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Shoppers still want physical stores

News, 19 May 2015
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BOSTON: There is no doubt that consumers have taken to mobile shopping, but a new report has found the majority still prefer to buy in bricks and mortar stores, suggesting "retail convergence" is a growing trend.

According to a survey of more than 1,000 US consumers by TimeTrade, a customer experience firm, only 13% use their mobile device to purchase when shopping.

It seems the pull of the in-store, personalised experience lies behind this decision as a full 65% say that if a product is available online or in a nearby store, then they would prefer to visit the physical store.

This is so they can actually touch and feel an item, according to Betanews, which said American shoppers are using mobile devices mainly for research.

This is borne out by the survey's finding that mobile is used by 50% to research products and compare prices and by 46% to find the nearest physical store.

Among millennials, or those aged 18 to 34, 92% say they intend to shop in-store in 2015 as often or more than they did in 2014.

The same proportion (92%) of this age group say they know exactly what they want when they go into a store following their research online.

Crucially, 87% of millennials will buy more than they intended when in a physical store. Also, the importance of knowledgeable sales staff should not be underestimated because 90% of all consumers say that aspect of the shopping experience would make them more likely to buy.

Based on this evidence, TimeTrade urged retailers to adopt a cross-channel strategy to bridge the worlds of digital and physical retailing, so that initial online inquiries are converted into a high value, in-store experience.

"The bottom line is customers value the personal experience of the physical store," said Gary Ambrosino, CEO of TimeTrade. "We found that shoppers have done their shopping or discovery online, then go into the store to get help with their final purchase decision."

Data sourced from TimeTrade, betanews; additional content by Warc staff

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