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In-store shopping still critical for consumers

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grocery shopping
More than 80% of consumers prefer to purchase groceries in-store.

A majority of shoppers are expecting to increase their in-store shopping in the next six months.

 In-store shopping remains a fixture of most consumer’s routines, with more than 80% preferring to purchase groceries in-store and more than 45% choosing to shop in-store at discount, convenience, home improvement and apparel stores, according to a survey by SPAR Group. 

 Seven-in-10 shoppers expect to increase shopping in stores in the next six months, which SPAR says is in line with the most recent U.S. consumer confidence statistics. Walmart ranks as the best shopping experience by 23% of respondents, with consumers ages 25-54 having the strongest positive perceptions, according to the survey.

The ability to try on/demo products, select new products and plan meals are important motivators consumers give for shopping in-store. Once in the store, consumers rate customer service (71%), a speedy checkout (69%) and an engaging atmosphere (51%) as important attributes for a successful shopping experience.

More than half (55%) of consumers say product availability (out of stock, locked product) remains a challenge for stores, while 43% of consumers indicated that not enough store staff is an issue for the shopping experience.

Three-quarters (76%) of consumers reported mobile applications while shopping. Nearly half (47%) use the apps for price check and comparisons, while 40% use them for lookup and promotions, and 35% use them to access or download promotions.

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“Several storylines from the data conclude the need for companies in the industry to be even more dedicated to engaging shoppers at every point in the buying journey, improving inventory management and service levels, especially within the store,” said Mike Matacunas, CEO and president of SPAR Group.

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Four-in-10 say they allow their preferred retailer access to data for a more personalized experience.
  • Females prefer Aldi compared to males who say Costco has a better shopping experience.
  • Nearly six-in-10 (58%) consumers find self-checkout helpful, with females finding coupons and apps more helpful than males.
  • More than four-in-10 (43%) consumers say stores do not have enough staffing, and 55% indicate that product availability and locked products are a negative.
  • Consumers are expecting AI to play a role in product search, checkout and online ordering.

“The next generation of leaders in retail and consumer brands will differentiate on service, both from an in-store and application point of view,” added Matacunas. “Operating a physical store must be reinvented to provide value to today’s consumer. The physical layout, the experience, staffing, product availability and responsiveness need to work in concert.”

SPAR Group fielded the survey through a third-party research firm with more than 1,000 consumers between the ages of 18 and 64. Respondents were screened to be the primary or secondary shopper in their households. 

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