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In our third-annual State of Retail survey, TimeTrade asked consumers what they like—and don’t like—about shopping in stores.

As in prior surveys, the popularity of in-store shopping remains strong, with 84 percent of respondents indicating they would do as much, if not more, of their total non-grocery shopping in stores this year.

The main reason for the continuing popularity of in-store shopping is consumers like to touch and feel products before they purchase. So until virtual reality makes that possible from home while wearing a headset, brick-and-mortar stores continue to have a strong pull for shoppers.

But there are plenty of areas where stores can up their game in order to make consumers’ shopping experiences even more pleasant—and lucrative for retailers. Take a look at this State of Retail 2017 infographic to see exactly where stores are performing well and where they have room for improvement, as they continue to battle online sellers for the minds, hearts and dollars of increasingly choosy consumers.

Download the full State of Retail 2017 survey report.

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When it’s time for me to buy new running shoes, I research new models online, then go into the store to try them on. I always buy the same brand, but every year the new models have a different look and feel. I like to go into the store to see how they fit and talk to the store associate about features. At TimeTrade, we recently conducted a retail survey of over 1,000 consumers which revealed similar sentiment, as 85% of respondents report they like to shop in the store because they like to ‘touch and feel’ products. As further discussed in our State of the Retail 2015 report, this reveals the paradigm shift in consumer buying behavior as shoppers do most of their shopping or “discovery” online, then go into the store for final purchasing decisions. Even traditional e-tail giants such as Amazon and Warby Parker are aware of this shift as they are opening physical store locations. This supports the notion of retail convergence, or the converging of the online and physical store. Leading retailers are aware of these changes in buying behavior and provide an omni-channel experience that addresses the whole customer journey, not just certain channels. To learn more results from our retail survey and more in-depth analysis about the state of retail, you may attend my webinar which will be held Tuesday, June 2nd at 2:00 pm EST.  The prospect of online shopping wiping out bricks and mortar retail is looking more like urban legend than reality. According to a new report “The State of Retail 2015,” a great majority of shoppers would prefer to shop in an Amazon physical store versus Q: If you had the choice, would you shop at an Amazon retail store or A: A majority – over 70% – said they prefer a store.    And 65% of these folks said they if an item is available online AND in a nearby store, they would prefer to shop in a store. What’s going on here ?  Wasn’t online shopping and e-commerce supposed to permanently change the way consumers buy things ? Not according to these folks. They were very specific about why they want to shop in a store: Q: Why do you prefer shopping in a store versus online ? A: The store has important things I can’t get online: The main driver for retail convergence is a change in purchase behavior that continues to include the in-store experience as a main factor in the purchase decision. For more details you can find the full report and survey results in “The State of Retail 2015” free download.Since the Internet first became mainstream, I have heard stories about the “death of traditional retail.” Analysts and industry pundits have long predicted how traditional brick-and-mortar retailers would ‘go the way of dinosaur’ in favor of their online counterparts. A recent TimeTrade research report, The State of Retail, suggests that these opinions are far from the reality by shedding light on consumers Despite the hype around e-commerce and online shopping, consumers still look to shop in the physical store. TimeTrade’s study investigates consumer preferences and features data collected from a survey of over 1,000 consumers focusing on their perceptions and habits around retail shopping. Here are some of the highlights:
  • 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
The survey data suggests that consumer retail shopping trends are favoring the brick-and-mortar model, despite perceptions that the rise of e-tailers would jeopardize the physical retail store. One Inc. article points out that even traditional e-tailers such as Amazon and Warby Parker are realizing the importance of the in-store experience as they open physical locations. The findings of the report are clear: Consumers prefer buying in-store vs online. Given this information, the study suggests that retailers employ an omni-channel strategy that converts an initial online inquiry into a high-value, in-store experience. Once in the store, retailers must give customers prompt service with a knowledgeable store associate. To read the full TimeTrade report, visit   Photo attribution: Public.Resource.Org, Used under a creative commons licenseThere’s a lot of talk about the “massive transformation” in retail, but small changes can pay off big for brands. When retailers are agile enough to make fast fixes, they build instant credibility – and trust – with shoppers while paving the way for long-lasting success and sales. TimeTrade asked more than 1,000 consumers about their relationships with retail brands – what’s working, what’s not and most importantly, how retailers can improve. The survey revealed two ways that retailers can get more shoppers through store doors and back out with more purchases in hand, eager to return again.
  1. Deliver exactly what ready-to-buy shoppers need in store. That starts before they even step foot in a store; retailers need to entice consumers, yet 95% of consumers surveyed receive irrelevant retail offers. After a bad experience with a sales rep, more than 20% of consumers leave the store without purchasing anything, and another 20% said they’d never return. Luckily, shoppers don’t have unrealistic expectations; they just want fast, smart guidance to make a final purchase decision. And when they get that help, 93% are more likely to buy.
  2. Uncover the blind spots leaving retailers in the dark. What happens on the store floor is often a black hole in retail intelligence. When consumers have bad experiences, nearly 70% of shoppers won’t tell a manager, so retailers don’t know why they are losing sales and can’t react in real-time to fix the problems. However, consumers are ready to help crack the code. More than 80% of respondents are willing to fill out email surveys, so retailers can get it right.
Skeptical, jaded consumers are ready to be impressed with standout shopping experiences that are too often few and far between today. The first step for retailers: getting the insights they need about their customers, at every stage of the buying cycle. Get three more tips and the full consumer survey findings today.