Ninety percent of consumers prefer shopping in brick and mortars and more than half of online retail sales are captured by brick and mortars, according to the "Omnichannel Shopping Preferences Study" by A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm.
The study found that stores play a crucial role in online purchases, as two thirds of customers purchasing online use a physical store before or after the transaction. The store makes a significant contribution to converting the sale, even though the transaction is eventually registered online. The source of value creation (i.e., brand building and product awareness) is often distinct from the place of value capture (i.e., sales transaction).
"A strategy based on leveraging the appeal of the physical store supported by digital is the best formula for capturing the maximum number of sales, building sustainable customer loyalty and creating opportunities to cross-sell," said Michael Brown, A.T. Kearney partner and study co-author.
The survey asked respondents to rank the channels they used in each stage of the Shopping Journey–Discovery, Trial and Test, Purchase, Delivery or Pickup, and Returns. The study results provide retailers with insight into how channel preference differs by category and demographic cohort as well as understand why developing an integrated omnichannel experience is pivotal to retail success.
The analysis of the survey results shows that most shopping experiences are journeys that span multiple channels. Consumer channel preference varies by stage in the shopping journey, although the most common preferred shopping journey is exclusively store-based for each stage. Fifty-five percent of consumers in the survey prefer to use both stores and online throughout the entire journey.
"Whatever the strategy, format or channel, the future of retailing will be characterized by consumer-centricity as operators continue to capitalize on emerging opportunities to better serve the customer demands for 'anything, anytime, anywhere,'" said Andres Mendoza Pena, A.T. Kearney principal and study co-author.
The A.T. Kearney Omnichannel Shopping Preferences Study was based on a survey of 2,500 U.S. shoppers. Respondents were asked about their shopping preferences and behaviors. The survey covered all age segments—teens, millennials, generation X, baby boomers and seniors.
[Logo courtesy of A.T. Kearney]