5 Retail Myths and Realities You Should be Aware of

retail myths

Is your retail store suffering from your belief in common retail myths? InReality’s first “Reality of Retail Report” debunks some common beliefs about the state of brick-and-mortar retail. Here’s a closer look at fact versus fiction.

Retail Myths Versus Reality

Customers do all Their Shopping Online

Most people shop online now, don’t they?


Yes, online shopping is growing but a whopping 94 percent of retail purchases still take place in brick-and-mortar stores.

Customers do all Their Preliminary Research Online

Okay, shoppers do go to stores but they do all their preliminary research online — right?


The majority (53 percent) of shoppers surveyed prefer to research products in-store. Among the youngest (18 to 24) age group, the preference is even higher, at 57 percent. Only the 50-to-65 age group does more of their research in-store (60 percent prefer this way).

The study surmises that younger and older shoppers typically have fewer time commitments (like demanding jobs or young children), so they’re more open to leisurely browsing. Shoppers 25 to 49, however, want to get in and out of stores quickly.

In-Store Mobile Price Comparisons Means Cheaper Options Sought

Shoppers using mobile devices in-store are doing price comparisons so they can find it cheaper elsewhere, correct?


Okay, that’s not exactly a myth. Looking up prices is the No. 1 use of mobile devices in-store. However, consumers also use mobile devices for looking at their shopping lists, taking and sharing product photos, and accessing coupons and discounts.

In other words, they also take actions likely to lead to buying something in-store. The report recommends making sure your store has good WiFi so shoppers on mobile don’t get frustrated.

Traditional Marketing is Dead

Traditional retail marketing doesn’t matter anymore. It’s all about your online presence, isn’t it?


Yes, online marketing is vital — but so are traditional methods. Overall, the most important factor in a purchasing decision is promotions/discounts (cited by 81 percent of respondents).

However, 56 percent say packaging is important to their decisions, 54 percent say advertising is, 53 percent cite product demonstrations, and 50 percent say in-store displays affect their decisions to buy.

Staff Makes or Breaks the Sale

Your salespeople are the most important factor in making the sale, aren’t they?


Maybe that’s how it should be but, in fact, only 12 percent of shoppers say the in-store salesperson is an important touch point in a purchase decision. It seems salespeople are falling short.

Think about the last time you went to buy something and dealt with a salesperson who knew less about the product than you did. (For me, it was yesterday.) Frustrating, right?

The traditional role of the salesperson is becoming obsolete, the report says, because shoppers can get their own product information. Instead, think about what kind of information your customers can’t get on their own, or how your salespeople can provide consultation to help move the purchasing decision forward.


Think about:

  • How you can meet the needs of both those who like to browse and shoppers who are in a rush,
  • How you can incorporate mobile tools in your store to help customers buy,
  • What type of information you could provide shoppers in-store to help them buy, and
  • What more your sales associates should be doing and how they could provide additional assistance to encourage the sale.

Are you catering to retail myths or realities?

Crosswalk Photo via Shutterstock


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

2 Reactions
  1. Right. People look at products online. but they still prefer to get the item sans the shipping.

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