Going Digital in Real Life

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Published September 21, 2021   |  Last Updated June 15, 2024

2021 Shopper Survey from Reflect Reveals What Consumers Want from Their Retail Experience

New data provides actionable insights for how retailers can bring shoppers back to brick-and-mortar stores with in-store tech

Reflect Systems, a leader in place-based digital experiences for retail, entertainment and healthcare providers, today released a national study, “In-Store Shopping: Hiccups & Hangups of 2021.” The report examines consumer perceptions and preferences on both online and in-person shopping, revealing a significant desire for more technological advancements in brick-and-mortar stores that mimic the convenience and benefits of online shopping to inspire customers to return to stores.

Surveying more than 1600 Americans between August 12-13, 2021, the report revealed that the majority of respondents (60%) said they prefer to do more than half of their shopping online. Despite this majority, the findings also highlight a significant interest in in-store technology to enhance the in-person shopping experience – revealing how retailers can use tailored technology to draw customers back into stores.

Other findings include:

  • 67% of respondents said what they miss most about in-person shopping is interacting with products and knowing what they’re getting.
  • 80% of under-30 shoppers are more likely to shop in person than online if a store has interactive screens with product information, product comparisons and/or reviews.
  • 55% said they prefer to shop in-person for food and grocery items, above any other product category.
  • Surprisingly, only 56% of younger Millennials (under 30) prefer to shop online vs. almost 70% of older Millennials (30-44).
  • 43% of shoppers say the Delta variant will not have an impact on how much they shop in person.


“What we’re seeing—to no one’s surprise—is that the factors driving people to shop online are the ease and breadth of features it offers, but consumers are clearly missing key elements of in-person shopping that online retailers simply can’t provide,” said Lee Summers, CEO at Reflect. “Shoppers still want to physically interact with products, but they’ve grown accustomed to the personalized, ‘DIY’ experience of online shopping. This data shows that retailers have a huge opportunity to leverage in-store technology to drive store traffic and revenue by deploying tech that puts customers in the driver’s seat, giving them access to product information—right at their fingertips.”


Further insights from the study revealed a strong interest in specific technologies that can bring online features to brick and mortar stores. These findings include:

  • 56% of respondents said product reviews would be the most helpful feature from online shopping they would like to see in-store, with price comparison second at 39%.
  • 46% said they prefer a more DIY shopping experience, with self-service options.
  • 83% believe informative digital screens would save time during shopping trips.
  • Of those who do the majority of their shopping online, nearly 50% say that informative, interactive displays would be the most enticing feature for them to shop in person.


“This research clearly illustrates the gaps retailers can and should fill between in-person and online shopping,” said Matt Schmitt, Reflect’s co-founder and president. “Through new innovations, personalized experiences and other unique offerings, brands have a host of solutions at their disposal to enhance in-store shopping trips and encourage customers to keep coming back—simply by giving customers the experience they want.”


In addition to these key findings, the In-Store Shopping: Hiccups & Hangups of 2021 study further explores generational and gender-based shopping preferences, types of technology people want to see in stores and actionable insights to help retailers create more engaging, safe and efficient shopping experiences for their target customers.


The complete report will be revealed in a live webinar to be held on Thursday, October 7, hosted by Bob Sanders, Chief Operating Officer at Reflect. A copy of the full report will be provided to all registrants, even if unable to attend the live event.


To join next month’s webinar, register here.


About Reflect
Reflect provides the industry’s most powerful, cost-effective digital signage platform, helping our customers create compelling experiences that engage staff and keep customers coming back for more. Reflect supplies everything brands need, including creative agency services, robust content management and ad trafficking systems, and media sales, all backed by the market-leading ReflectView and AdLogic software platforms. Visit Reflect at https://www.reflectsystems.com, follow us on Twitter at @reflectsystems or find us on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.


Christina Davies

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