Retailers, Consumers Differ On Brick-And-Mortar

A recent study from multinational management consulting company Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute has gained some surprising insight into the perceived necessity and value of brick-and-mortar and online retail spaces. Capgemini surveyed 6,000 consumers and 500 retailers in the U.S., China and seven countries in Europe. Here are some of the key findings.

Capgemini’s study found that, while 80 percent of retail executives report that they believe in the sanctity of physical stores, only 45 percent of retail shoppers reported feeling the same way. But while retailers may have an inflated sense of the importance of physical shopping compared to consumers, that doesn’t mean they don’t also understand the value of eCommerce — as more than half of retail executives questioned in the survey reported that they have been slow to bring digital functionality into their stores.

Retailers in the U.S. can rest a bit easier than elsewhere in the world since the rate of consumer dissatisfaction with shopping brick-and-mortar was the lowest there — just 29 percent of Americans surveyed considered going out shopping a chore. Some 49 percent of shoppers in Spain and 54 percent of shoppers in Sweden reported being dissatisfied with having to venture out to brick-and-mortar retail stores.

Kees Jacobs, retail lead at Capgemini, was quoted as saying in the study: “What is clear from this report is that [stores] still have a big role to play, but the industry is going to see a fascinating struggle take place in the next few years to decide what exactly the new breed of retail store looks like.”

The survey also found that consumers aren’t quite ready to give up brick-and-mortar shopping as long as retailers work to improve the in-store experience. Globally, some 70 percent of consumers reported that they still want to touch and feel products before making purchases, with the caveat that they would additionally like brick-and-mortar stores to increase their use of digital features.

In addition, more than half of global consumers surveyed reported wanting stores to offer more experience-based features, like cooking classes and workshops.