Shopping Bricks and Mortar; Consumers are Very Unhappy


No one who visits a retail store should ever leave without finding what they want.

I don't think it should surprise any of us that frustration with bricks and mortar retailing is growing. The number of store closings over the last few years is indication enough that consumers are taking their business elsewhere — online.

What is a little surprising, however, is just how unhappy consumers are. Omnico, a retail software provider, has surveyed consumer attitudes about bricks and mortar shopping. According to a Yahoo Finance article describing the survey, "92% of U.S. shoppers get frustrated when shopping in a store, with 86% annoyed at waiting for a refund, 52% angry about waiting to pay and 49% ready to boil over if they are unable to find what they want."

As I read the report, I contemplated whether people were always so frustrated. I don't think so. Before e-commerce shopping, there was no alternative. The opportunity cost of going to the store and not finding what you wanted was, without another option, an accepted cost of shopping. Well, not anymore.

Among the reports, findings are that people expect the process to be easier because they know that technology can make a difference. Consumers see it when they shop online, but they don't see it when they visit a store. The Yahoo article puts it this way:

Nearly three-quarters of respondents (74%) say technology will make shopping easier. 86% want to use scan and pay cell phone or tablet apps so they can skip lines and save time, while 82% are ready to use kiosks to make in-store payments quicker and simpler. More than half (52%) say enabling payments at kiosks will improve their experience.

Do providers of bricks and mortar retailing "get it"? I am not so sure. Case in point is a Fast Company article detailing "The 50 best workplaces for innovators." There were no bricks and mortar retailers on the list.

There will always be retail stores, but there is not going to be anywhere as many as there are today, much less a few years ago. Those that are left are going to be the ones that worry less about being a fun and entertaining place to be and more about making the purchasing experience as quick and as easy as possible. And that means that no one who visits a retail store should ever leave without finding what they want.


One thought

  1. Everything in today’s life is about pace. Consumers act on speed. So time/timing is everything. Consumers “produce” way more in the limited time they have compared to let’s say 20 years ago. In most brick and mortar stores very little about speed. The process is simply different: starting with getting there, finding a parking spot, walking the isles, trying to find what you need etc. And then in most case service is not up to standards. Add it all up and you get what this survey is concluding. I would like to see a new survey why people still go to brick & mortar stores.

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