Where do customers prefer to shop – online or in-store?
Do they want to see robots in stationary retail?
What are consumers buying when using voice commerce?
In retail we know how important it is to keep tabs on consumers’ payment preferences and shopping habits – and how difficult a task that can be, with technology, tools, and tastes constantly changing. So recently our Wirecard North America team asked more than 500 US consumers about their shopping habits. We were curious about where they shop – how much do they shop online? How often do they step inside a store, and for what? How do they use all the devices now available to assist them in their shopping experiences? And how open are they to advancements in personalization, augmented reality, and other digital modes of shopping and payment?
What they said surprised us. Read on to find out the five most important insights.
And here to download our Wirecard report "Retail Payments 2019" for free
1. 58% of all respondents prefer shopping in-store
This is good news for brick-and-mortar retailers – most people like the in-store shopping experience best. Also noteworthy: Consumers ages 18 to 24 – known as Generation Z – prefer in-store and online shopping equally, at 46 percent each.
2. Consumers wish retailers would do something about long lines, crowds, and limited selection
Although a majority of shoppers are rather satisfied with their in-store experience, physical retail does have its down sides.
IoT-driven merchant solutions address many of these frustrations. Connected commerce and seamless payments on a digital platform, for instance, enable retailers to track inventory across locations in real time and deliver an item that’s sold out in one location to the customers’ home from the company’s warehouse or other locations.
3. The mobile shopping experience is top-of-mind for all consumers – but retailers are too slow to adopt technology
More than one-third of respondents (34 percent) would choose to shop in-store if merchants offered a mobile and physical connected commerce experience.
In general, consumers are interested in new technologies such as AI and VR – yet currently, more than half of respondents (56 percent) don’t see stores adopting them.
4. Robots? Maybe ...
We asked consumers whether they trust a robot to shop for them if it understood their needs and preferences. Younger respondents are most trusting of robots, so in the near future, intelligent shopping bots for consumers might become an interesting option for brick-and-mortar retailers.
5. Voice commerce via smart speaker is breaking into the mainstream
The “robots” many consumers are comfortable with are the ones in their homes: Siri, Echo, Alexa, Google Home. Nearly 40 percent said they use them for shopping, and 1 out of 4 use them at least once a month.
While most smart-speaker users use their devices to buy the kinds of things they routinely replenish, such as household supplies, groceries, and health and beauty products, they also use them to buy electronics.
6. No cash please – cards are still the way to pay in the US
A vast majority – more than 87 percent – of respondents said their primary payment method is plastic credit and debit cards. Only 7.6 percent prefer cash.
Our big takeaway: convenience is king
No matter what technology consumers shop with or where they shop, the usage and adoption rates are highest when the convenience factor is high, too. For example, when people use smart devices, they mostly buy everyday goods.
When they are unhappy with their in-store shopping, it’s because they have to stand in long lines or can’t find what they are looking for. It’s no surprise that 62 percent of respondents said convenience is the main reason they shop online.
Digital payment and retail solutions address all of these concerns, offering the right technology to make payment and shopping – online, in-store, mobile – convenient, fast, and personalized – and sometimes even invisible. Retailers with physical stores are smart to invest in adequate digital solutions that offer a high level of convenience for their customers – so they will happily return.