As part of our ongoing Industry Experts column, we are reprinting a blog posting from Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Analyst for NPD Group. The original post ran here.
“Showcasing” Shakes Up Retail
Ironically, the increasing number of consumers migrating to online shopping has reinforced the importance of brick-and-mortar stores, making them the latest differentiator in the quest for retail share.
A couple of years ago, the buzz was about the potentially negative “showrooming” effect on brick-and-mortar retail, where consumers went to a store to check product out only to go home and order it online.
Today, retailers are setting their sights on “showcasing” products as the future of retail; stores are serving as brand forums where consumers can touch, test, and get up close and personal with a product, to then purchase it on-site for delivery or pick-up a short time later. These showcase stores have a greater assortment of products but a very limited inventory, with purchases shipping from the nearest warehouse.
Though instant gratification is cut out of this in-store equation, consumers are willing to leave empty handed and wait for delivery, with the exception of some commodity or basic items. After all, online shopping has made this the norm, especially among younger consumers.
A recent NPD survey found that consumers are more willing to wait for the products they want – more so than most retailers would expect, in my opinion. Twenty-one percent of consumers stated they are extremely/very likely to shop at a retailer that has a wide variety of merchandise on display, but does not stock the items for purchase, if they provided delivery within two days*. According to the survey, consumers aged 55+ were the only ones to express a lack of willingness to wait two days. Taking this a step further, we see that a consumers’ willingness to wait is not only influenced by age, but by product type.
The bottom line is, consumers ultimately want a smooth, seamless experience for the best possible price, and they are willing to go the extra mile to get it, even if it means waiting another day or two.
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