Checking product quality and trying them on before purchasing prompts to prefer shopping in person rather than online
According to a general public survey conducted in Latvia by shopping and entertainment centre Akropole, the majority of respondents prefer to shop in person rather than online. The chance to check the quality of a product and try on clothes or footwear before purchasing are highlighted as the key advantages and are important to more than 80% of respondents. Economic experts also predict that the biggest flow of shoppers will continue to be in shopping centres.
Comparing the shopping process in person and online, 60% of respondents admit that the chance to be able to use a product immediately after buying it is one of the most important advantages of shopping in person, while almost half (48%) name the chance to avoid additional product delivery costs as an advantage. Interestingly, the opportunity to save by avoiding delivery costs is especially loved among the young shoppers up to 30 years of age. On average, more than other age groups, this age group also values the opportunity to combine shopping with entertainment (44%) and beauty care treatments (11%).
“In recent years there has been much discussion about the development of e-commerce, which, of course, has prompted shopping centres to seek new ways to consolidate their positions and offer more than just shopping. These days the most modern shopping centres also offer diverse entertainment and leisure options, thus allowing consumers to combine their daily shopping with pleasure,” says Akropole Rīga CEO and Akropolis Group Board Member Kaspars Beitiņš. He points out that Akropole, which will open its doors to visitors this spring, will not only offer an access to cinema with nine screening rooms, but also a spacious play area for kids, a gym, a bowling alley and various sports games simulators, as well as an all year ice rink and more than 20 restaurants and cafés.
A moderate upturn in the retail sector during 2019 is forecast by SEB Bank Macroeconomic Expert Dainis Gašpuitis. He admits that increased purchasing power and the situation in the labour market will increase the desire and means to be spent on both everyday goods and home improvement. “At the same time, the industry will continue to experience a transformation, resulting in the concentration of shopper traffic in the biggest shopping centres that offer a wide range of services. One of the most significant challenges will be to attract shoppers, because consumers are choosing to buy increasing volumes of products online and often choose international online stores. Therefore, it is important that thought is given to both active communication and pricing policy in order to take advantage of favourable economic trends,” says Gašpuitis.
As the survey conducted by Akropole shows, human interaction during shopping is also important. Almost one third (29%) of respondents admit that they appreciate the consultations of sales personnel, which more often than not is not available when inspecting a product online. Meanwhile, 19% enjoy shopping together with their friends or loved ones instead of doing it alone in front of a computer, because it enables them to discuss the potential purchases. In turn, 17% of respondents admit that shopping in person means that it is easier to return a product if you happen to change your mind after having made a purchase.