopping has influenced consumers in irreversible ways, and it’s creating complex challenges for omni-channel retailers. Consumers’ patterns of behaviour are unpredictable, they jump between online and offline channels, and the lines between digital and physical retail are becoming increasingly blurred.   For instance, shoppers are likely to start their journey with online research; they might choose to order online and collect in-store; they may visit their local outlet, but showroom on their mobile phone. Whichever path they choose, these consumers have instantaneous access to information and, as a result, crave convenience and value. They can instantly validate everything from price to product details, and easily choose an alternative source if their needs aren’t met.   So, where does this leave bricks and mortar retail? Unfortunately, in a position where consumers perceive fundamental differences between their online and offline experiences – something we investigated in a
recent report on the role of the store within omni-channel shopping.   We found that 42% of US consumers and 46% of UK consumers think retailers offer different prices online and offline, while almost half of shoppers believe online promotions are not available through offline channels. We also discovered perceived shortcomings with store shopping; 52% of US consumers and 28% of UK consumers reportedly find stock availability an issue compared to online shopping; a quarter of consumers feel store staff are poorly informed.   These perceptions may not be true, but the challenge for bricks and mortar retail is to shatter such illusions and deliver a satisfying experience at the shelf edge. And this means bridging the gap between digital and physical shopping experiences.   Retailers looking to improve in-store customer engagement should consider digital display solutions, such as electronic shelf labels, as they are a powerful way to align omni-channel experiences within the store. By embracing advanced digital technology, retailers have the opportunity to provide better product information, real-time stock availability and highlight prices versus the competition.   Enhancing this experience at the shelf edge reduces the need for consumers to showroom or leave the store unsatisfied, establishing the store within its modern role – one part of a flexible, omni-channel journey.   Sarah Todd Marketing Manager Displaydata

About Displaydata

Our Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) bring the shelf-edge into the Internet of Things era, helping to create shopping experiences that are more engaging, rewarding and personalised – and profitable. We help retailers optimise sales and margin at the shelf-edge, where 90% of purchases are still made.

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