Nearly two-thirds of shoppers step into a store without a specific purchase in mind, looking to be inspired by retailers who can craft the ideal ambiance through digital screens and interactive kiosks.
Mood Media's 2023 In-store Customer Trends research, encompassing over 8,000 participants globally, unveils profound insights into customer preferences and strategies to prolong their time in stores, enhance the likelihood of purchases, and guarantee repeat visits.
Building on the 2022 Charting Instore Trends research findings — which underscored that atmosphere and sustainability are critical factors influencing which stores shoppers choose to visit — retailers should showcase their full product offering and personalization options through smart digital screens.
Research identifies key motivations driving shoppers to physical stores. 52 percent of shoppers visit to touch and feel real goods, and 33 percent aim to discover new products. Having a social experience with friends and family (35 percent), the instant gratification of buying in-store (39 percent), and soaking up the atmosphere of an in-person trip to the high street or mall (26 percent) were also important incentives.
When asked about pleasant in-store experiences, 85 percent of shoppers highlighted the significance of scent, while 70 percent expressed a similar sentiment about branded playlists. Creating an appealing atmosphere is crucial, as it makes one in two shoppers feel happy, encouraging them to prolong their stay (35 percent), and revisit (45 percent). Furthermore, 25 percent reveal that the right atmosphere prompts in-store purchases.
Moreover, consumers seek enhanced interaction with retailers through digital signage and interactive kiosks, facilitating the exploration of the brand's complete product offering and personalization options. The capability to engage with a retailer to explore various colors, sizes, and styles is a top priority for over one in three (33 percent) shoppers.
This desire for a guided exploration of the product portfolio in retail is propelling digital screens and interactive technology to a more central role in modern retailing.
Nearly one in two shoppers (47 percent) like in-store messages introducing them to new products and offers. Audio gets noticed the most by 69 percent of shoppers. Visual messages displayed on checkout screens (63 percent), video advertisements (62 percent), and inspirational content on digital screens (61 percent) maintain high attention levels as shoppers progress toward the cash register.
Digital screens are changing customer behavior. Nearly 40 percent reveal in-store messaging, such as videos on screens, often prompt them to make a purchase, and 43 percent are reminded about a purchase they were considering. This behavior increases when content is visually appealing and inspirational. For those who notice inspirational video content on screens, 77 percent express feeling encouraged to explore and potentially make a purchase, whether in-store (76 percent) or online. The most effective method of capturing shopper attention is through promotional and sales information.
Screens are vital for bridging the in-store and online experience. Beyond the shop floor, 75 percent are interested in QR codes to discover more about a product or product line. Nearly three in four (73 percent) shoppers also expressed interest in using their smartphones for guidance within a store.
The report underlines how retailers need to excel at merchandising and in setting the right atmosphere, but they should also invest in digital technology that deepens the connection between their brand and consumers moving from passive to interactive engagement.
"Our research spotlights a pivotal retail shift — today's consumers don't just want products, they crave captivating experiences. The onus is on brands to create immersive, personalized store environments integrating physical and digital touchpoints. Savvy retailers will harness visual, auditory, and even olfactory creativity to redefine their spaces for the experiential era," says Jaime Bettencourt, SVP of Brand Strategy at Mood Media.