U.S. Consumers Embrace Hybrid Shopping, 41% Purchased An Item Online for In-store or Curbside Pickup

Avionos’ new report uncovers how in-store and online shopping experiences will merge at an accelerated rate in the new year


Avionos, which designs and implements digital commerce and marketing solutions, released its latest U.S shopping report, “Hybrid is Here to Stay: How Multi-Channel Journeys will Define eCommerce in 2022.” The report outlines how consumers want the best of both worlds across in-store and online channels, how convenience influences customer loyalty in the new year and how retail expectations differ across generations.

To better understand the behavioral changes retailers can expect from shoppers in 2022, Avionos surveyed 750 U.S. consumers in November 2021 who had shopped at an online marketplace and a small, local business besides a grocery store in the previous six months. The data uncovered that multi-channel shopping journeys are becoming the norm as consumers increasingly mix traditional in-store shopping with online experiences. For example, 41% of consumers purchased an item online for in-store or curbside pickup, while 27% returned an online purchase in-store, underscoring the need for retailers to blend digital and in-person interactions to maintain trust with shoppers. 

The report also revealed, in November 2021, 18% fewer respondents noted feeling overwhelmed by brand communications compared to the start of the pandemic. With many brands relying on digital communications like promotional emails, online ads and social media posts to connect with consumers this downward trend is beneficial. At the same time, it’s still important for marketers to strike a balance between consistency and oversaturation to effectively connect with consumers.

“As we head into the third year of the pandemic, it is clear that consumers keep moving the goalposts on what they view as a compelling experience, continuing to put pressure on brands as they look to break through the eCommerce noise,” said Scott Webb, CEO of Avionos. “The key takeaway from our report: consumers expect their purchases to be convenient, simple, and seamless wherever they choose to transact. Elements that were novel just 18 months ago such as curbside pickup and frictionless returns are table stakes now. The retailers that go above and beyond to create great functionality both on and offline will establish greater trust, loyalty, and sales.”

Key report findings include: 

  • Younger generations prefer to shop via social media and feel more overwhelmed by online brand communications. Seventy percent of Gen Z consumers made a purchase via a social media platform in the last six months, compared to just 33% of the baby boomer generation. Additionally, 76% percent of Gen Z respondents and 69% of millennial respondents reported being overwhelmed by brand outreach compared to 52% of baby boomers. 
  • Brands must go beyond traditional shipping and easy returns to deliver a seamless experience. When making an online purchase, 30% of respondents wish checking out (e.g., inputting payment information and applying promo codes) was easier. Similarly, 32% of respondents wish checking out (e.g., contactless card payment or self-service checkout) was easier when making an in-store purchase.
  • Retailers need to listen to consumer pain points and address them accordingly across all channels. Consumers wish finding new products and learning more about products was easier both in-store (29%) and online (27%). Additionally, 10% of consumers would find it helpful if there was a comprehensive FAQ page with responses to common pain points. 

“Our report uncovered not only how expectations among shoppers are evolving, but also what that looks like based on different age groups, which brands can’t afford to overlook when purchasing power is spread across generations,” said Dan Neiweem, co-founder and principal at Avionos. “As we look to the future of commerce, the lines between online and in-person are blurring. Retailers must create omni-channel experiences that are as immersive and personal online as they traditionally are in-person. In person, brands must offer the same seamless checkout and price transparency as they do online. Ultimately, consumers want their purchase experience to be intuitive, simple and convenient regardless of the channel. ​​”

To learn more about how brands can deliver on consumer expectations, download the full report here

About Avionos 
Avionos’ team of experts drives measurable business outcomes for Fortune 500 and 1000 companies like Brunswick, Abbott, and Transunion by partnering with executives to turn their digital vision into reality. Avionos’ integrated digital transformation, marketing, and commerce capabilities elevate its global clients’ digital experiences and drive growth. Avionos is an Inc. 5000 company, a Certified Great Place to Work, a Crain’s Best Place to Work, and on the Comparably Best Company Culture list. Learn more at http://www.avionos.com.

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