It is becoming harder to persuade millennial shoppers to buy in-store. The main reasons are cheaper pricing online, limited in-store selection, and expectations of unlimited returns.
The conclusions come from a recent 2020 APAC Shopper Study by Zebra Technologies Corporation. The report analyzed the changing attitudes and behaviors of shoppers, retail associates, and retail executives.
Eighty-six percent of surveyed millennial shoppers and 56% of Gen X shoppers say they shopped in a store and left without a purchase only to end up buying the item online. Only 25% of Boomers did the same.
The primary reason: out-of-stock items. Many millennials enter a shop expecting that items they saw online are in-stock, but often leave disappointed when they do not find it.
Price continues to be another significant issue. Almost three in ten (29%) of shoppers left a store because the price did not match the one found online.
Meanwhile, returns are becoming a major headache for both online and brick-and-mortar stores. Millennials expect unlimited returns, and it has become a source of shopper discontent.
Part of the problem with unlimited returns is the perception gap between retailers and shoppers. For example, the study showed that retail executives believe that 80% of shoppers are satisfied with returns. In reality, only 57% of shoppers say they were. So, it is no surprise that 81% of retail executives see managing returns of online orders as a significant challenge.
On an encouraging note, more than half of retailers say they are doing something about it. About 51% of retail executives say they have started or are planning to upgrade their returns management technologies in the next five years. Stores are also doubling as distribution centers, fulfilling online orders to streamline processes, and move services closer to end-customers.
"Our study shows that while better services will help retain current shoppers and attract new ones, retailers need to make sure they have the basics right when it comes to product availability, ease of finding products, returns, and exchanges," says George Pepes, APAC vertical solutions lead for Healthcare and Retail at Zebra Technologies.
“To win with shoppers today, retailers must deliver the seamless, multi-channel experience that customers expect and leverage technology to provide more personalized services for managing inventory and building smarter operations,” he adds.
Today’s shoppers expect technology to drive the in-store experience. These include:
63% wanting to use video touchscreen to locate items, check prices, receive promotions, and scan barcodes.
59% expecting location-based coupons sent based on a shopper's in-store location
58% expecting to use auto-checkout services where they can leave a store without stopping to pay for items
“The reality is that there is no one-size-fits-all technology architecture that will work for every retailer,” says Fang-How, Lim, regional director for Southeast Asia at Zebra Technologies. “There are, however, a set of real-time technologies that have proven to be most impactful when it comes to improving fulfillment speed and accuracy.”