Global customers still prefer the magic of in-store

Mood Media, the global leader in elevating customer experiences, just launched its new global study, "The State of Brick & Mortar: 2017,” which reveals consumer insights around the importance of in-store Customer Experience as well as in-store shopping behaviours.   

This unprecedented quantitative study is based on a survey of more than 11,000 consumers in nine countries across the globe, including Australia, China, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.  

It aims to better understand what influences consumers’ decisions to choose brick and mortar over online shopping, what they most enjoy and don’t about the in-store experience and what most motivates them in the physical store. 

Biggest in-store preferences and frustrations 

Of those globally surveyed, 78% cite “the ability to touch, feel and try products” as their number one reason for shopping in brick & mortar. Such sensory stimulation is particularly valued in China and the UK, with more than 8 in 10 citing it as their top reason for shopping-in-store.     

“With modern technology taking over our everyday lives, consumers are craving sensorial experiences and still value highly the stimulation provided by seeing, hearing, touching or smelling, in life as in stores.” says Candeloro. 

Despite traditionally being considered a very British problem, waiting in line actually represents the most frustrating aspect of in-store shopping for consumers worldwide (60%).   

Items or sizes being out of stock was the second most common frustration (50%), particularly among younger shoppers, with a too busy and hectic atmosphere following as third top irritant (47%).   

The importance of in-store music 

Music appears to provide quite the tonic for in-store frustrations, with eight out of ten people globally finding waiting times to be less dull when music is playing. This figure rises to over nine out of ten people in China. 

Music proves particularly influential in the in-store experience, with over 80% of respondents asserting that music makes their shopping experience more enjoyable and lifts their mood. Shoppers most influenced by music while shopping are those in China, the USA, Australia and Netherlands, with over 90% of consumers from each country registering positive emotions. 

Playlists can have a real impact on shoppers’ mood, with 90% of consumers experiencing positive feelings when the right music is playing in a store. Positive feelings include feeling welcome, relaxed and inspired. Countries that describe feeling particularly happy when their favourite tunes are played are Britain (43%) and Australia (49%) while consumers from the Netherlands feel that music is most important in providing a sociable atmosphere (62%). 

Two thirds of those globally surveyed assert that they feel more connected to brands that play the right music. The majority is composed of the youngest generation, which often appear the hardest to engage, while Baby Boomers are the least likely to feel connected to a brand that plays the right music, despite often being considered as the most loyal customers. 

The research finds that there is a direct correlation between the absence of music and negative feeling for consumers, with more than half of respondents globally claiming to feel uncomfortable, angry or depressed when there is no music playing in a shop. This figure rises dramatically for French shoppers with 80% citing feelings of negativity in silent stores.   

A crave for technological innovations 

According to the study, more than three quarters of Generation Z (18-24 years old in our research) consumers from across the globe assert that they would like the opportunity to influence music played in store. 

Of the European countries surveyed, the Spanish are the most enthused about the possibility of being able to influence instore music (43% across all age groups). 

Candeloro says: “We’ve seen the benefit of giving consumers the opportunity to influence the music played within the retail space through our ‘Social Mix’ innovation. This technology gives customers the ability to vote for the songs they would like to be played in-store while they are shopping, which has seen an increase in the amount of time consumers spend in store.” 

Mood’s research also uncovers an increasing worldwide demand for interactive technology to be incorporated into the in-store experience, with more than half of people surveyed enthused by the possibility of being able to receive redeemable promotions on their mobile phones while in store. 

This is particularly true of Chinese consumers, with 85% interested in such mobile offers and over 90% already using their phone in-store. However, this is less important in both France and Germany, where nearly 3 in 5 suggest that they would not be interested in receiving these promotions. 

“Chinese consumers are extremely mobile-oriented, one obvious example being their use of WeChat – the most popular Chinese all-in-one mobile messaging platform, with over 889 million users worldwide. This enables retailers to create their own official accounts and engage directly with their consumers with news, games contests and direct messaging”, says Candeloro.   

“It's has long been the case that retail brands have identified the growing spending power of the Asian consumer and their increasing appetite for shopping the latest trends, both in their local markets but also outside from increased tourism. Our study identifies some of the key influencers that will help retailers truly engage this exciting consumer group”. 

The widespread introduction of mobile promotions would be good news also for consumers in the UK, with bargain-hunting Brits topping the global poll for using their mobile phones to see whether they can find products for a cheaper price elsewhere. 

While digital may well be on the rise, this report unmistakably provides evidence that, on a global scale, consumer’s preferences for the in-store experience are influenced by the sensory experiences on offer. Although cultural differences may endure, the demands from consumers appears to follow a global trend – with retailers having a powerful means in their hands to help them keep their customers in-store, rather than online. 

Valentina Candeloro, Marketing Director, Mood International 

Image Credit: Olesia Bilkei / Shutterstock