New research – Mobile is key for in-store fashion shoppers

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New research reveals that fashion and sportswear shoppers no longer identify as an online or in-store customer, 72% prefer to shop both.

Shoppers today expect a consistent experience regardless of the channel; and it's the ability to touch and try-on, consider and compare that drives them into the physical store. 

For more than half of shoppers (55%), the tactile experience of being able to touch and feel products is important, while a third go in-store to consider and compare options (35%). Additionally, 69% say they find inspiration from the in-store shopping experience.

The findings are part of a study conducted by retail innovation agency Outform, which explored the changing habits of shoppers in the lifestyle categories of fashion, sportswear, footwear, jewellery and accessories over 12 months. The survey covered a representative spread of 1,000 respondents across the UK, USA, France and Germany.

Smartphones play a crucial role in the in-store shopping journey for fashion and sportswear shoppers. A significant 75% consider access to their mobile phone the most important technology when shopping in-store, for many it’s their number one shopping companion. More than six-in-ten shoppers (64%) use their mobile phones when in a physical retail space.

Hannah Abbasi, Head of Insight & Strategy for Outform, says: “The survey highlights the enduring appeal of physical retail and the role it plays in inspiring shoppers through tactile experiences, but it also shows that today’s fashion and sportswear shoppers are unmistakably mobile-first.

“Smartphones play a pivotal role in shaping their in-store purchase journeys, with shoppers leveraging their devices to carry out their shopping missions. Despite prevailing concerns over privacy in the digital age, our survey also found that six-in-ten (60%) fashion and sportswear shoppers are surprisingly comfortable with sharing personal data in-store, especially via smartphone – the caveat is that they want guaranteed better services and experiences in exchange.

“Brands and retailers that join the dots between multiple channels to create a seamless experience for shoppers will reap the rewards. Shoppers today expect to participate not spectate with the brands and retailers they choose to shop with; from try-on, to device-first interactions, to touch-screen experiences, to content creation.”

Further highlights from the survey reveal:

Interactive digital experiences such as QR codes, Augmented Reality and digital screens have a crucial role in shaping the in-store shopping journey shoppers in the category. Almost seven-in-ten (66%) find them appealing and engaging.

Six-in-ten (60%) fashion and sportswear shoppers are likely to use QR codes because they are useful, informative and convenient.

More than seven-in-ten (72%) find Augmented Reality technology appealing because it can help them visualise and better understand product features prior to a purchasing decision.

More than seven-in-ten (73%) are open to using interactive screens in-store, recognising them as invaluable tools for accessing product features, benefits and comparisons. This highlights a growing demand for immersive digital experiences that enhance the shopping journey.

Additionally, there is a widely held belief among 83% of fashion and sportswear shoppers that digital screens in-store should offer interactivity. This underscores the importance of integrating interactive technologies into retail spaces to meet evolving shopper expectations and enhance overall shopping experiences.

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