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RXEU Top1000 How European retailers communicate with shoppers

Information and reassurance are key to selling high-ticket items online. Image: Fotolia

Retailers and brands are responding to shoppers’ appetite to engage with them through a variety of channels. More are making it easy for shoppers to find them on social media and to share products with their friends. While fewer retailers now support product ratings and reviews on their websites, more of those that do share reviews are now enabling shoppers to add images to them. The use of live chat and newsletter sign-up on the landing page appear to be declining. At the checkout, some third-party payment methods are growing quickly – giving customers more choice in how they pay. 

RetailX research in this dimension uses more than a dozen metrics to assess the way that retailers engage with their customers. Findings are gathered here through two questions: how do retailers enable shoppers to engage with them? How do retailers approach the checkout? 

How do retailers enable shoppers to engage with them?

When shoppers are able to engage with retailers they can ask questions and find out what others thought. Both can help to reassure them about the purchasing decisions that they are making. However, the tools that work for one retailer may be less effective for another, prompting a change in tactics. 


Just under half (49%) of retailers now enable customers to post a product review on the website. That’s 9pp down from the 58% that did so last year. Supermarkets (68%) were the most likely to support product reviews, followed by those selling cosmetics (60%) and sports and leisure clothing and equipment (57%). Retailers and brands selling fashion clothing and accessories were the least likely to do so. (41%). 

More retailers now enable shoppers to add their own images to a review, perhaps as the appetite for user-generated content has increased. In 2022, 32% of retailers make this possible – following a fast 29pp rise from 3% last year, among the 489 that were assessed on this metric both this year and last. Marketplaces (49%) were the most likely to enable this – and it is possible that the rise is partly down to the proliferation of marketplaces during the year – followed by consumer electronics retailers (38%), brands (35%) and multi-sector stores (35%). Least likely were florists and gift shops (26%) and maternity and children’s products retailers (27%) – although more than a quarter do so in each of these categories. 

Star ratings 

More than half of retailers (52%) enable shoppers to share their opinions of products through star ratings. That’s down by 7pp on the same time last year among the 604 traders assessed this year and last. Star ratings are most likely to be found at supermarkets (70%) and cosmetics retailers (62%) and are least used by fashion clothing and accessories retailers (44%), jewellers (47%) and brands (47%). 

Live chat within a minute 

In 2022, just 3% of retailers offer live chat within a minute of landing on website. That’s down from 4% in 2021 and is part of a longer-term trend away from live chat. Cosmetics and consumer electronics retailers (both 4%), fashion clothing and accessories retailers, brands and multi-sector stores (all 3%) are the most likely to offer this, while less than 1% of those selling stationery, maternity and children’s goods, hobbies, garden products, florists or gift shops do so. 

The service is more likely to be available from retailers selling to Malta, Liechtenstein (both 8%), Latvia or Lithuania (both 7%), and least likely from those selling to the UK (2%), Poland, Denmark, Germany or Luxembourg (all 3%). Ireland was the only market where uptake increased (+1pp to 4%). 

Subscribe to newsletter from the landing page 

The practice of enabling website visitors to sign up for a newsletter from the landing page has declined in recent years. In 2022, 64% of retailers offer this – down by 10pp from 74% of the 482 retailers assessed on this metric both this year and last. 

Jewellers (76%) are the most likely to use this tool as part of their customer engagement, followed by retailers selling maternity and children’s products (71%) and hobby equipment (69%). More than two-thirds (68%) of those selling fashion or sports clothing and accessories do so. Less than half of shops selling consumer electronics and marketplaces (both 48%) enable shoppers to sign up for their newsletter. 

Share with friends 

There’s been something of a turnaround in the proportion of retailers enabling shoppers to share their online finds with friends through social channels such as WhatsApp and Twitter. Almost half (47%) of 563 retailers assessed on the metric this year and last now offer product sharing – 5pp more than the 42% that did so a year earlier. Use of this feature had previously been in decline; last year’s figure was 10pp lower than the previous year. 

Use of sharing tools was highest among retailers selling DIY and construction equipment (57%), multi-sector stores (55%) and hobby shops (51%), but lower among jewellers and supermarkets (both 43%). 

Social links on landing page 

The vast majority of retailers now share social links on their landing page, with 90% of 843 retailers assessed on this metric this year and last doing so in 2022, down from 91% in 2021. Jewellers and retailers selling hobby equipment (99%) are the most likely to link their social media pages to their landing pages, followed by those selling stationery and garden products (98%), while 95% of DIY and trade tools and equipment sites also do this. The practice is least widespread among supermarkets and bookshops – although more than three quarters (78%) trading in each of these sectors do so.
Shoppers are most likely to see social links on the landing page when they order from Cyprus (94%), Slovenia (93%) or Croatia (92%) – and slightly less likely from Belgium (86%) and Finland (87%). 

Obvious promotions 

Two thirds (66%) now highlight promotions on their website. That’s 5pp down from 66% last year. Of the 854 retailers assessed on this metric this year and last, all garden stores (100%) did so, while most traders selling maternity and children’s products (78%), bookshops, cosmetics ( both 76%) and homewares retailers (75%) did so. 

At the other end of the scale, more than half of retailers selling hobby-related products (54%), brands (55%) and specialist grocers (57%) did so. 

Retailers selling to Hungary, Austria and Latvia (all 67%) were the most likely to flag discounts, followed by those selling to Poland and Portugal (all 66%), while those selling to Iceland (52%) and Cyprus (57%) were least likely to do so. 

How do retailers approach the checkout? 

Shoppers may find it more straightforward to pay at a retailer when their favoured third-party or social payment method is available. However, asking shoppers to register to pay may help retailers build long-term relationships and engagement with their customers. 

Requires registration

Almost half of retailers (48%) now require shoppers to register before checking out. That’s up by 7pp from 41% last year among the 898 retailers assessed on this metric both this year and last. 

Shoppers are most likely to have to register when they buy from jewellers (67%) or from retailers and brands selling maternity and children’s products (58%), florists and gifts shops and brands (both 57%). Supermarkets (23%) and specialist grocers (24%) are the least likely to do so. 

Retailers selling to Liechtenstein (18%) are the least likely to require registration, followed by those selling to Iceland (24%), Croatia and Bulgaria (31%), while those selling to the UK (59%), Ireland (50%) Slovakia (45%) and Germany (44%) are the most likely to do so. Only retailers selling to Austria (-19pp to 36%) moved away from requiring registration, while the largest increases were in the UK (+6pp) and Germany (+4pp). 

Amazon Pay

European retailers have moved quickly to adopt Amazon Pay during the last year, with 33% of 521 retailers assessed on this metric both this year and last year doing so. That’s up by 25pp from 8% last year – and means that Amazon Pay has overtaken PayPal as the most widely used third-party checkout. The retailers and brands most likely to offer the option of signing in and paying via Amazon Pay include hobby and consumer electronics retailers (37%) followed by marketplaces (36%). Cosmetics shops (29%) and florist and gift shops (30%) are less likely to do so. 

PayPal Checkout

Almost a quarter (23%) of retailers of 898 retailers assessed on this metric this year and last now offer PayPal Checkout. That’s unchanged from last year. Stationery retailers (43%) were most likely to offer the option of PayPal, followed by those selling sports and leisure clothing and equipment (36%) and maternity and children’s products (36%). Less than 1% of specialist grocers  offer PayPal, as do 6% of bookshops and 10% of supermarkets. 

The option is most easily found by shoppers buying from Germany (27%), Ireland (26%), the UK, Spain and Portugal (all 25%) – and least easily by those buying from Bulgaria, Iceland (11%) and Belgium (13%). The sharpest change was in Austria (-5pp to 18%).  

Facebook Checkout

Some 13% of retailers and brands now offer Facebook Checkout – the same as last year. This is most likely to be available on marketplaces (29%), followed by multi-sector stores (18%). It’s least likely to be found on websites selling jewellery or garden products (less than 1%) and DIY and trade tools and equipment (2%). Shoppers buying from websites selling to Malta (27%), Cyprus (26%) and Latvia (23%) will be more likely to have the option than those buying from sites selling to Austria (8%), Ireland and Norway (12%). The UK (12%), Germany (14%) and Sweden (15%) all saw uptake rise by 1pp.

Google Pay

Google Pay is available from some 8% of 984 retailers assessed on this metric this year and last. That’s unchanged on last year. Marketplaces (20%) are most likely to use Google Pay, followed by florists and gift shops (17%), consumer electronics retailers and bookshops (both 14%). Less than 1% of jewellers, garden and hobby equipment retailers offer Google Pay, while 2% of supermarkets do so. 

The option is most available in Liechtenstein (17%), followed by Hungary (15%), and least available in Austria (4%) and Ireland (5%). There was no change in the use of Google Pay in 28 markets, and 1pp declines in Austria (6%), Lithuania (7%), Belgium (9%) and Spain (13%). 

This feature first appeared in the RetailX Top1000 Europe. Download here to see the retailers and brands that were listed Top25 in this dimension. 

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