Survey: Older, younger consumers shop brick-and-motar differently

By Dan Berthiaume April 16, 2019
Customer expectations of the in-store experience depend on whether they are older or younger than 38.
According to a new survey of 1,298 consumers from Boston Retail Partners (BRP), "Consumer Shopping Habits - The Generation Gap," digital consumers age 18-37 approach brick-and-mortar stores very differently than traditional consumers age 38 and up.

For example, digital consumers tend to want in-store technology that enables personalized shopping. Sixty-five percent want personalized recommendations, while 61% want a curated selection of products from stylists and 60% want recommendations based on what is in their closet.

Meanwhile, traditional consumers are more interested in technology that helps ensure product availability - 63% want associates to have the ability to order out-of-stock products and 60% want the ability to search in-store inventory availability.

Digital consumers are also more interested in having technology-enabled control of their in-store shopping experience - 87% say self-service options allow them to control their own experience and 71% like automated pickup and returns processes. In contrast, 60% of traditional consumers say self-service options allow them to control their own experience, while 49% say automated returns are nice but not necessary, and 41% say automated pickups are nice but not necessary.

Another key differentiator is the likelihood of consumers from different generations to choose a store based on advanced checkout options:
. Mobile POS used by store associates (59% digital, 30% traditional).
. Self-checkout (75% digital, 30% traditional).
. Mobile wallet or retailer app (65% digital, 33% traditional).

When looking at attitudes toward delivery of products from a store, digital consumers are more likely to choose a store based on same-day delivery (77% vs. 60%). But traditional consumers are slightly more likely to choose a store based on free delivery (86% vs. 84%).

In general, digital consumers are more likely to share feedback about a brick-and-mortar shopping experience, good or bad, than their elders. Sixty-five percent of digital consumers and 49% of traditional consumers will contact a retailer to share feedback about an exceptional in-store experience. And 61% of digital consumers and 29% of traditional consumers will share an exceptional in-store experience on social media.

However, response rates are much closer for likelihood to share feedback about an unsatisfactory in-store experience with the retailer (66% vs. 64%) and stop shopping at a retailer (66% vs. 61%). Digital consumers are still much more likely to share an unsatisfactory in-store experience via social media (56% vs. 27%).

Before entering a store, both digital and traditional consumers will use technology to research and prepare for the trip. However, digital consumers are more focused on prioritizing their purchases, while traditional consumers zero in on discounts, as demonstrated by differences in likelihood to perform the following activities:
. Compare prices (59% digital vs. 64% traditional).
. Look for offers/coupons (44% vs. 57%).
. Build a shopping list (62% vs. 49%).