Despite the acceleration of online shopping, there are still many people who prefer in-store shopping for the ease of product comparison. But new shopping solutions that emerged during the pandemic are helping make online shopping more physical.
Consumers will no longer be forgiving when they are faced with friction during their shopping journey, according to Klarna, as retailers face a new generation of shoppers who demand an effortless experience, and a journey that adapts to their needs.
The pandemic brought new innovations such as virtual shopping with live-streamed runway shows, and an explosion of other online shopping solutions to the forefront that are here to stay.
So what can retailers expect in 2022?
In Klarna’s latest trend report* two-thirds (66%) of shoppers say they find online shopping more convenient, and 46% say they enjoy better prices online than in-store. A further 37% of shoppers say that online shopping has a better range of products. Australia and Sweden share the highest increase in preference for online shopping, despite moving in opposite directions when it comes to the availability of physical stores during the pandemic – compared to other markets such as the US, UK, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Norway and Finland.**
But why do some consumers still prefer to shop in-store?
In a study by Klarna* more than half (53%) of shoppers say that it’s easier to browse in a physical store compared to online. Another 44% say that it’s easier to compare products and 28% like the ability to try items on. In other words, shoppers still want the physical element of shopping that cannot be satisfied online. In addition to that, one-third (33%) of shoppers say that it’s easier to take advantage of promotions when buying in-store rather than online.
One crucial customer experience aspect of shopping online compared to in-store is convenience. So how can you create a great shopping experience both online and in-store that is convenient?
Let’s start at the beginning of the shopping journey – the browsing stage. When browsing in-store, shoppers get a holistic view of what’s on the shelves and can easily compare items. So how can that same experience be replicated online?
The pandemic delivered new solutions to make online browsing easier, including the evolution of social shopping making social media platforms a more important discovery tool. However, browsing doesn’t start just there.
Thanks to APIs and cookies, retailers can learn what shoppers look for, what products they like and what stores they visit, to be able to match shoppers with similar products. It’s likely that social shopping and new browsing technologies are on the rise in 2022, and retailers need to stay up to speed or risk falling behind.
Another part of browsing is product and price comparison, which 44% of shoppers say is easier in-store than online. But let’s not forget the preference is moving towards online shopping. To offer shoppers a great customer experience, retailers need to be able to give them the same comparison tools online.
Convenience is key.
Even though it’s easier to click on an item while sitting on the couch, many shoppers still want to try before they buy. Last year, virtual shopping became a reality, allowing consumers to interact with store staff online to see product quality. Virtual fitting rooms and make-up tests also became the new normal and it’s likely these new technologies are here to stay.
To truly create a great shopping experience, retailers need to provide customers with options to create their own shopping journey that suits their lifestyle and how they like to shop.
In 2022 and beyond, retailers must absorb these new shopping solutions, and make sure that the customer journey is just as smooth in-store as online.