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Consumers envisage malls full of showrooms, not stores
Consumers envisage a future where their shopping experience combines many channels, including Internet, mobile, social and even physical stores. But the stores they see in their future are more like showrooms than retail outlets.
A new survey report from Capgemini reveals how consumers across 16 mature and developing markets see the future of physical stores.
Over half (51%) of the 16,000 participants expect that, by 2020, many physical stores will exist primarily as showrooms, places to display products available for order by various other channels. Respondents from developing markets were more likely to hold this belief while a third of consumers in more mature markets think so.
In two of the biggest Asian consumer markets most shoppers are already buying more online than in physical stores. Almost three-quarters (72%) of respondents from India, and 69% from China, said they buy more products in one online transaction than in a store transaction. Just 31% of U.S. respondents said the same.
Of all the ecommerce channels, mobile is probably the biggest game-changer in the physical retail space as consumers, armed with smartphones and tablets, browse stores and their devices at the same time.
An ongoing study by Intersperience of how consumers are using mobile when out shopping reveals that 'showrooming', whereby stores are browsed by consumers who then go on to search for a better deal elsewhere using their mobile, is on the rise.
One in five consumers now use mobile while in-store to check out products on competitors' websites, check availability and look for deals and price comparisons, found the study.
Furthermore more, almost a third (30%) go on to make a purchase via their mobile from another retailer while they are still stood in a store.
"Mobile internet is not just changing our shopping habits; it is altering the power balance in the consumer-retailer relationship. We are seeing the first wave of change in the retail sector but we predict it will become a powerful tide," says Paul Hudson, Chief Executive of Intersperience.
"The onus is on retailers to make in-store shopping more attractive and rewarding to shoppers, from loyalty bonuses to limited edition goods, price matching and more personalized service."
Of course, when all else fails, you could always employ an in-store laser that can jam any hand-held scanner use, including those used by smartphones. Or maybe not.
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