How to get consumers back into brick-and-mortar locations 


How to get consumers back into brick-and-mortar locations 

The way consumers shop has shifted greatly in the past few years. Many shoppers opt to pay others to shop for them or have goods delivered to their doorstep instead of entering a store. As companies re-imagine the future of brick-and-mortar stores, NielsenIQ analyzed what services and benefits grocery retailers can offer to attract customers to shop at their stores. Here are the results. 

When asked about in-store benefits they would most prefer, the answer was unanimous across consumer segments: free snacks, coffee, and tea available while they shop. Customers indicated that benefits such as free refreshments are more likely to impact their shopping habits—such as encouraging them to shop more frequently or preventing them from switching to other retailers—than other benefits like in-store product demos or shopping carts with phone chargers.  

Overall, benefit-based ideas see higher rankings from shoppers than service-based ideas 

Customers like benefits that complement their in-store shopping experience and make them more enjoyable or convenient. Some benefits that stand out across shopper groups are ‘scan-as-you-go,’ carts with phone chargers, and in-app inventory. In-store services like in-store dog groomers and in-store nail salons tend to be less meaningful and motivating to customers when they’re considering where to shop for groceries.  

Different groups have varying views when it comes to shopping benefits

NielsenIQ split surveyed consumers into three demographics—rural, suburban, and urban—to get a sense of what the different groups prioritize based on their environment. Though the three demographics had very similar top priorities, they had varying views on what’s considered “new and different.” For urban and suburban consumers, shopping carts with phone charging capabilities are seen as the most new and different benefit. For rural consumers, free coffee and tea while you shop is seen as the novel in-store concept, and drives almost 2.5 times more intent to shop than the average in-store perk. 

For in-store only shoppers versus shoppers that use a variety of methods to shop, what entices them into the store varies

For in-store only shoppers, “sip and shop” is seen as the most new and different in-store perk, though it didn’t sway consumers to shop more frequently. For omni-shoppers (consumers using a variety of methods to shop), shopping carts with phone charging capabilities are the most new and different but are less likely to drive shopping intent than other perks like free drinks, free snacks, and a scan-and-go option.

How the state of the economy is limiting some shoppers 

When prioritizing where to shop, price is the most important factor across groups. That being said, physical location and in-stock also play a role, especially for urban and omni-shoppers. With the current economic environment—namely gas prices—some shoppers are opting to shop more at their closest grocery retailer and condense the number of trips they take into these stores, though an average of 25% of customers say that prices are not impacting how they shop.  

With this, are new benefits and services enough to get consumers back in stores? Whether it’s free coffee or a complimentary car wash, retailers should be willing to try a variety of benefit and service options in order to entice shoppers back in-store.