Shoppers Want Reinvented Store Experiences

After more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic putting a damper on in-store shopping, consumers are looking for elevated retail experiences.

That’s according to the latest findings from ChaseDesign, which fielded an online survey of 1,000 consumers between 25-55. The research underscores that retailers need to step up their in-store experiences as well as their digital presence. 

The majority of consumers –– 85% –– plan to do more in-store shopping this year compared to 2021. That’s up from the 79% reporting increased visits in 2021. Among the top attractions for in-store shopping, consumers want the ability to choose products in person, see what’s new and take advantage of the store staff’s expertise.

However, in-store shopping shouldn’t stand alone, as consumers are looking for retailers to connect their digital and physical presences. That means leveraging new technology and implementing it in stores that elevate the traditional retail experience.

“Following nearly two years of building e-commerce into their buying patterns, shoppers are demanding a new physical store experience that integrates the digital benefits they’ve gotten used to,” Joe Lampertius, president of ChaseDesign, said in a press release. “This means creating a more convenient, rewarding and fun customer journey through the store.”

Many retailers are already doing this through major transformations and new store concepts. For example, Target has been retrofitting many of its locations to modernize the checkout areas and front of stores with more options for pickup and online orders. Dick’s Sporting Goods and Champs Sports have both created new store formats with large experiential attractions, including sports arenas, for athletes. As the intent for in-store shopping has risen, the demand for online ordering volumes and services like BOPIS are slipping from their 2021 highs, according to the survey. Other retailers are utilizing technology to bridge the gap between digital and physical.

“For retailers, this means maintaining and even boosting their expertise in e-commerce and omnichannel in the context of their physical stores,” Lampertius said. “It’s about having the right information presented to shoppers through the use of apps, QR codes, AR & VR and other digital tech, so the in-store shopping experience can be as dynamic and convenient as online experiences.”

Self-checkout was cited as the most used technology tool at physical stores this year, which means retailers need to adjust to sustain impulse purchases at the checkout line. More than two-thirds of shoppers said they use self-checkout at least occasionally, while 44% use the retailer’s shopping app and 29% use QR codes. That’s up from previous years across the board. 

ChaseDesign singled out Target as the standout retailer in design and experience over the past five years thanks to its investments to create a more relevant and appealing store experience more than five years ago. Costco, Kroger and Dollar General have also been investing in creating a better store experience, while Walmart has become a leader with its app, overtaking Target in having the best app.