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From Messy Stores to Too Much Tech — 4 Real Reasons People Don’t Shop Brick and Mortar

A shopping mall in New York, USA, 15 May 2019.Daily life in New York, USA - 15 May 2019
The Oculus at Westfield World Trade Center in New York.
Szilard Koszticsak/Rex Shutterstock

Despite shifting consumer preferences and the rise of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar has still found ways to remain relevant.

The proof? A new study by ServiceChannel reported that 86% of shoppers make more than half of their purchases at physical stores. But while retailers may be able to draw customers through their doors, the survey suggested that their ability to keep them in those stores continues to be a challenge.

According to the facilities management platform, which recently released its report on the state of brick-and-mortar, about 70% of shoppers have expressed frustrations with an in-store experience in the last six months.

Surveying upwards of 1,500 shoppers, ServiceChannel found that 64% have walked out due to a place’s messy physical appearance, whether it’s a dirty bathroom or empty shelves. While 84% agreed that physical environment was an important shopping feature, only 18% of respondents believed retailers were delivering satisfactory customer experiences.

“Great retailers today understand that you need a great product, a great brand and a great in-store experience. It’s ‘and,’ not ‘or,'” said ServiceChannel CEO Tom Buiocchi. “Just think of the brands you visit over and over again — they get it — and growing retailers today understand that there are billions of dollars at stake and how valuable their physical locations and experiences are.”

The report also noted the importance of consistently positive store experiences for customers, with 69% of respondents indicating that they would be more likely to shop at a competitor if they have had even a single previously negative experience at a store.

Additionally, four out of five shoppers said they would rather have a clean store than one that prioritizes cutting-edge technology, such as mobile checkout, augmented reality or virtual dressing rooms. A surprising two-thirds think retailers have become “too focused on tech and not the basics.”

Some of the basic amenities cited by surveyed customers include the ability to touch, try on and take home purchases immediately, with two out of five shoppers saying that brick-and-mortar stores are often unshoppable. “Stores should be shoppable before experiential,” the report read, referencing a term that has come to encompass everything from in-store cafés and guest speaker series. “If your store can’t meet these primary desires, no amount of interactive marketing or entertainment will make them loyal.”

Among the retailers that continue to invest in their own brick-and-mortar strategies include e-commerce giant Amazon, digital native Allbirds, big-box chain Targetand even off-price store TJ Maxx. According to ServiceChannel, more than 2,100 stores in the retail sector are expected to open in the coming year.

Watch FN’s interview with these top shoe players.

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Report: Why Shoppers Don't Return to Brick-and-Mortar Retail Stores
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