Some 51% of consumers consider environmental and sustainability efforts as either ‘important’ or a ‘top consideration’ when deciding where to shop, a new study by Manhattan Associates has found.
In addition, more than a quarter (26%) of respondents say that the development of a ‘more environmentally aware and sustainable supply chain’ is one of their top three priorities for 2023.
The study, Recalibrating for the Next Normal, finds that the lines between physical and digital commerce are ‘becoming increasingly opaque and complicated’, due to structural shifts driven by changing consumer habits and the pandemic.
‘No Return To Status Quo’
“Shopping habits have changed forever,” commented Henri Seroux, SVP EMEA at Manhattan Associates. “There can be no return to the status quo, with 83% of retailers now claiming they operate a level of interconnection between their online and in-store functions.”
Manhattan Associates presented the findings of the data at its European Exchange customer conference, held in Berlin earlier this month.
The study found that, across the retail sector as a whole, as many as 82% of in-store purchases are influenced by online channels.
Reasons cited by respondents for starting the shopping journey online include to ‘find the best offers’ (46%), to ‘find out more about the product before they purchase’ (44%), to ‘make sure the product is in stock’ (42%) and to read reviews (41%).
“As the retail industry recalibrates for this next normal, the ability to navigate disruption while enhancing the physical and digital customer experience will become increasingly important, as will the technologies that allow retailers to fulfil in-store and online orders in an agile, sustainable and profitable fashion,” Seroux explained.
Role Of The Store
Seroux added that the perception of the physical store has been “fundamentally changed” by the pandemic, with many operators now seeing the value of stores as fulfilment hubs for click-and-collect and other omnichannel services.
“While digitalisation and frictionless shopping are certainly two of the big winners from the pandemic, the research shows that we should not be too quick to discount the importance of human interaction, or the role of the physical store in the era of digital commerce,” he said.
Some 3,500 adult consumers (i.e. those aged 18+) were surveyed as part of the study.
© 2022 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.