The in-store shopping experience remains consumers’ preference.

The pleasure of shopping remains in the store!

Despite the significant rise of online shopping during the pandemic, consumers still prefer to shop in-store – and by a large margin. Health measures not preference have forced them to use the e-commerce channel.

Shopping online or in-store

Canada, 2021


Nevertheless, people have developed new habits. The consumers who prefer the online shopping experience find it stimulating, a place of potential discoveries and innovation, as well as fun, fast and user-friendly. Online shopping has become unavoidable, even for those who would rather not go there. At times, even these reluctant consumers surrender to the appeal of its user-friendliness and speed of service.

However, in-store shopping is still the preferred option. Ideally, in-store should offer consumers a polysensory experience: people want to touch and feel the products and spend time in a pleasant and unique ambience that appeals to all their senses.

In-store, people feel less at risk, more confident, because they can ask the staff questions, discuss the offer, etc., and trust that they will get the best price (as opposed to the impersonal nature of the online experience).

In many cases, they also appreciate a store’s proximity to their neighborhood, the staff and the in-person nature of the dialogue.

All these experience modalities need to be reproduced and optimized to create customer loyalty to the store. At the same time, customer independence should be encouraged so that customers are approached only when needed to support their in-store shopping experience.

Nevertheless, the preference for online shopping is highly and inversely correlated with age: the younger the consumers, the more they prefer to shop online, to the extent that this obtains for the majority of 18-24 year olds (52%).

We will need to rethink the in-store experience without delay, based on the age of the target customer!