In-Store’s Biggest Advantage? Consumers’ Senses

Majority say evaluating potential purchases in person is an in-store perk

Author: Jen King

July 17, 2018

Although there’s plenty of reasons to shop digitally, some in-store elements can’t be replicated online.

A May 2018 survey from artificial intelligence (AI)-powered search platform Adeptmind asked 1,002 US internet users what they consider to be the biggest perk of shopping in-store. 

While some said it's in-person assistance or preferring to pay with cash—touch points that are exclusive to physical stores—respondents overwhelmingly agreed that the main appeal of in-store shopping is what ecommerce lacks: the ability to see and feel an item. 

Nearly 75% of respondents said it’s better to evaluate a product for fit, quality or size in person than online.

Sound familiar? Other studies, like those from "The eMarketer Ecommerce Insights Report" conducted by Bizrate Insights or from Murphy Research, came to similar conclusions. 

The former found that while more consumers may be shopping digitally, many purchases are still happening in-store. Across the various categories mentioned—ranging from food and beverage to clothing and footwear—in-store shopping was still preferred by most. Meanwhile, Murphy Research found that online shopping is becoming more and more of a mainstream activity, but that more buying journeys still end offline

Ultimately, there are a variety of reasons why some consumers shop in-store, and why others do so digitally. A survey by digital retail display company June20, conducted by Propeller Insights, looked at the pros and cons of both and found many consumers shop online to avoid waiting in line. Meanwhile, others find in-store shopping more satisfying because they don't have to wait days to receive a product they ordered.