In-store shopping is back and booming. Unfortunately, consumers aren’t loving their experiences. A new survey brings to light what shoppers find dissatisfying. These learnings can be great insights to discuss with your retail advertisers. They can weave these into their advertising message to turn experience into a key differentiator.

Insights from the 2023 Retail Customer Service Survey

Let’s break down the data from the survey. Here are some key findings:

  • Regarding shopping preferences, 91% of customers said they do at least half of their shopping in person, and 87% shop in a physical store at least once a week.
  • Shoppers prefer in-store because they can physically see and touch products; others like the immediate gratification of getting their goods instantly. More reasons they enjoy brick-and-mortar shopping include the social aspect, convenience, easier returns and being able to ask questions.
  • 41% of Americans said shopping in-store is “less enjoyable” than before COVID.
  • 64% of people finding it “less enjoyable” cited poorly trained or unprepared staff as the reason; another 60% said staffing was inadequate.
  • What are their issues with staff? The survey revealed that 41% of people said employees were unwilling to help or rude. Another 35% complained about a lack of product knowledge or expertise.
  • As a result of these unsatisfactory experiences, 50% of respondents reported that they had stopped shopping at a retail brand.

So, what are the takeaways from consumer preferences that would be meaningful to your retail advertisers?

Retail Advertising Messaging: Make It About the Customer

What we can gather from this data is that most people want to shop in-store, but they expect an experience where they can get assistance, physically view merchandise and enjoy the convenience and immediacy of in-store shopping.

Knowing what shoppers want will be a good theme for local retail advertising spots, whether radio, TV or digital. Here are some customer-centric ideas to share:

  • Recommend social media ads highlighting the shopper experience: These can include associates talking about products and demonstrating their knowledge and helpfulness. The type of products and demographic will influence what social media sites you use. Overall, Pinterest is a great option because 89% of U.S. pinners leverage the site on their path to purchase.
  • Suggest geofencing of competitors to illustrate that your advertiser’s shopping experience is better: These “competitive” display ads could take a subtle jab at the less-than-helpful brands. Focus on the local aspect and community feel of a small business versus the giants in the industry.
  • Talk about reengaging inactive customers: If retailers have a database of shoppers, they should consider email campaigns inviting them back into the store with a special promotion. Highlight hot-ticket items and the importance of seeing and touching them in person.
  • Propose linear ads to complement digital: Whether radio or local TV, both have significant reach and influence buying decisions. There’s also a trust factor in radio and TV, especially when ads run during programming where personalities are well liked and respected. When campaigns are omnichannel and include all media types, they perform better.

These ad concepts can differentiate your retail advertisers and maximize their ad spend for the best results. Providing your clients with insights like these will pique their interest and solidify your role as their advertising expert.

Get More Retail Advertising Tips

Find out more about in-store advertising by reading our e-book, Connecting Advertising to In-Store Conversions: How to Help Advertisers Find the Magic Mix.