Customers want a more connected shopping experience

The technology that allowed ecommerce to thrive during various Covid-19 lockdowns will also play a role in the recovery of bricks and mortar retail.

Shoppers want a more connected shopping experience when they return to the high street.. According to Snap Inc’s Future of Shopping: Global Report 2021, 40% of in-store shoppers use their mobile phone to find more information about a product, while more Gen Xers (80%) are keen to incorporate AR into their high street visits.

The pandemic has highlighted that while technology has disrupted bricks and mortar retail over the past 20 years, that same tech has also helped retailers navigate the connection between the online and physical spaces.

The report reveals that customers are keen to get back into physical shops, but they don’t want to lose the benefits and convenience of ecommerce – e.g., instant access to stock information or home delivery services.

The report’s findings suggest Brits are particularly attached to online shopping. Over four in ten (44%) plan to buy the majority of their clothes online (compared to 38% globally), while 34% said they favoured buying items in-store (42% globally). However, 49% of Brits miss the social aspect of shopping and 51% are frustrated when they can’t try clothes on first.

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • Return to in-store retail: Shoppers returning to the high street are seeking the social and tactile experiences ecommerce cannot offer. But, they also want the convenience and safety they’ve grown used to.
  • Tech will boost in-store sales: 35% of global customers would visit a specific shop if it offered interactive tech such as smart mirrors.
  • Mobiles are part of the physical shopping journey: 50% of Gen Zers and millennials say they never go shopping without using a mobile. And within five years there will be a 57% increase in Gen Z shoppers who use AR (via a mobile) before buying.

These findings reveal a blurring of customer needs and expectations across both physical and digital shopping channels. They show that after price, shoppers prioritise convenience, social interaction and product testing.

Speaking about the report, Ed Couchman, regional general manager at Snap Inc. said: “Shoppers want to read reviews, compare prices and try on items using AR – but they also enjoy the experience of going into a shop, speaking to staff, and looking at items. They want the best of both worlds.”

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