Even on Black Friday, retailers aren’t immune to the problem of non-buying behavior, the frustrating, revenue-sapping phenomenon of being able to entice a consumer into a store, only to have that same consumer leave without buying anything.
Using GPS location tracking, MFour surveyed 3,857 shoppers just as they left five major stores on Black Friday. With their experiences fresh in mind, 21% of the shoppers surveyed said they did not make a purchase during their visit. Identifying non-buyers is the first step toward turning them into spenders, and in-the-moment, right-time and right-place mobile exit surveys are the state of the art for understanding shoppers’ motivations. Just as mobile location surveys enable retailers to understand the “why” behind the buy, the same solution gets to the motivations behind the non-buy.
Depending on the circumstances, the problem could be shortages of popular items, aisle and shelf layouts that make a desired product hard to find, unpopular pricing or inadequate customer service. The problem could be chain-wide and systemic, or a localized issue that would require a local solution. The only way to know is to buttonhole first-party consumers for mobile exit interviews, identify non-buyers, and ask them what the problem was while they’re still at the Point of Emotion®, when their shopping experiences are vivid and fully remembered.
In the Black Friday study, non-buying behavior hit Macy’s and Best Buy shoppers the hardest, with 36% of Macy’s customers and 34% at Best Buy saying they had left without making a purchase. Many respondents said one of their motivations on Black Friday was to see actual items before buying, as an alternative to online shopping. Some are “showroomers” – shoppers who want to see, feel and try on or try out what they’re looking for, but are then willing to keep shopping for a better deal online or at other stores. With their smartphones in hand while they shop a Macy’s or a Best Buy, it takes seconds for shoppers to see whether they can get a better price elsewhere. With reliable data from non-buyers, retailers can gain insights into how to sweeten the experience so that showroomers become willing to buy right now, or commit to buying from the retailer’s own online store.
The Black Friday study showed that shoppers were less likely to leave without buying at Kohl’s (20% non-buyers) and Target (15%). Walmart, which like Target offers daily essentials and snacks and groceries, kept non-buying to 9%.
Even at 15% or 9%, however, retailers are leaving real money on the table. Understanding the “why” behind the non-buy is the first step toward limiting those losses, and GPS-enabled exit surveys of valid, first-party shoppers are the fastest, surest way to get accurate data to guide smart solutions to a problem that persists even on Black Friday, when consumers are intensely motivated to buy.