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Consumers know what they want

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NEW YORK — Consumers have specific demands, especially when shopping online, according to the most recent issue of “Consumer View,” a report issued by the National Retail Federation.

Online shoppers, the NRF finds, expect to get their merchandise delivered quickly and for free.

“Consumers today want what they want when they want it and they don’t expect to pay a premium to get it fast,” said Mark Mathews, NRF’s vice president for research development and industry analysis. “When they walk into a store they want to find their item, and find it easily, especially if they’ve researched it online beforehand. And whether it’s next-day or pickup-in-store, quick delivery of online purchases at little or no extra charge is growing so fast that it’s something shoppers are coming to expect.”

Mathews discussed the report during a session on developing trends in consumer behavior held recently at NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show, NRF’s annual conference in New York.

“These findings provide important insights for all retailers into consumers’ shopping behaviors and expectations,” Mathews said. “Reliable research is important because retailers who want to be here tomorrow need to meet consumer demands today and anticipate needs in the future.”

Whether shopping in-store or online, consumers are typically seeking to buy a certain item rather than just browsing, with 73% surveyed saying that’s the case with stores and 54% online, according to the NRF report. And in either case, 58% rated being able to find what they want quickly and easily as their top factor in determining where to shop. Shopping “just to browse,” NRF finds, has shifted to being more popular online, 46%, than in stores, 27%.

Among those shopping online, 68% expect free shipping even on purchases of less than $50, with 47% saying they typically back out if shipping isn’t free and 38% expect two-day shipping to be free while 24% expect free same-day shipping.

“Retailers are literally racing to consumers’ doorsteps to meet rising expectations,” Mathews remarked.


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