Study confirms retail executives don't know what consumers want

Senior retail executives are out of touch with what consumers want in their shopping experiences. In a series of three surveys reaching out to consumers and retail executives alike, First Insight found that responses to questions of consumer shopping habits and the influences that drive shopping decisions varied drastically between the two groups. “Many senior retail leaders are out of touch with the importance of discounts, coupons and promotions in-store, and the importance of emerging technologies consumers are embracing to research pricing,” First Insight wrote in its report. “The impact of this disconnect will only continue to grow as prices rise due to tariffs.”

Most retail executives believe convenience is as large of a deciding factor to consumers as price is, however consumers prove this is not the case. Consumers rank pricing as the second most important factor to a purchase decision, far higher than convenience. Conversely, only 20 percent of retail executives think that pricing is a top importance to consumers. The only question consumers and retail executives seem to be aligned in is the importance of quality on purchase decisions. Both parties agree that quality is of the top importance to a shopping decision.

Consumers value in-store discounts

The study also confirmed that retail executives don’t realize the value of in-store discounts, promotions and coupons to persuading consumers to shop in physical retail locations. Thirty-six percent of consumers have said that these types of promotions are amongst the top three factors to convince them to shop in a store as opposed to online. Only 12 percent of retail executives ranks these factors as areas of importance to consumers. Most executives ranked them as least important.

Retail executives also prove to be out of touch with consumers’ views on pricing. Consumers believe that pricing has risen in most areas, across online and in-store sales. Only 1 out of 5 retail executives surveyed agreed with this statement. Sixty percent of consumers believe pricing has increased in stores, and 51 percent have seen a pricing increase online. Only 20 percent of executives believe pricing has increased in either retail outlet.

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