How Brick-and-Mortar Stores Can Win the Retail Game

Tara Litchfield  |  Director of Experience Design

March 21, 2017

How Brick-and-Mortar Stores Can Win the Retail Game by Creating More Personal, Efficient and Unified Customer Experiences

Executive Summary

How can traditional retailers compete with Amazon, Wayfair, Overstock, and other pure-play e-commerce sellers? What can multichannel retailers do to make their brick-and-mortar stores more relevant to today’s busy customer, who has an array of retail options? How can retailers better insert themselves into the decision-making process?

This research explores consumer shopping behaviors across online and offline channels to better understand the value of the brick-and-mortar experience. Its purpose: to help retailers compete more effectively in today’s digitally driven, omnichannel-focused environment.

Key Findings

Most customers were highly motivated by convenience, efficiency, good customer service, product quality, and value, in that order.

1. Convenience Is Paramount … and Amazon Wins – Most customers preferred researching and buying products online. Many shoppers avoided Black Friday events due to crowds and believed there were better deals online.

2. Efficiency Matters … From the Customer’s POV – Store efficiency “improvements” were not always aligned with the customer’s needs. Customers looked for anything that saved them time. If a retailer didn’t offer same-day pickup locations, the brick-and-mortar store was likely to lose the business. Stores may want to think about offering free one-hour delivery from store to door so that customers wouldn’t have to go to the store to pick up merchandise.

3. Pushy Salespeople Can Cost You Sales Customers wanted a personal experience with the product, not the store’s salespeople. Sales staff who didn’t have enough knowledge to answer product questions were regarded as time-wasters.

4. Price Matters … but Quality Matters More – Overall, customers wanted the best quality for the lowest price. They were willing to pay more for a product when convenience and customer service were perceived to be superior.

5. Customers Are Loyal to Things That Save Them Money – Most customers were not loyal to any store. However, certain rewards programs and offers captured customers’ purchases more often.

To receive the full research report, which includes additional findings, specific ways retailers can compete against online competitors, and a plan for success, contact Christian Banach at 585.453.8313 or email: Or contact Mike Osborn at 585.453.8331 or email: There is no charge for this report.

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Tara Litchfield
As Catalyst’s director of experience design, Tara develops engaging and effective experiences for our clients’ customers. She leads research initiatives that uncover new insights, then translates those insights into optimized customer experiences. She has worked with a variety of Fortune 500 clients, including American Express, Honeywell, Kaspersky Lab, Paychex, Sears, Anthropologie, Carpet One, Reebok, Verizon, and Campbell’s Soup, among others.

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