top of page

Why In-Store Experience is Irreplaceable

Starbucks has introduced pickup-only stores that lets customers order ahead through the chain’s mobile app and pick up their orders in-store, offering unique customer experience.

The retail industry has been continuously transforming in recent years, especially with the development of e-commerce. Compared to what was available to customers 50 years ago, so many more options for shopping destinations are available to today’s customers. Nowadays, customers can get food, clothes, and household goods delivered to their door with just a few clicks online. Many retailers are anxious that their stores are doomed to the ‘retail apocalypse.’

While the news is full of retail store close-downs, various researches reveal that customers still prefer the in-store experience of brick-and-mortar stores.

Customers Still Shop in Physical Stores

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), customers make most of their purchases at brick-and-mortar stores. Only 21% of people bought more than half of their purchases online, and the remaining 79% of people still made the majority of their purchases in physical stores.

PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey also reveals similar customer shopping trends. In 2014, only 36% of respondents shopped in physical stores daily or weekly (excluding grocery shopping). The percentage of respondents shopping in physical stores increased five years in a row, reaching almost 50% in 2019.

This data is good news for retailers since it shows that customers are willing to shop in brick-and-mortar stores even when they are given options to buy online.

Consumers Want Positive In-Store Experience

Then why are customers still rushing into physical stores, especially in this age of omnichannel shopping? The answer seems to be the unique in-store experience that customers can only enjoy in stores.

According to Mood Media’s The State of Brick and Mortar,

  • 78% of global consumers cited the ability to touch, feel and try products as the primary reason for shopping in-store

  • 66% liked the convenience of getting products instantly

  • 48% enjoyed the ability to browse and discover new things

  • 33% relished the atmosphere and experience

The challenge for retailers is now clear: how to leverage the in-store experience so that their stores can thrive.

Nike has been excelling in creating memorable customer experiences. Every detail in Niketown is designed with meticulous care. The store is filled with bright colors, displays fashionable products, and continuously plays energetic music. Customers visiting Niketown can even custom-design their own shoes according to their preferences. This combination of unique and memorable features with attractive store layout design creates experiences that bring customers back to the store.

Nike has been impressive in crafting a memorable customer experience.

Target, a US-based general merchandise retail chain, has also seen increases in footfall in recent years. The retailer has increased its physical presence by opening up small-format stores that aim to deliver items that local customers in the neighborhood need by analyzing the local demand. Target has also remodelled over 100 of its stores, by adding more lighting and changing store displays, so that more customers will be attracted to the store.

Tiffany and Co. also opened a store in London to engage with customers who previously found the brand to be inaccessible and unaffordable. Customers visiting the store can personalize jewelry with the help of well-trained store associates. A perfume vending machine is another experience that customers find enjoyable.

Customers Want A Holistic Experience

It is clear that what customers want more than anything is a holistic experience. By offering this all-round experience, from store design to customization of products to suit individual’s preferences, physical stores can be part of the entire customer buying journey. What customers can gain from visiting a store in person are relationship-building experiences, which is hard for online brands to offer. With the “death of retail” making news headlines now and then, retailers need to bear this in mind.


Cyclops is a retail analytics system that can help retailers generate insights into how their customers shop inside their stores. To understand more about how Cyclops can help retailers digitally transform their stores amid the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our website:


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page