In-location experience is key to re-building brand loyalty.
In-location experiences come with a fair share of challenges for brands. While most consumers remained confined to their homes for the better part of 2020, this year will be very different for retailers. Raydiant’s new report titled State of Consumer Behavior 2021 offers new insights on retail trends that brands must watch out for this year.
It does not come as a surprise that 46% of customers prefer shopping in-stores than online. After all, shopping is an experience in itself. In some instances, shopping can also be a very social experience â€“ something that people value immensely in the age of social distancing. 33% of customers indicated that they like shopping at physical stores because they can look and feel the products, and 26% state that they enjoy the overall experience.
However, the fact remains that the pandemic disrupted retail in a big way. 40% of customers said that they visited physical stores less often in the past year. This has also impacted brand loyalty. 48% of customers said they chose a replacement over their usual preference due to better online alternatives. Convenience has emerged as a top priority for customers â€“ 25% said they switch brands more often today than ever before.
But brands have an opportunity to bring back customers in stores. 29.8% of customers stated that in-location customer service has improved since the past year. Additionally, positive offline experiences are the most significant factor in influencing customers’ decision to return to physical stores.
Over 60% of consumers have changed brand loyalties due to poor in-location experiences.
Understand that customers seek better in-location experiences, and delivering these experiences require retailers to think about experience differently. Customer experience is an investment that pays off in brand loyalty, higher sales, and better brand perception. The data is clear â€“ providing an exceptional in-location experience has very real benefits for retailers.
The study found that customers who have had a positive experience at a physical store have spent more. Moreover, a positive off-line experience also leads to better online sales performance. 65% of customers indicated that they were more likely to interact with a brand online if they had a positive in-location experience.
What Does This Mean for Marketers?
Customer experience is undoubtedly key to brands’ competitive advantage in 2021. Despite the changes in customer behavior over the past year, shopping preferences can change, given the right environment and experiences. For instance, 70% of customers said that they were likely to purchase groceries from physical stores. Over 64% said they would buy medicines from physical stores as well. The trend is similar for alcohol and household supplies. This means brands have an opportunity to convert customers in-location by delivering better experiences.
The study also suggests that customer attitudes towards in-location experiences will remain similar through 2021. A big difference is that once vaccination programs pick up the pace, customers will be more open to participating in physical experiences such as visiting restaurants, clothing stores, and electronic stores.
Businesses that can leverage this opportunity by integrating experiential elements into customer interactions will perform better than those that don’t. Investing in in-location experiences can help businesses provide customers what they cannot get elsewhere.