UK shoppers love stores but hate queues, love online but hate delivery fees
We all know that the UK is one of the world’s biggest online retail markets but just why are Britons so e-tail-focused and given that they are, why is the physical store still the primary channel for most people to buy fashion and other products?
Well, it seems that one reason for the move online is the fact that people hate queuing in-store, although even with queues being an annoying hurdle to overcome, only 3% of people have given up in-store shopping altogether.
New UK consumer research conducted among over 2,000 people on behalf of payments provider Adyen reveals the love-hate relationship Britons have with both in-store and online shopping, and also clearly shows that a hybrid, omnichannel model is the way forward as shoppers draw different positive benefits from physical stores and e-stores and expect aspects of the experience from one to crop up in the other.
That trend towards omnichannel means shoppers will definitely expect more tech in physical stores. While British women are portrayed as less interested in technological advancements, this is simply not the case and women want more advanced technology in their shopping experiences than men do. This includes wanting personalised offers near a store (66.1% of women to 55% of men), smart mirrors (56% to 45%), VR (45% to 41%) and self-service kiosks (69% to 64%).
Some 57% of survey respondents cited queuing as their biggest frustration with the in-store experience, even though only 2% would go to a different shop with a shorter queue. Britons of all ages love shopping quickly, with over 80% saying they would rather not use cash in-store for this reason and 61% of people would like store staff with mobile-payment terminals to avoid queues.
But those queue-haters still clearly like stores. Some 64% of people enjoy browsing and for 75% it is important to see, sample, touch and try on items. Meanwhile, 48% of survey respondents also said they prefer to deal with a person – rather than a machine – so are more likely to shop in-store, even though 25% don’t like talking with checkout staff.
In fact, the social effect of shopping is key for many and while the ‘girl’s day out’ shopping trip is embedded in the national psyche, the research shows men are just as likely to enjoy a ‘boy’s day out’. Some 56% of men enjoy in-store shopping due to its sociable nature, while almost half of them view the experience as a day out, rather than just fulfilling a need
Adyen quoted Cathy McCabe, founder of RetailReimagined, saying: “What retailers need is a radical reinvention of the store experience – not just painting over the cracks. The physical store is an opportunity to inspire, delight and connect with customers, but for many retailers, it has barely changed in the last 20 years. There is a huge opportunity for creativity when it comes to improving customer experience or service. For example, focusing on solving pain points – such as fitting rooms, stock availability, payment options and data capture – will allow the in-store experience to remain a thriving channel for years to come.”
Even with some stores turning themselves into experience centres, the migration to online can only gather pace. But even here, UK shoppers have complaints. Some 73% said they have abandoned an online transaction because the delivery cost is too high. A quarter of shoppers will only buy something online if it is sent to them for free.
Online tends to score highly for price comparisons and for the convenience of having goods delivered (70%, despite people not being happy about delivery charges).
The survey showed 69% of bargain-hungry Britons shopping online as it lets them compare prices across different retailers and source the best offer or price. Some 63% also like shopping online as their contact details are saved, meaning they can pay quickly.
But despite the prevalence of online – with 95% of people using it to shop in the UK – they have’t yet switched onto next-generation e-stores. Specifically, 40% of people have never shopped via an app and 75% have never purchased an item through social media.
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