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In-Store Trends: Analyzing Evolving Customer Expectations of Physical Retail

Published November 6, 2022
Published November 6, 2022
Xianjuan HU via Unsplash

COVID-19 changed the way we sell, consume, and market physical goods, permanently. To investigate the depths of this, Mood Media has released the In-Store Trends: Analyzing Evolving Customer Expectations of Physical Stores October 2022 report. The study, which surveyed over 12,000 global consumers, found that many have returned to in-store shopping at, or exceeding, pre-pandemic levels. The findings focused on the finer details, such as music playing in-store and the scent of a store, that influence how long consumers spend browsing. Here are the key takeaways from the report:

  • 84% of US consumers say stores with a pleasant atmosphere are most likely to drive repeat visits, and 90% declare it makes them stay longer.
  • A pleasant atmosphere would make 86% of US shoppers likely to recommend a store to others and would make 83% choose to go to a physical space versus buying online.
  • 71% of consumers across the globe say they now shop in physical stores as often or more often than before the pandemic.
  • Engaging digital content and personalized experiences have the highest impact on US consumers’ purchasing decisions, making 31% and 40%, respectively, want to buy something in a store.
  • 40% of consumers globally consider a nice scent to be an important factor in creating a pleasant in-store experience for health and beauty stores. 
  • 70% of US consumers say sustainable practices and/or selling sustainable products is important to them when choosing to visit a physical store—55% say this would also make them more likely to want to buy something.
  • The top three criteria for making a pleasant in-store experience for US automotive consumers are friendly and knowledgeable staff, interactive digital screens that give information, and the ability to see, touch, and smell.
  • 58% of US shoppers say that branded music playlists and scents would make them stay in a physical store longer.
  • 47% of shoppers globally would leave a store due to an unpleasant scent.

“As consumers return to brick-and-mortar stores in full force, what we see is that they’re coming back with evolved shopping habits and expectations. They now increasingly see both online and offline as part of the same purchase journey (not one versus the other), and due to their growing comfort levels in the online space they now expect similar levels of digital technology solutions as an integral part of the physical space,” says Scott Moore, Global CMO, Mood Media.

Speaking on the influence of digital retail on the store space in the report, Miya Knights, retail author, consultant, and publisher, writes: “Undoubtedly, stores still have a fundamental role in consumers’ shopping journeys. But striking the right balance between interaction, experience and self-service, as well as instant gratification and sustainability, will ensure that stores remain indispensable in the future.”

For retailers and brands to maintain successful consumer relationships, they must now be prepared to go the extra mile to satisfy customers’ shopping habits and expectations. From advanced digital in-store aspects, to simple elements such as the scent of the store, there is a lot to take into consideration. Watch this retail space.


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