Shoppers Want A Mix Of Channels

Digital shopping isn’t replacing brick-and-mortar, however, it is surpassing it. But most shoppers want a mix, says Bazaarvoice, Inc., a provider of product reviews and user-generated content (UGC) solutions. Its annual ‘Shopper Experience Index’ says that while online shopping was already on the rise, the pandemic has accelerated eCommerce’s trajectory by years. In 2020, online shopping went from a nice option to have, to a necessity. In fact, 36 per cent of American shoppers say they’ve reduced their in-store trips, 18 per cent are only going in-store for essentials, and 20 per cent are not shopping in-store at all right now. The company’s client network of over 11,500 brands and retailers shows online ordering was up 39 per cent year-over-year in 2020 globally. But shoppers aren’t willing to give up brick-and-mortar shopping just yet. Just slightly under half (49 per cent) of shoppers say they would choose in-store shopping over buying online for the next year. For those that choose to shop from home, product sampling is helping to replace the in-store experience. Over half (52 per cent) of shoppers say what they value most about an in-store shopping experience is the ability to touch, see, and try on products, and 47 per cent say shopping at a brick-and-mortar store is how they feel most connected to the brands they love. With the ‘new normal’ having turned into just ‘normal,’ brands need to meet customers where they are, at home. Product sampling is the perfect solution. The survey says 82 per cent of shoppers like the idea of receiving free samples, while 53 per cent are willing to write a review of the free products they’ve received, and 28 per cent say they’ll even post on social media. Shoppers appreciate sampling because it gives them the in-store experience of physically interacting with a product that they crave, but from the safety of their own home.