What Consumers Expect from the Retail Experience

Here's what the latest research from the National Retail Federation says about what consumers demand when it comes to areas like shipping and events.

Katie Caron
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(Photo: Unsplash user Julien-Pier Belanger)

Despite what several years of sensationalized headlines may have you believe, the retail industry isn’t dying. Cries of a “retail apocalypse” might not reflect imminent end times for the retail space, but they do shed light on something significant: a shift in power and consumer expectations. Today’s consumers are more powerful than ever, and they want beautiful, functional products that enhance their lives — and they want them delivered yesterday. So what do retailers need to do to position themselves for success in this climate? Understanding consumers’ expectations of the retail experience is the first step. Read on for what the latest research from the National Retail Federation says about what consumers demand from a few key areas of the retail experience.


Putting on events is a great way to get consumers — especially younger ones — into your showroom.

retailer events

popular events

82% of shoppers who attended a retailer event in the last year say they are interested in similar events in the future.

46% of consumers attended a “retailtainment” event in 2018.

66% of Millennials attended an event. 

53% of Gen Z attended an event.


Thanks to Amazon, expectations for fast shipping continue to rise.

free shipping

39% expect free two-day shipping.

29% have backed out of a purchase because this was not offered.

65% of consumers look up shipping costs before adding items to their carts.


Innovative technologies, if used right, can make the path to purchase easier for consumers.

55% of consumers are interested in technology that shows them if a product is in stock.

49% are interested in solutions that allow for price comparisons and reviews.

38% are interested in solutions that let them try an item before buying it (either in person or virtually).

The fundamentals

While it seems to succeed you need to offer all the bells and whistles, consumers still value the basics of the shopping experience.

consumer retail expectations

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