Customer needs in digital retail – sales

In the sales phase, the aim is for companies to pick up their customers in the best possible way. While in the pre-purchase phase, while he searches for information and details, they only have a limited influence on him, they can convince him here. In this phase, the actual act of purchase takes place in the store or virtual POS. Various factors play a role for the customer. Media specialist trend research has shown that not only the presentation of the products, but also the specialist staff and the purchasing process play a central role in the consumer’s decision-making process.



The search for the best price is not always the same. The discussion clearly showed that consumers are prepared to pay a higher price for good and competent advice. Especially in the high-end segment, advice in stationary retail is preferred to pure online shopping.


Problem solution

This can go so far that customers are not only willing to pay a surcharge after receiving excellent advice or after the retails’s contribution to solving a problem, but also want to take the product with them immediately.


Product tests

Not only professional advice, but also product tests play an important role. Particularly in the case of complex product categories, such as cameras or cars, consumers are looking for the opportunity to test the product beforehand. For example, a participant describes how he wants to take his camera with him to the store to try out new lenses directly – only in this way does he know what he’s doing and feels he’s in good hands with the dealer. This attitude can be applied to many other retail sectors in which previously purchased products or extensions can be tested with the new purchase. At this point, however, the gender-specific separation of purchasing behaviour becomes clear. While the two female participants in the group agreed that they wanted to touch, feel and smell new products, these factors were of secondary importance for the male participants; they attached greater importance to the pure functionality of the products. However, they agreed that without intensive testing, it would be particularly difficult to make a purchase decision and develop a feeling for the product and the brand in some complex and costly product categories. This would not only be seen in technical products, but also in food shopping. Particularly in the case of fresh produce, personal food selection has a special priority.


Assortment and Clarity

Stationary retail cannot compete with the Internet and mobile services in terms of product range diversity. The full range of services offered there is essential for some of the participants in the discussion. Others, however, are deterred by this diversity, as they find the clear range of products offered by stationary retailers more convenient and pleasant. Too much choice makes the purchase decision too complex in some low-involvement-categories. In contrast, the Group’s demand for various brands, functions and models of high-end products arose.

Trend research has shown that the need for a clear or broad assortment differs depending on the product category and the need for personal advice.



Based on their previous experience in stationary as well as online and mobile retail, the respondents particularly appreciated online shopping, as it enables targeted and fast shopping. When buying via mobile phone or computer, the desired product category is directly accessed and you usually adhere to the set shopping goals. The situation is different, however, when it comes to shopping in the shop, where impulse buying is the order of the day. Despite the speed advantages in the purchase process, online shopping must be worthwhile, including in terms of delivery and waiting times, so that you are prepared to accept any delays and delivery costs.



The classic purchasing process has changed from entering the shop to paying for the goods. Due to online sales channels, the purchase process is suddenly “primitively simple”. With just a few clicks you can select a product and make the payment. Stationary retail is still lagging far behind. However, and this was particularly relevant for the participants of the discussion, the online order has also negative sides. The emotionality of classic shopping is lost when it comes to online shopping. Even if stationary processes take more time, they increase the consumer’s loyalty to brands and retailers enormously. Other implementation concepts must follow, because otherwise the purchase, especially in the case of small details, does not appear to be worthwhile for many consumers online.



PayPal and Co. have shown how easy payment can be in the digitalized world. But in the opinion of the consumers surveyed, however, the retailer must not ignore his target groups in the stationary retail. Whether cash payment, with card or via NFC on the smartphone, the customer would like to be satisfied in every contingency. Retailers must not forget their traditional strengths, so that regular customers will continue to feel well looked after, but at the same time digital change must be prepared.


Conclusion of the trend research “Sales”

For many consumers, consulting is still a central issue in purchasing. Ideally, you want to order online and pick it up directly in the shop, where you can get additional information and advice if necessary. If the customer decides to order completely online, the purchase has to be worthwhile in terms of money, delivery costs and the offered payment methods as well as logistics. Too much packaging material or unnecessary time delays are no longer in demand among digital consumers in today’s hectic “Go-Green society” and even deter them.


Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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