Shoppers place value on service

Consumers’ attitudes to retail are changing and, at a time when people can so easily shop from the comfort of their sofas, retailers need to up their game if they are to encourage shoppers into their stores.

According to research by CBRE, provided exclusively to Property Week, what retailers and shopping centre landlords need to focus on to boost footfall is improving the service, experience and look and feel of their shopping offer.

The research found that in the UK and Ireland, 52% of respondents cited quality of service as being ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ important, followed by experience, which is highly valued by 43% of those surveyed. The look and feel of a store was the third most important factor, chosen by 41% of consumers.

“Once inside the store, the retail basics come to prominence,” explains Andrew Phipps, head of UK and EMEA retail research at CBRE. “Consumers want their purchase journey to be as simple and straightforward as possible. They want to be able to find the products they are looking for, and once they have found them they want to be able to see the price.”

People matter

Treatment of retail staff had an influence in deciding where to shop for 78% of those surveyed, while for 69% paying staff a fair wage was an important consideration. These people-related factors were found to be far more significant than any to do with retailers’ policy and procedure.

“The importance of people comes through very strongly when asked about the influence of ethics on store choice,” says Phipps. “People care about people.”

In deciding where to shop, consumers were asked which retail ‘types’ would have a positive influence on their choice. The research found that lower-priced retailers, department stores and food and beverage are all important draws when people are deciding where to go shopping.

When asked what they would like to see in the future, the answer was loud and clear: better, faster, cheaper delivery options - preferably free same-day delivery - and full integration of online and offline.

“Shoppers don’t accept that online and offline faces of the same brand are anything other than just that; the same brand,” says Phipps. “They expect to be able to do anything and everything in store, whether they have made the purchase there or online."

Both retailers and shopping centre landlords must adapt their offering to suit the fast-changing demands of consumers. CBRE’s research provides a snapshot into those desires.