While Australians have become more tech savvy, consumers still prefer shopping in a physical store over online, with 73% surveyed choosing to shop in a physical store – 14% more than overseas counterparts, according to new independent research commissioned by financial technology platform, Adyen.

The Adyen Australia 2022 Retail Report found that since the pandemic and ongoing lockdowns, 34% of consumers say they have a new appreciation for being able to touch, feel, or physically try products in-store before they buy.

Although consumers continue to embrace ecommerce and online shopping, over two thirds of consumers (67%) say physical stores are an important touchpoint, even if they shop with the same retailer online. 48% say they like to go in-store for customer service or to get help with a product they couldn’t get online and 51% are more loyal to retailers who have physical stores and online options.

“For Australian consumers, it’s all about the experience. Just in the last five years alone we’ve seen consumer preference on shopping channels and payment methods shift from one to another, but there are two things that remain constant – It’s the reign of seamless experiences with cashless being king,” Adyen country manager for Australia and New Zealand, Hayley Fisher said.

“Retailers who understand and adapt to this, regardless of platform or payment method, will be well-positioned to take on the next wave of retail innovation.”

More than half of Australian consumers (58%) think retailers need to use technology to make their loyalty and rewards program easier and more effective. 50% of consumers said they are more likely to shop with a retailer if their loyalty program worked automatically through their payment card, yet only a handful of retailers use this innovation.

With most Australians preferring to shop in physical stores, retailers who offer unique in-store experiences are highly valued. In fact, the majority say they are more loyal to retailers that have physical stores and online options. Most Australians (53%) would be more loyal to businesses that let them buy things online and return in-store or let them purchase an item that is out of stock in-store but available online, and have it sent directly to their home (56%). 

The report also highlights a low tolerance for bad shopping experiences with 66% of Australians saying they would avoid shopping with businesses after a bad shopping experience (whether online or in-store) and 54% of Australians want retailers to be able to sell across multiple channels.

“While Australians were quick to adopt ecommerce during the pandemic, it didn’t diminish their love for in-store shopping. If anything, Australians now expect retailers to provide the best of both worlds. To continue to remain agile and competitive, retailers should be driving towards meeting these consumer expectations, delivering exceptional customer experiences both in-store and online through unified commerce,” Fisher added.