MADISON, N.J., Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As retailers opt for events to drive traffic to physical stores, nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults affirm that any retail experience is more likely to bring them to a brick-and-mortar store, according to a Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates survey conducted by Harris Poll and released today.
"We're seeing that Americans still value in-store retail experiences in an increasingly e-commerce world, but brick-and-mortar retailers will need to embrace aspects of online shopping and invest in experiential retail to drive traffic in-store," says Fred Schmidt, president and chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates. "Commercial real estate professionals are taking notice of these two trends and should think about how they will impact the demand for physical space as retailers continue striving for the perfect customer experience."
The survey, which polled Younger Millennials (18-29), Older Millennials (30-34), Gen Xers (ages 35-49) and Boomers (50-69), found that shoppers still value traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experiences. In fact, nearly half of Americans prefer to make purchases in a store instead of shopping online. Furthermore, shoppers want stores to be a hub for convenience and entertainment where experiential retail meets blended retail.
U.S. Consumers Crave Experiential Retail
Today's buyers still crave a traditional shopping experience with tangible perks and memorable events that e-commerce just can't offer beyond the screen. Retail experiences can vary from in-store classes to holiday celebrations, but they always offer customers an incentive to come in-store and experience an event outside of the ordinary shopping trip.
Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of U.S. adults report that any retail experience beyond the normal shopping activity is more likely to bring them to a physical store
Almost 9 in 10 Older Millennials (89 percent) say that any retail experience is more likely to drive them to a physical store, compared to 74 percent of all U.S. adults
Over half of Americans polled (57 percent) say free samples would make them more likely to visit the physical store – by far, the favorite experiential retail experience
Nearly one quarter of Younger Millennials (24 percent) would be more likely to visit a brick-and-mortar store if in-store classes (such as fitness, cooking or art classes) were offered, a trend being driven by the younger generation looking for blended retail and entertainment options
"For years, retailers have offered customers free samples and product demonstrations as a way to drive traffic to the store. Today's expectations are much more complex, leaving retailers in need of more dynamic, open spaces that facilitate the types of experiences consumers want, such as an in-store fitness class," added Schmidt.
Most Popular Retail Experiences by Generation
The survey found that the following types of retail experiences would make consumers across the following generations more likely to visit a physical store:
In general, which of the following types of retail experiences would make you more likely to visit a physical store?
Holiday Themed Events
In-store Classes (e.g. Fitness, Cooking, Art)
In-store Artistic Shows/Displays
U.S. Consumers Want E-Commerce and Brick-and-Mortar to Fuse Seamlessly
Even as online retailers continue to improve speed and convenience, the survey also found that American shoppers still value a traditional in-store experience beyond shopping online. Over one-third of Americans (35 percent) report they are more likely to make purchases online if they have the option to return the items in-store. Similarly, one in five U.S. adults (21 percent) are more likely to shop online if they have the option to pick up their items in-store.
Younger Millennials are significantly more likely (40 percent) to buy online if there is a return in-store option
One-quarter of Older Millennials (25 percent) prefer to buy online if they have the option to pick up the items in store
In order to create seamless shopping experiences, retailers can combine e-commerce and in-store retail to make the physical store a focal point of activity. However, with this trend comes the challenge of space needed to accommodate the logistics of in-store pick-ups and returns.
"Retailers are beginning to invest in off-site warehouses to handle merchandise for in-store transactions involving pick-ups and returns," added Schmidt. "Stockrooms and fulfillment centers will need to be expanded, but despite these challenges, e-commerce can be a huge traffic driver and offer a unique advantage to brick-and-mortar retailers by getting customers through the door."
Methodology This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates from September 14-16, 2016 among 2,069 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
About Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates is a division of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. The Coldwell Banker Commercial brand has been a premier provider of franchised commercial real estate brokerage offices, recognized globally as a company that puts the client first while delivering individual, distinctly different service. Coldwell Banker Commercial affiliates cover territory throughout North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. Coldwell Banker Commercial is an industry leader in providing commercial real estate solutions that serve the needs of tenants, landlords, sellers and buyers in the leasing, acquisition, disposition and management of all property types. Each office is independently owned and operated. Coldwell Banker Commercial® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. For more information, visit: www.cbcworldwide.com.