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Paging Stores: Enough With Your Gimmicks, We Just Want to Get In and Get Out

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Here’s why IRL shopping is still important.

Photo: Getty Images/Cooper Neill

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American stores are having a rough go of it — stores closing left and right, your Macy’s suffering the same fate as your American Apparels — and it’s a plight largely blamed on online shopping.

And yet there still seems to be something appealing about IRL shopping: According to a recent Pew Study, 64 percent of shoppers still prefer to shop in stores. In fact, while 79 percent of consumers have made a purchase online, that’s not their preference.

So what’s going to keep us shopping in stores? Luckily, there’s data, new data at that! RetailDive surveyed almost 1,500 Americans to find out why a majority of them still prefer shopping at a physical store. So what do we actually like about shopping?

The saving grace for brick and mortar will be human’s desire to feel something before they put the bacon down for it. 62 percent of those surveyed by RetailDive ranked this as their top reason for going to the store. You can’t tell how tight those jeans are going to be or how soft a pair of sweats are when there’s a screen in the way.

Retail’s next lifeline is instant gratification — 49 percent of respondents said being able to take something home immediately is the reason they favor shopping in person. (Although this advantage is on the wane: Everyone from Amazon, which offers the service for free, to smaller retailers like Net-a-Porter are starting to offer same-day delivery.)

Conversely, retailers are battling by trying to make it as easy as possible for customers to get to stores. Todd Snyder’s new New York store is experimenting with a free car service for its VIP customers on the weekends.

What won’t save stores, ironically, include the very things so many stores are trying.

A hilariously low number of shoppers care about just the in-store shopping experience. Only 18 percent of those surveyed care about all the extracurriculars going on in stores — you know, the coffee bars inside every Brooklyn or wannabe-Brooklyn retailer, the grooming salons tucked in the back of a shop, the exercise booths at a Nike or Adidas flagship.

Even fewer care about getting the advice of sales associates: Only 13 percent of respondents listed that as a reason to shop in stores. We don’t need to ask other humans how something should fit or what the latest trends are because there’s this vast well of information at our fingertips — I believe it’s called the internet.

In short, paging all struggling stores: Retail hell is other people. We just want to feel things on our own.