What shoppers want and how retailers can deliver

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New JLL and Big Red Rooster study creates benchmarks for in-store experiences and ranks the top retailers; Apple takes top spot

Creating brand affinity has always been a top priority for retailers, but now retailers need new ways to build shopper satisfaction in-store. What makes shoppers content from the moment they walk through the door all the way to their purchase? JLL and Big Red Rooster evaluated 100 stores and surveyed 2,000 shoppers across 10 retail sectors for the answer. The results are being unveiled in the firm’s Beyond Buying report launching today at ICSC’s RECon conference in Las Vegas.

“We’ve developed universal criteria, what we call the Six Dimensions of Retail Experience, that retailers can use to help define and enhance their in-store shopping experiences,” said Stephen Jay, Managing Director of Big Red Rooster – a JLL company. “Our goal was to create new benchmarks to better understand how well retailers are meeting shoppers’ expectations.”

Retail is changing rapidly – triggered by new technologies and accelerated by changing expectations. Shoppers are increasingly satisfied to shop online, unless there is a remarkable reason to shop at a retail store. The firm’s Six Dimensions of Retail Experience help to evaluate what is most important to shoppers and how well retailers are delivering:

1. Intuitive

Shoppers, above all else, are practical. The Intuitive dimension focuses on how easy a store is for shoppers to find the right products. Does it have a good selection of quality products? Can shoppers discover new, intriguing items? This was the highest ranked of the Six Dimensions. The main purpose of many shopping trips, after all, is to be able to easily find what you’re looking to purchase.


2. Human

Almost equally essential to shoppers is the human experience. When shopping in-store, they want and expect knowledgeable, helpful staff on hand to help them find what they are looking to purchase. Human was the second-highest ranked dimension, demonstrating how important people are in a good retail experience.


3. Meaningful

Meaningful rounded out the top three most important dimensions for shoppers, who want to associate with brands that share their values. JLL believes that association can enhance brand loyalty. While having the right products and services in stock remains important, shoppers are looking for higher-order benefits from the brands they shop.


4. Immersive

Shoppers want a unique and attractive store that’s inviting, with plenty of sensory appeal. Immersive ranked fourth with nearly 60 percent of top retailers delivering on this dimension. Shortfalls often included not appealing to all of the five senses nor differentiating the store layout and design for shoppers.


5. Accessible

Shoppers are still waiting for a seamless experience, where they can shop whenever and wherever they want. They want retailers to support their use of mobile, provide a faster checkout, and streamline shopping online and offline.


6. Personalized

Shoppers want to get recommendations and deals based on previous purchases and be rewarded appropriately for their loyalty. They also want products that are customizable and sales staff that understand what they need, but our findings show that most retailers don’t deliver beyond generic specials and coupons.

“As a shopper making a trip in-store you want to feel engaged, empowered and fulfilled. Shoppers don’t like having their time wasted, so the ability to find what you need and to receive help from knowledgeable store associates can make or break a shopping trip,” said Naveen Jaggi, President of Retail Advisory Services for JLL. “It’s no surprise that shoppers at their core want an intuitive shopping experience, and we found that the retailers delivering on that principle were among the highest rated.”

The five retailers who are best at delivering against their shoppers’ expectations of experience are:

  1. Apple
  2. Victoria’s Secret
  3. Ulta Beauty
  4. Bath & Body Works
  5. Ikea

“By comparing how retailers perform on these dimensions to how important they are to shoppers, we can unlock ways in which experiences must improve,” added James Cook, Director of Retail Research for JLL. “In the next five years, we expect shoppers’ increased emphasis on experiential retail to push retailers across almost all sectors – except value-based discounters – as they compete for a greater share of shopper spend.”

Each sector has specific, actionable steps stores can take to meet shoppers’ ever-changing expectations and to increase satisfaction and growth. Across all retailers, the biggest opportunities to improve are:

  1. An interior that is distinct from other stores
  2. Easily finding goods to purchase
  3. Store associates going out of their way to help
  4. Special rewards or promotions based on loyalty
  5. The retailer knowing their preferences regardless of channel
  6. Feeling a sense of pride when shopping

 To learn more download the full report.

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