5 Things In-Location Customers Crave in 2021


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Any projections that retailers had for 2020 flew out the window right around March. Sitting at the tail-end of 2020 and heading into 2021, it’s tough to imagine that consumer behavior forecasts for the coming year will be derailed the way that they were in 2020.

2020 has undoubtedly molded a new class of consumer—a safety conscious consumer, a frugal consumer, and a consumer who is willing to spend more and spend consistently only if the in-location experience is compelling.

This is a class of consumer that you are seeking to derive maximum value from in 2021. To achieve this goal, it behooves you to get inside of the mind of the consumer post-COVID, and to strategize your in-location experiences around their likes and dislikes, concerns, and perceptions of value.

You’ve always been required as a successful brick and mortar operation to understand and cater to the shopper’s psychology. That said, you’re dealing in 2021 with a consumer who is more conflicted than ever. They want to visit your brick and mortar locations, but have concerns about their safety. They’re willing and ready to support brick and mortar operations, but cannot justify doing so unless the experience, value, and product offerings are worth the perceived risk.

In order to help you maximize the return on your investment in your brick and mortar locations, we homed in on several consumer trends that will define the shopping experience in 2021. Our State of Consumer Behavior 2021 report documents the prevailing attitudes of consumers heading into the new year—insights that you can use to provide maximum value to customers and drive revenue from the brick and mortar segment of your operations.

Customers want to be assured of their safety in your stores

You’ve invested substantial resources in your physical locations, and yet 40.3% of the consumers we surveyed have decreased the frequency of visits to brick and mortar businesses because of circumstances stemming from COVID-19.

Even as a business that has remained open throughout the pandemic, you’ve surely sensed and quantified customers avoiding your stores due to health-related concerns. You’ve taken every possible precaution—sanitizing, distancing, mask requirement, etc.—and yet your brick and mortar locations may not have regained the revenues they generated pre-pandemic.

One question to ask yourself and your team is whether you have communicated the steps you are taking to protect customers’ health as clearly as you possibly can.

We know from our findings that 90% of respondents are likely to tell friends, family, colleagues, or even strangers about a positive experience in your store. What if a positive experience means a customer reading or watching through a digital sign how your employees are wiping down surfaces, ensuring social distancing protocols, and implementing other safety measures without fail?

As a retailer looking to restore a more equitable share of revenue between your online and brick and mortar operations, it helps to remember that customers can never be assured enough about their own safety. As word spreads about the measures you are taking to insulate customers from COVID-19, more and more customers will return to their pre-pandemic shopping habits.

You must be the genesis of the word in order for it to spread. Show and tell customers through your digital signs—videos, written messaging, graphics, etc.—that they are safe in your store. Consumers deserve the certainty, and your business deserves recognition for its health-related efforts.

Consumers are craving out-of-the-house experiences

You understand that every retail experience exists within the context of consumer safety. With that said, consumers are looking for reasons to flee their homes—give them that reason.

We found that consumers who prefer the in-person shopping experience value the ability to see and interact directly with products—33% of respondents see this as the most appealing feature of brick and mortar shopping. The overall experience of visiting a store was the second-leading attraction of shopping in person, as 26% of respondents most value the in-location experience.

You can enhance the sense of community, value, and experience in your store without risking the customers’ health. Playing brand-elevating videos on digital signs and displaying positive messaging through those very same signs are just a couple of the tools you can use to make your store, and customers, feel as warm as possible.

Customers want and deserve value

Retailers must confront a bleak reality: everyday Americans have been crushed economically by COVID-19, and the individual financial outlook could grow even more dire for Americans before it improves.

Consumers have had to face this reality, and so do you. Customers by and large are not spending like they did pre-pandemic, and they shouldn’t. But when they need to spend, give them value. This is the best way that you can serve your customer: to make your brick and mortar locations a saving grace for struggling Americans.

32.7% of consumers polled in our State of Consumer Behavior 2021 report weigh price most heavily when choosing a retailer. Offer exclusive in-store discounts through scannable QR codes, direct customers to discounted products through signage, and find other ways to intertwine tangible savings with vibrant brand messaging.

Value will drive customers to your store in 2021 more so than most years, and such value is a much-needed lifeline for customers hit hard by the economic downturn.

Customer service remains paramount

Customer service is important—we’re not telling you anything you don’t already know. 30.9% of respondents said the quality of service can make or break their in-store experience.

Retailers must redefine customer service in a time when virus-wary customers want to be left alone, and smiles are at a premium in crowds of make-donning employees and customers.

Ultimately, customer service means making customers feel welcomed, and giving them what they want.

33.1% of respondents said the availability of product most defines the positivity of their in-store experience. Digital signs can be customized to be more specific than permanent signage, and can tell customers exactly the location of certain products—including discounted ones.

Written words, videos, and photographs displayed on signs can communicate how much you value your customer, and why you appreciate them choosing to trust you with their safety and shopping budget.

Customers want an experience when they visit your store

A retail experience is not defined by any single feature, but instead by the collective of your store, employees, goods, and services.

Customers want to know they’re safe. They want value, unique discounts, and to find the exact products they seek in an efficient way. They want to be able to checkout without the assistance of a cashier, a desire which self-checkout kiosks can accommodate.

Your customers want to feel part of their community without feeling endangered. They want to feel that the brand they give their business to cares about them, and shows it through fair prices, positive employee interactions, and safety protocols.

Customers want to get out of the house and come to your brick and mortar locations. Make it easy for them by providing a sequence of positive in-location experiences from the moment they enter until they walk out the door.

Bobby Marhamat
Bobby is the CEO of Raydiant, a digital signage provider that helps businesses turn their TVs into interactive signs that drive sales, improve the in-store experience, and reinforce brand messaging. Prior to joining Raydiant, Bobby served as the COO of Revel Systems where he worked on the front lines with over 25,000 brick and mortar retailers. Bobby has held leadership positions including CEO, CRO, and VP of Sales at companies such as Highfive, Limos.com, EVO2, Verizon Wireless, LookSmart, ServerPlex Networks, and Sprint/Nextel. When Bobby's not spending his time thinking about the future of


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