The number one reason people choose to shop either in-person or online is convenience and not price, according to the results of a new survey released by Continuum, a global design and innovation consultancy. Continuum’s 2012 Service Design Report looked at data from more than 1,000 consumers across the country and uncovered the top reasons they choose whether to shop in-stores or online.
- For convenience (40 percent)
- They don’t trust the quality online (22 percent)
- They don’t want to pay for shipping/returns (17 percent)
- For better prices (17 percent)
- For personal interaction (4 percent)
The top reasons respondents say they shop online are:
- For Convenience (43 percent)
- It is easier to find what they are looking for (29 percent)
- For better prices (25 percent)
- To avoid interaction with employees (3 percent)
The fact that convenience seemed to matter more for shoppers than price was a surprise, given that many large national big box chains have begun to fiercely combat a trend known as ‘showrooming’ where consumers browse a physical store before buying an item online, presumably because it is cheaper. But showrooming is still something that shoppers enjoy with 70 percent saying they found browsing in stores and then finding the product cheaper online was a satisfying experience.
“There is clearly a benefit for retailers to concentrate not only on price but also how they are designing as holistic an experience as possible for their customers to be able to efficiently interact with their brand whether it is in-person or online,” said Craig LaRosa, Principal of Continuum’s Service Design group. “A one-size-fits-all approach does not work when it comes to designing a great customer experience or service.”
The Anatomy of Convenience
In addition to revealing that convenience is the top reason people shop how they do, the study also shows just how difficult it is for retailers to gain an understanding of what convenience means for their customers. For example, there are glaring differences between what satisfies shoppers by gender, age and stage of life.
Sounding-off: 85 percent of respondents felt satisfied complaining in person (15 percent indifferent or dissatisfied) compared to 64 percent who were satisfied complaining online (36 percent indifferent or dissatisfied). However, 91 percent of people over 50 were more likely to complain to store managers face-to-face, compared with 78 percent of those younger than 30 being satisfied with the face-to-face interaction.
Handling Returns: 73 percent of respondents felt satisfied returning items in person (27 percent indifferent or dissatisfied) compared to 13 percent who were satisfied returning an online purchase (87 percent indifferent or dissatisfied). And the study found that the gender of the shopper did impact the level of satisfaction with making returns in-store. For example, 77 percent of female shoppers were satisfied doing returns in person compared to 69 percent of males.
Interacting: While a majority of people enjoyed being greeted when entering a store, there were significant differences in gender and stage of life. The study found that 61 percent of women were satisfied when greeted at the door of a store compared to 54 percent of men. There are also differences in satisfaction between women at different stages of life; 85 percent of moms with kids were satisfied when greeted by a store employee. And the more kids they have, the more they appreciated the interaction.
The findings from Continuum’s Survey Design Report were gathered from a national survey of 1,000 respondents between October 1, 2012 and October 4, 2012. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.