Is the bricks and mortar retail really dead? Or just a relic of older people who simply do not want to get used to this newfangled internet and persistently continue to go to the shops? Do young people really buy primarily online and not in retail stores? We wanted to know and sat down with the market research experts from appinio to explicitly ask young Germans about their expectations and wishes towards retail stores.
The Hamburg start-up appinio enables organizations to operate highly targeted market research and is known primarily for speed, simplicity and very manageable costs, attributes that are generally not associated with market research projects. With the appinio app German smartphone users can be targeted. They are incentivized to participate in a survey directly with points that they can convert into cash. Several well-known companies already work with appinio, including Edeka, Jägermeister, Beiersdorf, Villeroy & Boch and Reemtsma.
We asked the young respondants how often they go shopping in stores, why they do that, what characterizes their favorite store, what they would like to have for a better shopping experience and which functions of their smartphone they are using before, during and after shopping.
We put five questions to 864 German smartphone users aged 14 to 25 years. The data showed up immediately in our appinio dashboard and we could sort them by gender, age, Nielsen areas and smartphone operating system for our evalutation.
Women shop more often
The shopping frequency (without food) yielded no real surprises. Overall, women tend to go shopping more often than men. Weekly or more 21 percent of women and 20 percent of men enter a shop. 54 percent of women, but only 43 percent of men go shopping once or twice a month, less than once a month 23 percent of women and 30 percent of men go shopping. Real shopping muffles are just two per cent of women and seven per cent of men.
Product experience the plus for the POS
We asked for the reasons for preferring brick and mortar shops over online shopping. The two most frequently mentioned reasons were equally well represented in the sexes. To view the products, learn and test the products (70%) and to take them home immediately (61%) are strong drivers for both young women and men to prefer shopping in retail stores.
Women understand shopping much more as part of their leisure time (47%) and a good opportunity to meet with friends (39%) than men (26 and 20% respectively). They also enjoy the inspiration for other products in the shop more than men (30 vs. 23%).
To exchange purchased items easily is more important for women than for men. Men in contrast appreciate the advice of the sales staff (27%) more than women (16%).
In the last three places women and men are largely on par again. To pay with the smartphone is as (un-)important as ones own habits. That they cannot or do not want to use online payment only a few of the respondents mentioned as a reason for shopping in the store.
Women want inspiration, men advice
With our third question we wanted to find out what the respondants liked in their preferred shop. Women and men agreed that the range of products determines the attractiveness of the store. Nearly 60 percent of respondents cited this. They also value surprising offers from their favorite store.
A clear arrangement of the POS is important for 30 percent, proximity for 26 percent. Women (31%) appreciate the inspiration that a store can create, men only 16 percent. In-store music is considered to be important by 14 percent.
A bit surprising may be that men (15%) consider the personal contact with people at the POS more important than women (12%). Women (18%) pay more attention to the decoration than men (8%). Men find the sales staff and free Wi-Fi more important. The smell in the store was rather unimportant, but an off odor would be an absolute no-go.
That women go shopping more frequently than men isn’t really surprising. More interesting are the differences between men and women while shopping. Young women seem to appreciate the shopping experience even more than young men. Fun, joy, inspiration, meeting with friends were mentioned as important factors. Retailers should accommodate these wishes and align the point-of-sale more to these “entertainment factors” if they want to appeal to a female clientele. Strolling, drifting and be inspired to spend free time, meet friends. Young women get into this far more than men.
Men seem to know exactly what they want to buy, are ambitious and rational and expect to be supported therein at the POS. Competent advice from the sales staff is high on their wish list. Retailers who want to target more male customers, should meet these expectations.
What wishes participants in the survey had and what they do with their smartphones before, during and after shopping we will show in the second part of our survey with appinio.