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Stressing the “Stress­Free” Shopping Trip
15 Jan 2016
By:
Caroline Gormley

Year-over-year ShopperScape® data shows that shoppers are focusing less on price and instead putting a greater emphasis on the overall shopping experience. Specifically,
they are increasingly romanticizing the idea of a stress-free shopping trip. The key implication for retailers is that they now have an opportunity to appeal to shoppers in ways
other than offering the lowest price by capitalizing on shoppers’ shifting mindsets. In order to successfully entice shoppers through stress­free shopping, it will be essential to
understand what stress­free shopping means to shoppers and how different shoppers perceive “stress­free.” Retailers will need to address both the functional and emotional
stressors related to assortment, convenience, and the overall shopping experience to provide shoppers a true stress-free trip on the path to purchase.
All Shoppers Driving the Charge
Close to six in 10 shoppers rank a stress­free shopping experience important when shopping in general—a percentage that is significantly greater compared with the same
time last year (Figure 1). When looking across shopper segments, it is clear that all demographic groups contribute to driving this shifting mindset: all generational cohorts and
income segments are significantly more likely to rank a stress-free shopping experience as important when shopping vs. the same time last year. Similarly, both shoppers with
children in their household and those without are now more likely to value a low-stress trip vs. last year. Considering the sweeping manner in which the stress-free mindset is
gaining popularity and relevance among shoppers, retailers should prioritize making their shopping experience as stress­free as possible—as those that do will have a
competitive edge on those that don’t.

Arrows indicate significant difference vs. 2014 (95% confidence level)
Source: Kantar Retail ShopperScape®, January-August 2014 and January-August 2015
Unpacking the Stress-Free Shopping Trip
Shoppers perceive stress-free shopping as a multi-dimensional ideal state of shopping. When asked which factors are important to a stress-free shopping experience,
shoppers emphasize different aspects of the trip—e.g., the overall experience, assortment, and time­saving/convenience factors—at relatively similar rates (Figure 2). The top
ranked factors important to stress-free shopping cover three aspects of shopping:the ability to easily locate items the shopper needs, a quick hassle-free checkout, and the
ability to fulfill everything on the shopper’s list. Better than four in 10 shoppers rank each of these factors as important to stress­free shopping—evidence of the muilti­faceted
idealization of stress-free shopping.
Other components of the trip that a substantial portion of shoppers associate with stress-free shopping include in-stock items (36%), a quick shopping trip (33%), ease of
getting to the store (29%), and an enjoyable shopping experience (23%). Interestingly, the factors associated with good service—e.g., the ability to understand sales, the ability
to return an item, and the ability to get help—are all lower on the totem pole of what constitutes stress­free shopping.

KANTAR RETAIL

www.kantarretailiq.com |

Copyright 2016 Kantar Retail, LLC

www.kantarretailiq.eu |

www.kantarretailiq.cn |

Contact Us

1

Source: Kantar Retail ShopperScape®, July 2015
Functional vs. Emotional Approach
In looking at the aspects of stress-free shopping through an alternative lens, shoppers are more likely to associate the functional components of the trip with a less stressful
experience compared with the components of the trip that are more likely to elicit an emotional reaction (Figure 3). The majority of the functional shopping stress­reducers—e.g.,
the ability to easily locate items and the ability to complete shopping quickly—are most important in achieving a stress­free shopping trip. The components of the trip that are
more about how a shopper will feel about the trip (as opposed to getting the trip’s goals accomplished)—e.g., the ability to understand deals and the ability to get help—aren’t
as crucial to a low­stress trip. Even though the emotional stress­reducers are ranked as important to fewer shoppers overall, the emotional factors shouldn’t be ignored. The
retailer that addresses both the functional and emotional stressors of the trip will be the one that wins in providing a truly stress-free trip.

Source: Kantar Retail ShopperScape®, July 2015
Stressors Vary by Shopper Segment
KANTAR RETAIL

www.kantarretailiq.com |

Copyright 2016 Kantar Retail, LLC

www.kantarretailiq.eu |

www.kantarretailiq.cn |

Contact Us

2

Younger shoppers and older shoppers differ in which areas of the trip they are more or less likely to associate with stress-free shopping (Figure 4). Gen Y shoppers are more
likely than the average shopper to emphasize the overall shopping experience—e.g. an enjoyable trip and easy navigation—as well as the factors associated with online
shopping (e.g., fast, free shipping). The latter coincides with the fact that Gen Y shoppers over­index on favoring online formats—smartphone, tablet, and computer—over
shopping in a physical store to achieve a stress-free shopping experience. Gen X shoppers are also more likely than the average shopper to associate the convenience factors
of online shopping with stress-free shopping, as well as the ability to understand sales and deals. Both Gen Y and Gen X shoppers are less likely to indicate that assortment
factors—the ability to get everything on the list and that the retailer has their desired items in stock—are important to stress­free shopping. Gen Y shoppers also aren’t as likely
to get stressed by long checkout lines or by any difficulty of getting to the store.
In contrast, Boomers are more likely than the average shopper to associate the assortment factors with a stress-free shopping experience, and less likely to emphasize the
factors specific to online shopping. They are also less likely to get stressed by difficulty navigating the store and by being surrounded by shoppers not similar to them. Seniors
value the ability to easily find products and want the items they need to be in-stock, and are less likely to associate fast shipping and the ability to understand sales with stressfree shopping.
Shoppers with children in their household over-index on associating easy navigation of the store, shopping with like-minded shoppers, and fast shipping with stress-free
shopping. They are less likely to associate ease of getting to the store with stress­free shopping—data that could be explained by the idea that shoppers with children are likely
accustomed to the fact that getting to places isn’t as easy as it was before having children.
With regards to household income, both high-income (Haves) and low-income (Have Nots) shoppers are on par with the average shopper in how they assess the assortment,
convenience, service, and overall experiential factors with stress-free shopping.

Note: for detailed data, download XLS spreadsheet that accompanies this article
Source: Kantar Retail ShopperScape®, July 2015
Kantar Retail Point of View
The “stress­free” mantra is widespread. Because of greater price transparency, price­match guarantees, and the shopper’s ability to thoroughly research prices
ahead of the purchase, shoppers’ focus on defining value from a pure price perspective is fading, while they are increasingly valuing a stress­free shopping experience.
This shifting mindset is universal: all shopper segments are increasingly looking to minimize stress on the shopping trip. Considering the extent to which this mantra is
gaining popularity and relevance, retailers and suppliers should prioritize and address the common stressors their customers face.
Understand before implementing. The first step to providing shoppers with a stress-free experience will be to unpack the multiple dimensions of how shoppers
perceive stress­free shopping; retailers won’t be successful unless they address all stressors shoppers could experience on the trip. Shoppers’ idealization of stress­
free shopping centers on three key areas: a pleasant and easy overall experience, a convenient and quick trip, and an assortment that fulfills what’s on the shopper’s
list. Prioritizing these concepts in addition to elevating the functional stress-reducers will be integral in providing shoppers with a true stress-free shopping experience.
Different appeals for different shoppers. In order to appeal to shoppers with a stress-free shopping experience, retailers should consider how their target customers
describe stress-free shopping and focus their efforts accordingly. Because younger shoppers are more likely to consider the overall experience and time-saving
components of online-shopping important to stress-free shopping while older shoppers value the right assortment, retailers should prioritize their stress-reducers
according to the customer base. In order to be truly successful though, retailers will need to address all stress-reducers regardless of the age of their shoppers.
There will always be room for improvement. Even with the heightened convenience available to shoppers in today’s retail landscape—thanks in part to e­commerce
and same­day shipping—retailers have a long way to go in providing stress­free shopping. While some retailers are better than others in providing a low­stress trip, the
reality is a large portion of shoppers believe that no retailers offer stress-free shopping. A stress-free shopping experience should be an ideal state of shopping that
retailers constantly strive for and innovate to push the envelope.

KANTAR RETAIL

www.kantarretailiq.com |

Copyright 2016 Kantar Retail, LLC

www.kantarretailiq.eu |

www.kantarretailiq.cn |

Contact Us

3


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