Impacting Consumers’ Retail and Restaurant Path to Purchase

By: Julie Poast, Director, Campaign Solutions
Published Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Impacting Consumers’ Retail and Restaurant Path to Purchase

Think back to the last time you shopped for clothing or for a new piece of furniture. When and how did you decide where to shop and what you were going to buy? If you did shop in a store, what enticed you to purchase something different from what you originally had in mind?

It’s likely your decision-making process varied based on what you were purchasing and wasn’t a straight, simple path every time. Like many people, you may have been influenced by various factors along the way, whether you were conscious of it or not.

Recent Valassis research helps shine some light on what impacts consumer shopping behavior across a variety of retail and restaurant categories — a few highlights are below.

Purchase Decisions Made At Home, In the Store and Everywhere In-Between

When consumers were asked when they typically made purchase decisions for specific retail categories, their responses revealed a range of shopping preferences. For home improvement and electronics items, consumers show a higher propensity to make purchase decisions at home before going to the store; for apparel, decisions are usually made at the store; and for the furniture category, it’s a fairly even split between at home and in-store.


Although making shopping decisions on the way to the store does not appear to be a common practice among all consumers, this method is more popular among dads, Hispanic consumers and millennials – especially for electronics, home improvement and furniture items. In fact, among dads surveyed, nearly 18 percent said they typically make their electronics decisions on the way to the store. This grows to 21 percent for the home improvement and furniture categories.

Understanding where purchase decisions are made can open up opportunities to reach and engage consumers where and when it matters. Influencing consumers at home as they plan their shopping is critical. For visual and tactile categories like apparel and furniture, in-store influence may matter just as much to encourage the purchase.

Price, Promotions and Coupons Influencing Store Choice and Product Selection

Not surprisingly, across all retail categories surveyed, consumers ranked price as the most important factor when choosing where to shop (selected by approximately 25 percent of respondents). Once at the store, promotions and sales were noted as the top influencer to sway consumers to purchase unplanned apparel, electronics, furniture and home improvement items.  

Consistent with this theme, the vast majority of respondents have been influenced by coupons for which store to shop (84 percent) and which restaurant to visit (83 percent), with an even greater percentage of millennials and parents noting this impact.  


When selecting a restaurant, consumers were nearly equally motivated by price offers, coupons and presence of a value menu. Dads, on the other hand, cited coupons as their top motivator (45 percent), with value menu offerings coming in a distant third (18 percent).


Coupons, discounts and price do motivate foot traffic – even during a workday. For example, nearly 50 percent of employed survey respondents would visit a restaurant more often if they received coupons from those establishments close to where they work. Although this number is closer to 40 percent for apparel, consumer electronics and home improvement categories, it still highlights an opportunity for engaging consumers as they plan and shop around where they work – not just where they live.

Influencing the Consumer along their Path to Purchase

The consumer shopping journey is just that – a journey. Influence can happen at all points, whether at home, away or in the store. Reaching and engaging consumers throughout their path to purchase with messages they value will ensure your store, restaurant or product will be top-of-mind when it matters most.

Access these and other insights on consumers’ path to purchase by clicking on the category links below:




Home Improvement