Mercator: Customers Still Turning to Stores in Large Numbers
It would be easy to think that the brick-and-mortar shopping experience is going away, what with all the new online alternatives we’ve got these days. Mobile shopping—backed up by mobile payments—certainly doesn’t help. A new report out from the Mercator Advisory Group, meanwhile, makes it clear that the brick-and-mortar store isn’t dead, only just a bit altered for its brush with online and mobile.
The new Mercator report—The Merchant Experience—is focused on a group of 3,002 (yes, exactly) surveyed last February. The report tackled the experiences consumers had with merchants across several different vectors, including in-store, online, and in mixed channel operations.
The first report, meanwhile, found that consumer shopping behavior tends to focus on stores despite the growth in online shopping. This means that anyone looking to close storefronts in favor of online operations—like banks have been seen doing in force lately—will likely lose out on potential sales. Churn, meanwhile, is a big factor in things; customers are nearly equal in saying they use online more than in-store and in-store more than online. It’s vital to cover both sides.
One of the biggest changes is that customers will do more research online before pulling the trigger on a purchase. Plus, when it comes to customer ratings, the most important weighting factors have little to do with overall aesthetics or amenities, or even social experiences. Customers are looking for the basics of a good transaction more than anything when shopping, pretty much everywhere they shop.
Basically, businesses must remember to keep their operations mixed, and mixed well. Focusing on one over the other will only ensure alienation of a large chunk of market, and that’s the kind of thing that costs money in the long run. In the short run too, really. The basics also prove important going forward, as that’s what customers are most looking for. Keeping everything else properly refined will only help ensure that the maximum customer reach is achieved; the basics are what keep the largest chunk of market in play.
Businesses have a lot on their plate these days, managing experiences and providing the best of all worlds to the most customers. Striking the right balance should result in the best mix of mobile payments users, regular shoppers, and most everyone in between.