Millennials shun in-store purchases: Zebra study

Out-of-stock merchandise send young shoppers online

Providing a better customer experience will be crucial to keep shoppers coming back.
Providing a better customer experience will be crucial to keep shoppers coming back.

Three-fourths (75%) of millennial shoppers and more than half (53%) of Gen X shoppers browsed in a store and left without a purchase only to end up buying the item online, a new study by Zebra Technologies says.

The 12th annual Global Shopper Study says the main culprit for retailers losing in-store purchases to online shopping is due to issues with inventory management, particularly out-of-stocks. Both shoppers and retail associates expressed dissatisfaction with the number of out-of-stocks as 43% of retail employees cited customer complaints about out-of-stocks as their biggest frustration and 39% of shoppers left a store without a purchase due to this problem.

Self-checkout technologies are also gaining traction in retail stores as 40% of shoppers reported using these solutions within the last six months and 86% stated comfort with the technology. Furthermore, most shoppers (58%) – especially millennials (70%) – agree that self-checkout provides an improved customer experience. The majority of store associates (54%) also said staffed checkout areas are less necessary with new technology that automates the process. Nearly nine-in-ten retail executives (87%) believe self-checkout frees up store associates to better serve customers, and 81% reported they’re starting to see a return on their investment.

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Providing a better customer experience will be crucial to keep shoppers coming back, but a significant disconnect exists between the expectations of retail executives and shoppers. In fact, 77% of retail executives believe customers are satisfied with the in-store experience while only 57% of shoppers reported feeling satisfied. The study also identified sizeable perception gaps when it comes to the returns and exchanges process between shopper satisfaction (59%) and executives’ perception of their satisfaction (80%). Investments in mobile solutions though have fostered agreement among executives (85%) and store associates (73%) that equipping associates with the latest technology provides a better experience.

Retailers are also trying to improve the in-store experience through the use of robotics. Only seven percent of surveyed shoppers interacted with a robot in a retail environment in the last six months, but nearly three-quarters (72%) said they were comfortable with them while 32% of associates reported concerns about being replaced by one.

In Europe and the Middle East, two-thirds (66%) of shoppers reported satisfaction with their ability to pay anywhere in the store. Additionally, only 14% of shoppers completely trust retailers to protect their personal data.

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