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Brick-and-Mortar Retail Is on the Rebound

EY consumer survey finds more shoppers seeking human interaction, hands-on experiences.

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Brick-and-Mortar Retail Is on the Rebound
The ability to touch and try on merchandise is a big part of in-store shopping’s appeal. PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO

There’s still value in going to the store. That’s one of the major conclusions contained in 14th edition of the EY Future Consumer Index (FCI), a global study surveying 23,000 consumers across 30 countries, including 1500 in the U.S.

“Contrary to pandemic behavior, where the shift to online was immediate and widespread, today we’re seeing a notable pivot away from online-first shopping behavior,” the report states.

More specifically, when asked about the main drivers to in-store shopping, 59% of consumers said they make the trip in-store for the purpose of seeing, touching and trying items before making a purchase, while 57% noted a desire to skip shipping.

“What’s more, consumers have begun to increasingly value human interaction during their post-purchase journey,” the study notes. “More than half (56%) of US consumers noted interacting with humans to be extremely important during product returns and refunds, and an additional 55% found it extremely important when looking to discuss questions or concerns about a product they already bought.”

Other notable findings from the survey include:

  • 77% of U.S. consumers think their lives are the same or better now than 3-4 months ago.
  • 49% of American consumers will download a brand’s app to receive loyalty promotions or exclusive deals.
  • 56% of US consumers found it extremely important to interact with humans during product returns and refunds.

Click here for more from the EY study.

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Alex and Gladys Rysman are the third generation to run Romm Jewelers in Brockton, Mass. And after many decades of service to the industry and their community, it was time to close the store and take advantage of some downtime. With three grown children who each had their own careers outside of the industry, they decided to call Wilkerson. Then, the Rysmans did what every jeweler should do: They called other retailers and asked about their own Wilkerson experience. “They all told us what a great experience it was and that’s what made us go with Wilkerson.” says Gladys Rysman. The results? Alex Rysman says he was impressed. “We exceeded whatever I expected to do by a large margin.”

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