brick and mortar shopping trends

Why Customers Get Educated Online but Buy In-Store

Finally! Kristin sealed up the last envelope with invitations to her sister Sarah’s bridal shower. This was going to be a huge event!

Her sister was marrying the man of her dreams. Kristin loved the pair as a couple and couldn’t wait to see them walk down the aisle… this wedding was going to be one for the record books. Or, her record books anyway.

Sarah was marrying a man from India. The pair decided to hold a traditional Indian wedding with intermittent glimpses of the American culture where Sarah was raised. The entire affair would last four days.

Kristin was in charge of the bridal shower. That she could handle.

As she finished addressing the last envelope, she was excited for the next task on her to-do list – shopping!

Step 1: Research Online

Kristin reached for her glass of Pinot, turned on “Sweet Home Alabama” to get her in the right mood and started sifting through her favorite store’s websites. She needed several outfits.

First, for the bridal shower she was planning, she needed something white. Then, for the wedding ceremonies themselves, which were set to start the following day, she needed several new dresses. These dresses could be a little more colorful, which was good considering it was July. ‘Summer colors are always a little more exciting,’ she thought to herself as she scrolled and sipped.

A few hours and a few glasses of wine later, the movie had ended. Kristin had filled her online shopping cart with way more than she needed. She had 15 dresses total. How could she choose between them without trying them on?

brick and mortar shopping trends

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Step 2: Head to the Store for the Try-On

Kristin is part of a large group – the half of all shoppers who narrow their decision through online discovery. Like so many other shoppers, Kristin loved browsing the racks virtually but always made her final decision after trying on. And instead of having to deal with paying for shipping, waiting for packages to arrive, and then dealing with returns, she preferred to shop in store.

So, the next day, she headed out.

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She hit the first store and opened up the shopping cart she’d filled the night before. As she walked through the door, she quickly picked up one of her top dresses and held it tightly.

Soon, an associate approached her.

Can I help you find anything?” The associate could see she had her phone out and her arms full. At this point, the only thing Kristin wanted help with was putting her clothes in the fitting room while she continued to shop.

As she continued to browse the store, she started to get confused. In her wine-soaked shopping escapade the night before, she must not have saved every dress she loved. There were a few missing from her cart and now she needed extra help finding these precious potential dresses.

Step 3: Get Help?

Kristin flagged down the associate and started describing what she had seen. She talked about the fabric, the color and the style. She wanted a cobalt blue maxi dress with short sleeves. It seemed like a simple request.

Soon, Kristin regretted asking for help. She was being whisked through the racks and shown every dress in cobalt blue and several in red. The problem? Most weren’t conservative enough for her, and she wasn’t allowed to wear red to an Indian wedding – it’d steal the attention from Sarah!

The sales associate didn’t care. She never asked her questions about what she was shopping for. Instead, she tried pushing the latest products on Kristin, making it clear she had another agenda than making Kristin happy.

Kristin got frustrated and left before making it to the dressing room. She had other stores with beautiful dresses waiting for her.

As she walked into store number two on her list, she went through the same routine. She pulled out her phone, went through her shopping cart and started pulling the items she wanted to try.

Step 4: Get Help!

A sales associate approached her again and Kristin grumbled under her breath. But this time was different.

This sales associate quickly asked her what she was shopping for. She could see that Kristin had specific ideas in mind.

As they started walking around the store pulling one dress after another that she had seen online, the sales associate asked her questions. She was excited to learn about Indian weddings and what Sarah’s would be like. This associate could tell Kristin had done her research. She saw that Sarah was an educated shopper who had everything she needed for the entire wedding – from the bridal shower and henna ceremony to the dance floor.

When Kristin finally headed to the fitting room, she was ready! She had every dress from the list she had put together the night before.

She slipped on dress number one and fell in love. When she stepped out, the associate confirmed… she looked great, but not too great. It was perfect.

Kristin left with five dresses in hand. She knew this would not be an easy decision and was grateful for the associate’s feedback and help. Without her, the dress shopping would’ve felt more like a nightmare than a joy – and all because she got to know her story.

Can Your Store Benefit by Improving the Customer Experience?

One of the most crucial areas of the store is the fitting room. Learn how your fitting room can help you fend off your online competitors.


fitting room in brick and mortar stores