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Young shoppers challenge retailers to create a more engaging in-store experience with mobile

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Kids today eh? They clog up shopping malls and don’t buy anything. And now its official: 16 to 24 year olds socialize in retail environments and even use the shops for research, but tend to buy online – usually via mobile – from elsewhere.

So finds the Samsung Future Shoppers Report published this week, which warns that unless retailers radically rethink the in-store experience with mobile in mind, they risk turning their businesses into a row of brand showrooms.

Instead, says Samsung, they need to create ‘retail theatre’ with technology to connect the online and offline experiences.

The study found that British high street and shopping centre environments are very popular for young adults looking to socialise with friends or browse products; however, when it comes to making a purchase, retailers are missing out the immediate in-store opportunities to make sales.

While the majority (71 per cent) of 16-24 year olds find themselves in large retail environments at least once a fortnight, with two-thirds on the hunt for a specific item, the technologically confident, price-conscious future shopper frequently opts to make their final purchase online; and increasingly through their mobile phone. The research found that shopping with a purchase in mind is largely a solitary activity for these young consumers, armed with a clear idea of what they want to buy and a certainty it is the right product for them. This comes as a result of extensive research before and during the shopping trip to ensure they’re getting the best deal. Indeed, 44 per cent will be searching for a better price online through their mobile device while they are in-store.

“Young adults may be socialising in retail environments, but, by and large, when it comes to spending on products they are shopping alone and seeking the most convenient way to complete their purchase,” commented Graham Long, Vice President of Samsung’s Enterprise Business. “We’re seeing the emergence of a generation of sophisticated shoppers, with considerable disposable income, who have high expectations of what they expect from the high-street and other retail environments.”

Over two-thirds of those surveyed said that retailers could be doing more to keep them interested in products when they’re already in-store, suggesting that a degree of intervention could be what stops young shoppers from leaving empty-handed. Additionally, 68 per cent commented that they expect retailers to “try something new” in order to make the retail space more appealing to them.

The research demonstrates that retailers need to make sure they are communicating the benefits of existing in-store technology to fully capture the attention of young shoppers. While 16-24 year olds see the value of using tablets and in-store technology to check stock or browse catalogues, few young consumers use technology designed to enhance their experience. Less than 20 per cent of young shoppers scan QR codes, while more than 90 per cent ignore Augmented Reality (AR) apps.

The report reveals that there are opportunities for retailers to improve young shoppers’ perception of in-store. Nearly half of those questioned said that they would actively choose to visit retailers who use technology to enhance the experience; citing both receiving discounts to their devices as they pass a retailer, and the opportunity to customise products they like while in-store, as equally exciting future developments. The research shows that combining a more compelling in-store experience with discounts, offers and convenience will make real world shopping stand-out for this age group.

Commenting on the report, Graham Long goes on to say, “While we know that the high street has been losing ground to online shopping, young adults demonstrably enjoy shopping in the real world and are eager to engage with retailers that cater to their needs. Vendors who create exciting in-store environments, where shoppers can experience and interact with their products, could protect themselves from losing a customer to an online seller offering something as simple as a slight price discount.

“Young consumers embrace technology that delivers value when they’re shopping. Retailers need to be using technology to create a sense of retail theatre and bring their physical environment to life; they need to enhance the shopping experience. It’s not just a case of replicating online in-store; they need to be better at bridging the gap between the two and creating a sense of retail theatre. A seamless experience will gain the loyalty of young consumers, helping create engaged, connected and happy customers.”

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