Over the past decade, retailers were concerned that the growth of e-Commerce would eventually render the in-store experience obsolete. However, year after year, customers continue to visit brick-and-mortar stores to shop — especially during the holidays.
A new study from Harris Interactive, confirms that brick-and-mortar stores will be the channel of choice for holiday shoppers, with 88% of consumers saying they will visit physical stores. Although brick-and-mortar is expected to acquire the largest share of sales, the survey, titled: Consumer Shopper Behaviors On Black Friday, also noted that 75% of consumers plan to shop online, while 16% will shop on their mobile devices.
However, the physical retail experience is not without flaws, according to the survey. Consumers expressed four major concerns regarding their brick-and-mortar shopping trips:
- Large crowds (42%);
- Long checkout lines (29%);
- Items being out of stock (15%); and
- Insufficient staffing (7%).
Harris Interactive conducted the online survey on behalf of Aerohive Networks, a cloud-based Wi-Fi and routing solutions provider, and analytic software provider Euclid. A total of 2,022 participants across the U.S. were asked a series of questions related to Black Friday shopping sentiment and concerns.
Demographics Influence In-Store Shopping Issues
Demographics play a major role when it comes to shoppers’ specific concerns. For example, the survey showed that more than half of women (51%) between the ages of 35 and 44 were most worried about excessive crowds in the store, but only 2% were concerned about understaffed stores. Conversely, 36% of men between 35 and 44 years old said they were most worried about line length, while 30% of men aged 18 to 34 were more concerned about items not being in stock.
In-store shopping concerns also varied based on shoppers’ education and employment backgrounds. While half of college graduates worried about how in-store crowding, only 39% of people without a college degree shared the sentiment.
Interestingly, many retail employees express similar concerns. As many as 44% of full-time store associates are worried about crowds and less than one third (32%) are worried about long lines. Perhaps most importantly, just 15% of employees indicated that they were concerned about products being out of stock.