A recent Mood Media survey of over 11,000 shoppers examined consumer preferences when shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. Predictably, 72% of U.S. consumers said they made the trip to a physical location in order to touch and feel the products.
The study also delved deeply into how the atmosphere affects a shopper’s experience, finding that the majority of U.S. consumers thought music made the shopping experience more enjoyable (84%), improved their mood (81%), and made them “feel like it’s a brand they can relate and connect to" (70%).
The study also revealed some of the largest in-store frustrations that American consumers face when they do choose to make the trip to a physical store. Leading the pack for brick-and-mortar annoyances was “waiting in line” (60%), followed by items or sizes being out of stock (47%).
While the advantages of being able to see, touch and feel products is well-documented, including in Retail Dive’s own consumer survey, Mood Media’s study reveals important information for retailers looking to tweak their brick-and-mortar image to better fit the needs and wants of consumers.
In particular, the study reveals how important atmosphere can be, especially for younger consumers. According to Mood Media, one in three U.S. consumers aged 18-24 cite the “atmosphere and experience” of a store as their top reason for shopping in-store versus online. With many big box retailers posting uninspiring shopping experiences, a focus on in-store strategy is important, especially with the number of U.S. consumers compelled by in-store music and atmosphere.
Importantly, it’s the youth who are leading the charge for better in-store experiences. In addition to preferring physical stores, millennials in particular are seeking out brands with which they feel an emotional connection, signaling the importance of a physical strategy that focuses on the consumer. Indeed, if brick-and-mortar stores want to appeal to — and gain the loyalty of — younger generations, it seems necessary to personalize the store experience.
For this reason, Mood Media’s findings concerning the effects of in-store music on consumers are particularly illuminating. According to the study, in-store music could not only make the shopping experience for consumers more enjoyable, but also lead to more customer engagement, as almost half of U.S. consumers (46%) expressed interest in influencing store music selection.
In a retail landscape that is moving ever-closer to personalized, customer-centric experiences, brick-and-mortar stores that want to survive will need to create an experience that truly caters to the customer. As Mood Media’s study reveals, consumer interest is still very much alive for in-store shopping experiences and, were it not for long lines and out-of-stock items, the numbers would probably be even higher.