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Mobile driving consumers back to the high street as they become disillusioned with e-commerce

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Despite the growth in e-commerce, recent research by YouGov for shopping app company Udozi has revealed that consumers are being put off online shopping because they are frustrated by high delivery charges (44%) and the ‘virtual shopping experience’ found when shopping online (24%). Mobile shoppers are also being put off m-retail by having to download multiple apps from different retailers,but increasingly see mobile as a way to enhance shopping on the high street.

The research, which polled 2105 adults online, has found that 41% of consumers still prefer the overall shopping experience on their local high street or in a department store/shopping mall to shopping online, as only 29% of people chose a PC as their preferred mode of shopping. The research was conducted to mark the consumer launch of Udozi, which helps people search for and reserve items in shops near them using their mobile phones.

While shoppers may be able to find products slightly cheaper on the Internet, the Udozi Consumer Shopping Trends report highlights that consumers are wising up to the ‘false economy’ of online shopping, as high delivery costs, not knowing what an item may look like ‘in reality’, and long delivery waiting times, are all stopping people from shopping online. The Udozi study also revealed that 29% of smartphone users and 30% of tablet users are being put off using their mobile devices for shopping because they don’t like having to download multiple shopping apps for different stores, and would rather a single app with access to everything.

Despite this, the Udozi report highlights the increasing importance of mobile technology when it comes to creating an integrated consumer shopping experience across all channels. With a quarter of all smartphone users (26%) and over a third of tablet owners (35%) using their devices to browse for products online before going in store to make a purchase, the survey brings to light the role of mobile in the overall shopping eco-system and how it has the potential to bridge the gap between retailers’ online offering and their bricks and mortar stores.

According to the research, 1 in 6 (16%) have already searched for an item on a mobile device and then bought it in-store, and 11% have used their mobile device to find discounts and offers before going into stores to collect them.

Giving consumers the ability to search for items while on-the-go makes the mobile the major driving force when it comes to getting consumers back into local shops or department stores. However, while the research demonstrates the importance of the mobile channel when creating an integrated shopping experience, retailers also need to ensure they are providing shoppers with the right mobile solutions if they want to successfully revive and redirect consumers to the high street.

Specifically, almost a third of UK smartphone users (29%) claimed that they would use their mobile device more if they could reserve items to collect in their local store, with the same number stating that the ability to search for the exact item they needed nearby would encourage them to use their mobile phone for shopping on-the-go – when asked to select their top three choices. Additionally, almost one in five smartphone owners (18%) would be more inclined to use their mobiles for shopping if they had the ability find out which shops were around them when shopping on the high street.

The research also reveals that consumers feel that factors such as improved customer service information would greatly improve the mobile shopping experience – with 18% of UK consumers and 22% of smartphone users citing this something that would make them use their phone for shopping more often. Exclusive mobile deals are also significant when it comes to the mobile shopping experience according to 22% of consumers and 30% of smartphone users. Interestingly, the research also reveals that, when asked to pick the top three types of products they would most like to be able to reserve from their phone and collect in-store, are consumer electronic goods (31%), fashion clothing (18%) and home & DIY items (21%).

Alan Gabbay, founder of Udozi, explains: “In today’s digital age, constantly connected consumers have come to expect access to their favourite brands and retailers when on the move. But even though a large chunk of online Brits now own Internet enabled devices that they can make purchases from, mobile and online alone simply can’t compensate for the in-store shopping experience, as the majority of people still want to ‘try before they buy’ and speak to experts in-store.”

“What’s key is that retailers learn how to marry all these channels together, especially as mobile is clearly influencing consumer shopping behaviour as people are searching for items they want on the go. That’s what we’re trying to do at Udozi. We’re trying to help consumers find whatever they are looking for around them, from phones to prams, so they can check stock and reserve it in-store. We believe that mobile has the potential to connect the dots between the online and offline worlds – and ultimately drive consumers back to the high-street.”

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