National Survey Reveals Brick vs. Click Retail War Is Over

Brownstein Group survey suggests retail’s adoption of a brick-and-click consumer experience wins 

PHILADELPHIA, PA – November 29, 2017 – Brownstein Group today announced the results of its national survey of nearly 600 consumers that showed why so many shoppers are dissatisfied with the online shopping experience. Although consumers are shopping online more than ever, the experience doesn’t always live up to their expectations, leading approximately half of survey respondents desiring aspects of the in-store shopping experience.

Brownstein Group’s survey looked at consumers’ online shopping experiences across different categories. Consumers surveyed were least likely to have purchased vehicles online, followed by produce and sunglasses, and most likely to have purchased shoes online, followed by undergarments and personal fragrances. The most prevalent reason why some shoppers said they would never again purchase a certain product online came down to the look and feel of a product not living up to their expectations. This sentiment was heard from consumers across all categories in varying ways – 78% said cut and color of undergarments were off; 54% said fine jewelry didn’t look like it did online; 42% said sunglasses and 29% said shoes didn’t look as great on them as they had hoped; and 43% said the cosmetic’s color didn’t match their skin tones.

“The conversation around retail trends needs to evolve from ‘in-store shopping is dead’ to ‘in-store shopping can drive online sales.’ Retailers that don’t merge online and offline strategies will most likely not be around by holiday season 2020,” said Marc Brownstein, President and CEO of Brownstein Group. “This is the time for retail brands to reimagine the role of their stores in the consumer buying journey and think about using their stores as a place to inspire and drive consideration.”

Brownstein Group’s survey found that the most important store benefit is the tactile experience. In fact, 69% of people surveyed who stated that they have purchased produce online before but wouldn’t purchase online again would rather choose produce by hand. Furthermore, 90% of people surveyed who had purchased a fragrance online before but wouldn’t purchase online again want to smell the fragrance. This data supports the notion that some stores will need to re-emerge as optimized showrooms. Beyond the product experience, the survey also found that certain types of retailers may want to consider the role of salespeople because shoppers don’t always value sales associates’ help during the shopping experience. For example, for shoppers who purchase cosmetics in store, only 8% need a beauty expert to help them choose.

“There are some aspects of brick-and-mortar shopping that retailers will never be able to replicate online, and this is why the in-store experience is still relevant. The retailer of the future will consider how to create an engaging and immersive experience in store, leveraging emerging technologies, such as augmented reality, to help shoppers evaluate products and feel more comfortable about a purchase whether that ultimately takes place in store or online,” said Brownstein.

About Brownstein Group
Brownstein Group is the longest-running independent marketing communications agency in Philadelphia. Founded at the height of the Creative Revolution in the town where advertising started, Brownstein Group is known for its fierce pride and fearless approach, the kind that can only be born out of boundless passion and nurtured in a place with a little bit of grit and a whole lot of heart. Brownstein Group offers full-service, integrated solutions with expertise across all disciplines, including brand strategy, advertising, public relations, social media and digital.

BG is relentless in the pursuit of breakthrough ideas but dedicated to its clients and people. Named one of Ad Age’s Best Places to Work and a Fortune Top 100 Best Places to Work for Women, Brownstein Group’s clients include IKEA, UnitedHealthcare, Comcast Xfinity, Saint-Gobain North America, Wawa, Western Union, the Philadelphia Auto Show, La Colombe, LEGOLAND® Discovery Center and DuPont Sorona®. For additional information, visit

215 Broad Newsletter

Insights & news for unstoppable brands. Sign up now.