Study: 85% of Consumers Prefer to Shop at Physical Stores vs. Online

BOSTON, MA — May 18, 2015 — Despite the hype around e-commerce and online shopping, consumers still look to shop in the physical store. To help retailers better understand customer preferences, TimeTrade, the leading provider of online appointment scheduling, surveyed more than 1,000 consumers about their perceptions and habits around retail shopping.

The survey data suggests that shopping trends are favoring the brick-and-mortar model, despite perceptions that the rise of e-tailers would jeopardize the physical retail store.“The bottom line is customers value the personal experience of the physical store,” said Gary Ambrosino, CEO of TimeTrade. “We found that shoppers have done their shopping or discovery online, then go into the store to get help with their final purchase decision.”

Given this information, TimeTrade recommends that retailers employ a cross-channel strategy that converts an initial inquiry into a high value, in-store experience. Once in the store, retailers must give customers prompt service with a knowledgeable store associate.

Key Findings

  • Consumers prefer Brick & Mortar over Online Stores: More than 70% of consumers would prefer to shop a brick & mortar Amazon store versus
  • In-store expertise drives purchase volume: 90% of consumers are more likely to buy when helped by a knowledgeable associate
  • In-store purchasing preferences span generations: 92% of responding millennials plan to shop in-store in 2015 as often or more than they did in 2014
  • Mobile purchasing is slow to grow: Only 13% of respondents have previously made a purchase using a mobile device

“With exponential adoption rates of mobile devices, harnessing the opportunity across the customer journey will be the ultimate game changer,” says Sheryl Kingstone, Director at 451 Research. “Retailers need to bridge digital interactions with brick and mortar interactions with new innovative technologies along business process changes.”

“We see retail convergence – the coming together of digital and physical retailing – as a game changing trend,” said Ambrosino. “Traditional e-tailers are opening brick-and-mortar locations because they understand very well the highly personal service they can offer in a store and traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are creating more personal, digital-savvy experiences in the store to better serve today’s shopper.”

We surveyed 2,000 consumers asking in-depth questions regarding their perceptions and behaviors around retail shopping and found startling results. View our findings in our State of Retail 2017 report.

Download the Report.

About TimeTrade 
TimeTrade provides an appointment scheduling SaaS solution to consumer retail, retail banking, health and wellness and higher education customers. PurchasePath™, TimeTrade’s appointment-centric customer experience solution, enables customers to convert digital first touch interactions into a high-value, in-person meeting. PurchasePath™ has driven more than 310 million connections between consumers and businesses, directly translating into more than $3 billion in commerce every year.