A recent consumer survey from JDA revealed that consumers don’t expect special or unique experiences when shopping in stores. Instead, many shoppers are looking for convenience-related services, such as buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) or return in-store.

Yet recently many retailers have been more focused on the need to create unique experiences to draw consumers to the brand and generate more foot traffic in stores.

The RTP team discusses what these contradicting strategies may mean for retailers, and how they can strategize effectively when faced with industry studies that could be counter-intuitive. .

Debbie Hauss, Editor-in-Chief: I have to admit, I was surprised when I saw the results of the JDA survey — not because I think BOPIS and other fulfillment options aren’t important, but I didn’t think they would overshadow the importance of a unique store experience. I still don’t — I think today’s shoppers want it all, at their convenience. So, it comes down to the specific shopping situation, the retail brand and its competition. If we’re talking about an item that could be purchased on Amazon Prime and delivered to the home the next day (or in 2 minutes), then a competing retailer better be able to offer a similar service. If we’re talking about a specialty apparel item, it’s more likely that the brand image and relationship with the customer will come into play, so a unique in-store experience may win over the shopper in that case. Retailers need to know their target audience and their competitors in order to succeed in today’s hyper-competitive retail marketplace.

Adam Blair, Executive Editor: The apparent contradiction here — between the hunger for experiential retail and the desire for convenience — doesn’t seem to me to be a contradiction at all. As RSR’s Brian Kilcourse said, retailers tend to cluster at either end…