Gen Z and Millennials are big on physical stores — even more so than their older counterparts.
That’s one of the findings of a new research study by insights firm iModerate in which 74% of all respondents said it is important for brands to have a physical location rather than solely selling online. Interestingly, 80% of Gen Zers and 82% of Millennials respondents said it is important, compared to 69% of Gen Xers and 65% of Boomers.
One of the biggest lures for in-store shopping is the assurance that comes from seeing, feeling and trying on merchandise, particularly items such as clothing, shoes and cosmetics, according to the study. This is especially true for first-time buying experiences.
“One of brick-and-mortar’s greatest advantages over other channels is that there’s an opportunity for shoppers to interact with products, and that gives them the confidence they need to make a purchase,” said iModerate CMO Adam Rossow. “Retailers can take even small steps to capitalize on these exploratory shopping habits, such as creating close-up experiences with new styles, providing samples and demos, and ensuring there are ample mirrors and fitting rooms.”
Big Box Stores: The study noted that while big-box chains are likely affected by e-commerce more than other types of stores because they sell commodity products, they still appeal to busy shoppers who want quick, one-stop-shopping.
iModerate identified three factors that can tip the scales in either direction for big-box shoppers, and lead to different perceptions of the same brand:
• Personnel: Big-box stores are often well staffed, but consumers complain that sales associates lack product knowledge.
• Convenience: Although they carry a wide array of products, consumers find inconsistency with selection, layout, maintenance and management within each store, causing them to spend more time shopping than they’d like.
• Layout: Larger stores with wider aisles allow for easier navigation, but these cavernous spaces can feel cluttered and dirty when not well maintained.
“When it comes to big-box stores, providing a consistent brand experience across every store is essential,” said Rossow. “Retailers should identify the locations that best uphold their brand promise, figure out what consumers love about them, and implement those best practices across all of their locations to the best of their ability.”
The study also revealed that each generation is looking to get something different from their store visits:
• Gen Z: Seeks the reassurance found through the sensorial. Stores like Forever 21 enable them to try on various sizes and styles that are difficult to perfect online, and brands such as Sephora offer samples and demos.
• Millennials: Seek efficiency and quality. Many are launching careers and have young families so they need to shop frequently, and favor big-box stores for their ability to quickly find everything they need in one place.
• Gen X: Seeks an escape and discoveries.
• Boomers: Seek comfort and space. They also value low music, light scents and seating.
iModerate conducted the survey with 844 consumers who ranged in age from 15 to over 65, and who shop in a store or online at least monthly.