What’s a good in-store experience?

What’s an excellent in-store experience for consumers anyway? Do different consumers expect different things? Should we approach consumers entering, or is a simple “welcome” and “hello” just fine? In this consumer study, we asked consumers what they expected of their in-store experience.


What’s the definition of an in-store experience?

The in-store experience for consumers includes everything related to the physical location of a consumer’s visit to a store, including:

  • how easy it is to find the store
  • the visual appearance
  • the layout
  • available customer support

In this study, we specifically asked consumers what they expect from their in-store experience.

Read next: Does the loyal shopper still exist?

The methodology of our study

We completed the entire study of 100 respondents through Voxpopme’s Influence community in seven hours.

We combined quantitative and qualitative questions in the study, and the platform neatly packaged the results in one dashboard.

in-store experience insights summary

in-store experience insights 2


On the quantitative side, we asked:

  • When was the last time you visited a retail store?
    • Within the last week
    • In the last month
    • Last six months
    • Within the last year
    • More than a year ago

All answers but the last two advanced in the survey.

  • How many retail stores have you visited in the previous six months?
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5+

On the qualitative side, we asked:

  • What are you expecting while shopping in-store?
  • How do you make decisions?
  • What was the last store you visited
  • What would you change from your experience?

Read next: Not sure what to ask? Check out Voxpopme’s tried and tested open-ended questions for video research.

The results

Here’s a  quick highlight reel of what consumers said about the in-store experience:

The quant results

Almost everyone who advanced in the study had visited a store in the last week.

in-store experience last visit

Seventy-two percent of respondents said they’ve visited more than five stores in the last six months.

number of stores visited in six months


The qual results

Respondents recorded a quick asynchronous video message for the qual questions – selfie-style, directly from their phones.

The automatic sentiment analysis showed that 37 percent of all statements were positive, with 21 percent negative and 43 percent neutral.

consumer sentiment toward in-store experience

Unlike the quant questions – which are self-reported answers – this sentiment analysis pulls from what respondents said in their video responses about in-store experiences.

The automatic theme explorer and Word Cloud gave me an idea of some of the most mentioned topics.

in-store experience consumer study themes

At times, I also use the Theme Builder and my knowledge of the subject to build and group themes for topics that I consider related.

in-store shopping experience word cloud from consumer study

The analysis

Next, I read through the transcripts of the responses. This is an easy way to read some more in-depth, skim ahead when applicable, and go back to previous answers in seconds.

What customers expect of their in-store experience

Responses mentioned:

  • Things must be set up to make it easy to find items.
  •  The availability of hand sanitizer
  • Affordability in prices
  • Ease of getting in and out
  • Enough shopping carts
  • Availability of staff when needed for a question
  • Other consumers said they like to be checked on proactively
  • Enough checkout lanes to speed up the process
  • Friendly employees
  • A calm atmosphere
  • Good customer service
  • Intuitive layout without constant changes
  • Integration with available apps. Some consumers say they search the store’s app for products and then find them in the store.
  • Enough space to shop comfortably without feeling crowded

Where to next?

We saw a good mix of people going to a store with a specific purchase goal. But, we also had respondents who said they go and browse. And sometimes, it’s a combination.

“Usually, when I shop at retail stores, I don’t have a goal,” said  Denise, 24, of Sunderland. “I just like to see what is at the store, something that’s cute or something new, just to see what’s out there.”

But how does the in-store experience differ for people who are just browsing and those with a specific goal of getting in and out? That could be a potential follow-up asynchronous feedback study.

Marnie Steffe, insights and innovation director at Elida Beauty and a member of the Voxpopme Advisory Board, on an episode of the market research podcast “Reel Talk, said that some consumers might also browse in-store and then finalize their purchase online.

“There’s also that aspect of things where it’s not always ‘oh, I’m buying online or I’m buying in-store,'” she said. “There’s often a mix of what’s happening there.”

Others in our study talked through their purchasing decision-making process, which usually included price, quality, and availability. That could be another potential follow-up and maybe an in-store video survey with shoppers: “Explain to us why you just chose that product?”

shopping for different reasons (1)


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