Customer Focus

The changing place of the store in omnichannel retail: research

More than a third of UK consumers (38%) still shop in-store as often as they did a year ago, according to a ShopperTrak research study.

Meanwhile, a survey from Omnico finds that 70% of shoppers aged under 35 would like to see store hours extended.

The ShopperTrak study, Redesigning retail: what does the future of physical retail look like?, carried out by Moror, questioned 5,000 European consumers from the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain to find that 55% of consumers know exactly what they want to buy when they arrive in a shop, while only 4% go without a specific item in mind, and suggests that comes from online research carried out in advance.

Some 27% of UK customers would like to see sales staff equipped with tablet devices to bring digital into the store through access to online reviews and stock checks. Almost a fifth (18%) would give up on buying an item if it took too long for a sales person to help them, while price (32%) and long queues (31%) would also cause shoppers to abandon a purchase in store. More one-to-one assistance would improve the shopping experience, according to 21% of shoppers.

Steve Richardson, UK and MEA director at ShopperTrak, said: “While a high proportion of planned shopping trips enable retail organisations to plan operational resources with some level of reassurance, the challenge is to meet shoppers’ needs once they arrive in the store. Bricks-and-mortar’s biggest challenge is not just to use technology to bring more data-driven insights into the physical retail environment, but to combine statistical knowledge with human warmth to make stores truly unique, fulfilling touchpoints.”

Omnico’s quarterly Retail Gap Barometer questioned 1,000 UK consumers and found that 61% would like to see Sunday trading hours extended, while 56% want a single hub point at shopping malls or retail parks where they can collect their online orders. More than half (51%) said they’d like to see a single loyalty programme covering all retail, hospitality and leisure activities.

““Our research makes clear that many of the under-35 age group can no longer see the point in anything that limits convenience, such as restricted shopping hours or clunky approaches to loyalty,” said Mel Taylor, chief executive of Omnico.

“The results also show consumers of all age-groups now demand much more from a visit to a shopping centre or mall. This is hardly surprising given that 44% of respondents said they spend between one and three hours browsing or buying and half (50%) spend an hour having something to eat or drink.”