Customers demand digital-style experiences in physical retail stores
A Bazaarvoice survey finds that customers and retailers largely agree that the in-store experience needs digital components.
The latest “State of Retail” report from product review and UGC platform Bazaarvoice shows that almost half of consumers are now looking for in-store experiences to reflect the kinds of experiences they enjoy online and especially on social media. Among the desired technological enhancements to in-person shopping were:
- Interactive screens;
- No-checkout options powered by cameras or sensors;
- QR codes that can be scanned to read customer reviews;
- Virtual customer service interactions in-store; and
- AR technology for virtual try-ons.
These “wants” were recognized by retailers too, many of whom are planning to meet these needs. Shoppers and retailers were also in alignment when it came to identifying negative experiences for customers. These include not only price increases and bad previous experiences, but also:
- Bad media coverage;
- Negative reports from friends;
- Lack of sustainable initiatives; and
- Negative reviews on social media.
Interestingly, it mattered little whether the negative review came from someone the shopper follows on social media or someone they don’t (one percentage point). Bazaarvoice surveyed 8,000 consumers worldwide and 500 retail industry decision-makers.
Why we care. This is another harbinger of changing shopper behavior. Having become, by necessity, accustomed to the online shopping experience, shoppers are now looking to transport some of its benefits to brick-and-mortar shopping. We’ve long said that brick-and-mortar wasn’t over but that it would become a hybrid digital/physical experience. No surprise that the pandemic is accelerating that.
Bazaarvoice, of course, has a stake in retailers offering customer-generated content like reviews and images, but there are other kinds of experiences talked up in the survey too.