One of the advantages that physical stores offer to consumers, compared to the digital domain, is a social experience and an experience in which the consumer can see in person and touch the products.

But despite this, consumers are giving less value and give slighter pleasure to these kinds of experiences offered by physical stores, according to a recent study by Capgemini Consulting.

This study, which conducted a global survey (Spain, United States, China, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden) covering 6,000 consumers and 500 retail executives, found that one-third of consumers prefer to wash dishes rather than visiting a physical store.

A key reason for this is that consumers are frustrated by the experiences of physical establishment, as they have not only been left behind in the development of e-commerce, but are also totally disconnected from online store.

This consumer dissatisfaction with retail stores is quite worrying, and while many retailers are taking action on this through the combination of physical and virtual store, many others are doing nothing that consumers want.

They prefer to wash dishes than visit a physical store

The way you buy has undergone a fundamental revolution, consumers have much more information, more knowledge and power of choice than ever before, because through technologies they can review products and see their availability quickly, so their expectations have changed, and because of this too the demands have intensified. That’s why physical retail stores need to keep up.

According to Capgemini’s research, consumers prefer to shop online, as this offers them a personalized and hassle-free purchase, but in turn the study also shows that stores are struggling to meet these expectations.

A third of consumers (32%) prefer to do the dishes or wash their clothes than go shopping at a physical store, and the 40 consider shoppers to such stores to be done by obligation (as a task) but that is boring. The greatest dissatisfaction comes from customers in Sweden and Spain with 54% and 49% respectively. While the lowest rate is recorded by the Chinese and the Americans, with 29% and 31% respectively.

What they want from a store

Consumers expect physical stores to offer them an experience similar to the one they have when they shop online, as they offer affordable prices, and many facilities that make consumer expectations change.

On the one hand, consumers want more delivery options from physical stores, for example, the home delivery service offered by e-merchants has affected customer expectations regarding retail stores.

According to Capgemini’s survey, 75% consumers want to be able to check product availability before visiting the store, while 73% of respondents say they go to the store on the same day of delivery of some product that has to get them there.

The 70% of respondents have the need to touch and feel the products, while the 62% have the expectation of making appointments with store experts to meet their needs. Respondents were also looking for additional in-store activities (57%), and a social experience with friends/family (60%).

Main frustrations

The main frustrations of consumers with physical stores are, the difficulty in comparing products (71%), the long queues in the departure boxes (66%), the irrelevance of the promotions (65%) and the inability to find the product they are looking for (65%).

This dissatisfaction is a major threat to retailers, not least because 71% respondents would be willing to avoid traditional retailers and make their purchases directly to the big ones in the online market, such as Google, Apple or Facebook.

Kees Jacobs, an advisor to Capgemini’s consumer goods and retail division, says, “the physical stores of the future will have to be very different if they want to give consumers a reason to leave their computer and visit them.”

Retailers are aware

The introduction of technology into the overall consumer experience for physical stores will be key to addressing these increasingly declining levels of satisfaction, and this is understood by retail professionals, a 78% of respondents in Capgemini’s study said its executives classify the digitization of the store as a priority, although they recognize that they are limited by existing technology investments and the capabilities of store staff.

But, however, 54% of retail executives agree that the digitization of their stores is moving very slowly, mainly because they are not implementing digital initiatives properly.

The 40% of the retail executives say they are still implementing technology bases, such as in-store Wi-Fi, while a fairly similar number claim that store managers are not promoting any digital initiatives.

More importantly, 43% claim that they cannot measure the return on investment of in-store digital initiatives despite high use. And overall, only 18% of the retail executives were found to have implemented digital initiatives at scale and were also generating significant benefits.

“Shoppers are increasing their disconnection with the physical store shopping experience and it’s easy to see why,” explains Mike Petevinos, Global Head of Consumer Products & Retail at Capgemini Consulting. “Most of these establishments want to stay offline, unable to offer the speed, flexibility and ease of use that consumers have on websites,” he adds.

“Rumors of the death of the street trade may be exaggerated, but they’re starting to approach in an awkward way,” says Petevinos, who acknowledges that many retailers don’t digitize stores fast enough because of the investment that it Involves. “The question for distributors is whether they can’t afford to transform the shopping experience,” he concludes.

What will the stores of the future look like?

The stores of the future will be those that successfully combine physical and digital experiences. Consumers are increasingly comfortable using digital devices and in-store technologies.

Capgemini’s study found that when a physical store has digital technology available in it, 68% consumers use tablets or kiosks to order a product that has just been tested in the store, or if it is not immediately in stock. However, only 47% of the retail executives have implemented these technologies in their stores.

And this is in contrast to market leaders who not only have these new technologies in place, but also in an integrated and strategic way throughout the customer experience.

A number of startups are developing technologies for the store of the future, such as Moki, which installs tablets in aisles that help create an interactive visual experience, or Point Inside, a company that offers product search services, recommendations, store maps and product analysis. Seed Digital Media sends personalized messages to its customers with personalized offers as they enter the door.

Social and inspiring experiences are also at the heart of the store of the future, consumers want physical stores to go beyond selling the products, and to create social and inspiring experiences.

The winners of the future will be those who manage to transform the customer experience through new technologies, digitizing operations and implementing the capabilities of the right people.