CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
October 22, 2018
Forward Thinking

Study: consumers prefer in-store shopping over e-commerce

The convenience of in-stock merchandise trumps greater choice and the customization of online inventory, a JDA survey shows.

Despite e-commerce's meteoric rise, consumers still prefer to shop in person, according to a survey released Thursday by logistics software provider JDA Software Group Inc.

About 54 percent of respondents to the third annual "JDA Consumer Survey" said they preferred to shop in-store over alternatives like online, mobile, or social media, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based firm said. In addition, three-quarters of respondents favored a quick and easy shopping trip where the merchandise they want is in stock over a personalized online experience that can quickly become time-consuming when a website offers related products based on their shopping history, according to the survey results.

Retailers can take advantage of those preferences to maximize sales in the holiday peak season by combining unified commerce solutions with strong inventory visibility and a well-trained staff, JDA said. Together, those three ingredients can create a seamless holiday shopping experience at the store level, the company said.

Another way retailers can attract customers is by offering fulfillment services like "buy online, pickup in-store" (BOPIS) and "buy online, return in-store" (BORIS) to garner in-store foot traffic with the promise of a convenient shopping experience, according to Jim Prewitt, JDA's vice president for retail industry strategy.

BOPIS is fast becoming a consumer favorite, with half of respondents saying they had used the service in the last 12 months, a 44-percent increase over JDA's 2015 survey. That preference also extended to returns, with more than 30 percent of respondents saying they had used BORIS to avoid the hassle of online returns, JDA said.

"This is a crucial opportunity for retailers looking to develop a unified customer experience that exists both online and in stores," Prewitt said in a statement. "Promoting convenience will be critical in driving brick-and-mortar foot traffic; retailers will need to execute these fulfillment services flawlessly to maintain customer loyalty."

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