Consumers have returned to shopping at physical retail stores in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they aren’t necessarily happy with what they’ve found.
According to the Theatro study, 91% of consumers said they do at least half of all their shopping in physical retail stores versus online, with almost two-thirds saying they do most, at 37%, or all, at 27%, of their shopping in stores. Retail store shopping is a weekly event for 87% of study participants, Theatro noted, while just under a third of consumers said they shop in retail stores either once daily, at 19%, or multiple times per day, at 13%.
During the most recent holiday shopping season, consumers reported a variety of poor experiences with retail employees including lack of helpfulness or willingness to assist, at 39%, rude or unprofessional behavior, at 39%, and lack of product knowledge or expertise, at 34%. Study participants said they were most likely to have an unpleasant experience at supermarkets, at 38%, followed by department stores, at 34%, and convenience stores, at 30%.
“Consumers prefer physical retail for lots of reasons, such as the ability to see and feel products before buying them, and the immediate gratification of taking a product home,” said Chris Todd, Theatro CEO, in announcing the study. “But they’ve also become even more accustomed to the benefits of e-commerce, such as convenience and the ability to research products and get questions answered quickly. Retailers must respond to these heightened expectations or suffer the consequences of decreased shopper satisfaction and, ultimately, sales.”