Here at Leapfrogg, we have a panel of more than 800 premium retail consumers that we engage with on a regular basis to help us understand customer needs and expectations from the brands and retailers they buy from.
Every month, we question them on a range of areas from buying behaviours and brand opinion, to emotional purchase triggers and their recent shopping experiences.
The Insight Edit is our weekly bite size edit of the insight we gain from our panel in our search to truly understand the mind of the premium customer.
As more and more consumers are happy to purchase products online without seeing them in the flesh, we wanted to understand what retail sectors they most happiest making online purchases for. We asked our panel to rate how important for them to touch and feel products in a physical store across a number of retail sectors.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the category in which our panel preferred to purchase in-store was furniture, with 73% stating it was important and 46% very important. This may be why even pure furniture etailers such as sofa.com and made.com have showrooms available for people to view products in the flesh.
The next most important category to purchase in-store is jewellery, with 32.43% selecting very important and 38% slightly important. Again, this is understandable and probably relates to higher the price point of jewellery items and the longer consideration process.
The need to physically touch and feel clothing in-store is preferred by many although a larger proportion (46%) viewed it as slightly important instead of very important. This is indicative of the huge success of fashion etailers such as ASOS and Net-a-Porter which make it very convenient to make clothing purchases online.
The categories for which respondents felt the least need to view products in the flesh were health and beauty (47% stated it was unimportant) and homewares (39%).
These two categories are more likely to have a large number of reviews available online relevant to the functionality of the product, which may be why less need is placed on the need to test in real life.
To conclude if you are a big ticket retailer, it is crucial to provide a physical space for consumers to view products. If you cannot stretch to a full time show room then pop up stores could be a good compromise.