Paradox of Choice: In-Store Shopping Dilemma Solved Online


Have you ever experienced that paralyzing moment when you are shopping in-store and can’t make a decision out of the sheer array of choices? There are just too many brands, price range, promos, and myriad questions that can take the pleasure out of shopping. Even jaded shopaholics don’t relish traffic and getting lost en route to the best bargains. And those of us who are always short of time are exasperated at not being able to point and pay on the fly.

A lot of consumers, predicted to be about 25% in 2020, have flocked to shopping online. This is something that catalog shoppers of the 50s could relate to in a big way: the medium may be different, but the message is not. Alas, there are those of us who like doing side-by-side comparisons, reading labels, and being a bit more tactile by “feeling the merchandise”. There are hordes of disgruntled customers who have returned items online because the real goods don’t measure up to the Photoshopped images. Burned once, you get to mistrust online shopping just a bit and hold off spending until you see the real goods; up close and personal.

Fortunately, there’s online information to help us navigate our way through brand seduction. This infographic shows that to have reasonable confidence that we are getting our money’s worth with our product choices, 87% of us go online to research the items before we even hit the stores. In fact, to maximize the in-store experience, 79% continue to affirm in-store choices by going online with 35% doing a post-mortem after leaving the store. With 2/3 of shoppers not finding helpful information when they are in stores, it is not surprising that 71% turn to their smartphones for customer service. This is a boon to local stores because those that show up in local searches are more likely to be visited by a whopping 3/4 of in-store shoppers!

IoT has changed the in-store experience. From the moment we step-in, we see that goods and racks are dictated by “eye-tracking”. Then, instead of pushy customer advocates, our experience is enhanced by smart devices which tell us with a swipe the price of the product on hand. But that’s barely touching the surface because customer engagement can go much deeper with apps connecting the retail store to you so product selection is more focused and the experience more customized.

Digital influence is so strong that 56% of shoppers (including you and I) admit to being affected by what we read when we fish out our dollars, especially when choosing a car or buying things for the home. The Internet is so pervasive that instead of calling Mom or leafing through GoodHousekeeping, we diligently go online to choose which grocery items deserve that spot in our pantry or which beauty product would keep our face 30-forever, ad infinitum! It does seem that millennials are savvier but contrary to popular opinion, men, in general, more careful when selecting things to buy. In fact, they are so careful and engrossed that they often miss birthdays and anniversaries!


Infographic by- Invesp Conversion

Smartphone and retail graphic from eMarketer