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Survey: Shoppers want easy returns, mobile and self-checkout

customer and store employee
A new Zebra Technologies study shows satisfaction with store associates. (Photo: Business Wire)

Customers are returning to stores, but they want an omnichannel experience while they are there.

Most (76%) consumers want to get in and out of a brick-and-mortar store as quickly as possible, according to the 15th Annual Global Shopper Study from Zebra Technologies Corp. Forty-three percent of respondents prefer paying with a mobile device/smartphone (up 23 percentage points since Zebra’s 2019 edition of the survey) and half prefer self-checkout (up 19 percentage points since 2019).

Meanwhile, consumer preference for a traditional checkout register staffed by a person has declined 20 percentage points since 2019. Seven in 10 respondents prefer shopping both in-store and online, and favor online retailers that also have brick-and-mortar locations.

Three in four respondents prefer the option to have items delivered, and 64% prefer retailers that offer in-store or curbside pick-up. More than 80% of respondents, including 90% of millennial respondents, use mobile ordering, and 70% of respondents want more retailers to offer it.

Other interesting findings include:

  • 80% of respondents prioritize their spending with retailers that offer easy returns.
  • More than 50% of respondents use their smartphones to check for sales, specials, and coupons.
  • Almost half of respondents have used self-checkouts, and almost 40% have used cashless payment methods.
  • Three-quarters (76%) of respondents leave a store without the items they intended to purchase, with 49% blaming out-of-stocks.
  • Seven in 10 respondents are satisfied with help from retail associates, compared to only 37% in 2007.
  • Nearly 75% of respondents say inflation has caused them to delay purchases, and 68% are concerned about having to reduce spending to make ends meet.

Zebra also surveyed store associates and retailers about customer experience. Notable data points include:

  • 80% of retailer respondents say maintaining real-time visibility of out-of-stocks is a significant challenge, and they need better inventory management tools for accuracy and availability.
  • Most surveyed associates (78%) and retailers (84%) agree that stores leveraging retail technology and mobile devices attract and retain more store associates.
  • Nearly half of retailers surveyed are converting space in their stores for order pick-up.

“Shoppers don’t see channels, they see one shopping experience however they shop,” said Matthew Guiste, retail industry lead, Zebra Technologies. “The days of siloed, omnichannel operations are out of step with how people shop today. A unified commerce approach can help retailers meet shoppers how they shop—online, in-store, social, mobile, or any combination—and improve their overall experience.”

Consumers like brick-and-mortar immediacy
A recent study conducted by OnePoll revealed that consumers who prefer to shop in-store do so for a variety of reasons, with instant gratification a top motivator (33%), followed by having better sales or deals in person (26%), having better deals in-store than online (26%), and being able to secure items ahead of time (23%).

When asked what online shopping features they wished they could bring into a store with them, respondents to the OnePoll survey said they’d like to see where items are located in-store (51%) and use promo codes/digital coupons (47%).

Zebra’s 15th Annual Global Shopper Study surveyed more than 4,200 shoppers, store associates and retail decision-makers globally to gauge the opinions and expectations on today’s shopper experience, technology usage and fulfillment in June – July 2022. The survey was conducted by Azure Knowledge Corporation.

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