Survey Shows In-Store Shopping Still Very Much Matters

While e-commerce continues to gain ground, most consumers still appreciate the in-store shopping experience, according to a new survey.

The Shopper Insights Survey from SPAR Group revealed that more than 80% of respondents prefer purchasing groceries in-store.

Mike Matacunas, the CEO of SPAR Group, said the survey “tells us that, while today’s consumer is demanding, there are a variety of opportunities for retailers and brands to create value for them and build long-term loyalty.

“Several storylines from the data conclude the need for companies in the industry to be even more dedicated to engaging shoppers at every point in the buying journey,” the CEO noted, “improving inventory management and service levels, especially within the store.”

The survey revealed seven in 10 shoppers expect to increase shopping in stores in the next six months.

Once in the store, consumers rate customer service (71%), a swift checkout (69%), and an engaging atmosphere (51%) as key elements to a successful shopping experience.

SPAR, an innovative services company, also found that 55% of grocery shoppers feel product availability (such as out-of-stock items) remains a challenge for stores. Also of note, 43% of consumers indicated that understaffing is an issue impacting the shopping experience.

“The next generation of leaders in retail and consumer brands will differentiate on service,” Matacunas said. “Operating a physical store must be reinvented to provide value to today’s consumer. The physical layout, the experience, staffing, product availability, and responsiveness need to work in concert.”

Other key findings from the survey included:

  • Grocery stores are the most preferred in-store format (83%).
  • About 76% of consumers use mobile apps when shopping.
  • Four in 10 respondents allow retailers access to data.
  • Walmart ranked as the best shopping experience by 23% of respondents, followed by Target (9%) and Costco (9%).
  • Respondents felt Walmart (54%) had the most helpful app, followed by Target (31%) and Kroger (19%).

Ultimately, SPAR determined that retailers and consumer brands need to improve shelf inventory management, optimize staffing, and invest in more tech to improve consumers’ shopping experience.


The Food Institute Podcast’s “Foodservice Gamechangers” Series

Get to know the men and women behind the scenes of foodservice distribution in a new, limited series from The Food Institute Podcast called “Foodservice Gamechangers.” Recently, Pat Mulhern, advisor to The Food Institute, sat down for brief conversations with seven of the most influential foodservice merchandising and distribution leaders. Highlighting their food career journeys and management styles, the conversations feature insightful thoughts on what may lie ahead for manufacturers, distributors, and operators in foodservice.