British shoppers frustrated by in-store experience, turn to technology

With Black Friday approaching, it’s time to take a quick look at how the modern day Brit likes to shop, and it looks like the behaviour is in the midst of a noticeable evolution. 

Historically in-store shopping was the main way of purchasing products, but now things appear to be changing. According to new research from Barclaycard there is an even split between people who want to shop for clothes in-store, with four out of ten (37%) actually electing to buy online more frequently as demand for faster service and flexibility soars.

In fact, experiences, good and bad, are the name of the game – now more so than ever before. Barclaycard’s research found that two thirds of shoppers (63%) admit to abandoning a clothing purchase due to frustrations with the in-store experience. Time seems to be of the essence for customers, whose main bêtes noires include crowded shops (45%), queues at the checkout (42%), and long waits for fitting rooms (29%).

All these irritations, Barclaycard says, could risk retailers losing sales and suggests that technology-savvy shoppers are ready to try new experiences.The study says that al these irritations all have to do with time, or lack thereof, for customers. In fact, three out of ten (32%) of shoppers cite lack of time as the main reason for shopping online more frequently.

However, there is still an incredibly strong demand for retaining some crucial aspects of in-store experiences: two thirds of respondents explained that the like to shop in-store because it allows them to try the clothes before buying. At the same time 38% like to do online research before buying in-store.

Barclaycard suggests the solution lies in something called omni-channel experience where for example both bricks and mortar and online channels are used in one transaction –such as by offering Click and Collect delivery. Specific examples of the concept include  touch screens displayed in stores to check stock availability when browsing (30%), ‘digital changing rooms’ which allow shoppers to try items on through virtual reality (30%) and apps to scan and automatically pay for items without having to visit the checkout (19%).

Sharon Manikon, Director of Customer Solutions at Barclaycard said:

“Our research shows that consumers no longer want to have to choose between buying online or in-store. Instead time-pressed shoppers crave a personal experience that allows them to take advantage of technology and a high street presence, brought together seamlessly in a way that works best for them.”

She adds that in order to drive sales, retailers should concentrate on “aligning” their digital and high street offerings so that they “complement each other”. She recommends using technology such as payment apps to reduce queues and test out virtual reality (as Alibaba did on its another historic Singles Day). By doing this, she says, “retailers can lay the foundations to survive and thrive during the busy upcoming festive period and well into the future.”

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