Close this search box.

Online versus in-store: the gap is closing

This is an archived article - we have removed images and other assets but have left the text unchanged for your reference

Not so long ago any mention of shopping or even that dreaded phrase ‘retail therapy’ basically implied one thing: a trip to the shops. Today, that’s no longer true. The latest research shows that for one in five Brits more shopping now happens online than in store, while for nearly another fifth online and in-store shopping is running neck and neck.

Those are some pretty big slices of the retail pie, needless to say – and the numbers show just how far things have come in a few short years. In the UK today, two-thirds of consumers are now busy buying clothes online, while one in four are also similarly active in the online social space, recommending items to friends and family via social media.

Why are consumers shopping online today in such numbers? Convenience and the ease of finding what you want top the list, not surprisingly. while the other side of the coin – why shop in-store? – is also easy to summarise: while some like shopping in stores nearly all really value the ability to check items thoroughly, and in a store is the best way to do that. Added to this, ease of payment and the ability to ask shop assistants for help is also highly valued, suggesting that for online retailers there will be real benefit to those that can offer a wider selection of payment methods, and to those that give shoppers access to virtual assistants online.

Elsewhere is today’s newsletter we’ve a couple of important stories that seem to show where things are heading: one is a story about Amazon opening up in-app purchasing capabilities to developers and the other is Twitter’s appointment of a head of commerce for the first time. Both developments raise the prospect of a wave of new ways for brands and retailers to get their product in front of online consumers in the not-too-distant future. Watch this space.

For anyone who wants to drop me a line this week, with Chloe away, please email me:


Alongside the news we also have some upcoming dates in our series of free-to-attend webinars to let you know about.

On Thursday September 5, Nuance focuses on customer service in, Creating satisfied customers – meet Nina Web, the new face of online customer experience. Tim Atkinson, business development director at Nuance, is the speaker for this event, to be held at 11am. He’ll be showing how Nuance’s intelligent virtual assistant can talk to, serve and listen to customers around the clock, and demonstrating how it works for existing customers including Coca Cola and Michelin. Click here for more information and to register.

And on Wednesday September 11, Silverpop explains how personalised multichannel experiences will ensure your customers love you to death in Behavioural marketing and how to get your customers to love you. The event takes place at 3pm – register and find out more by clicking here.

More information about our webinar programme is available here.


The 8th Internet Retailing Conference will be held on October 16 in London, when keynote speakers will include Sir Stuart Rose, chairman of Ocado and Dressipi, and Laura Wade-Geary, executive director, multichannel ecommerce, Marks & Spencer. For more details, visit

Today’s stories

Twitter appoints first commerce chief with brand services on agenda

Personalised email drives sales for fashion retailer Lands’ End

Survey: one in five UK consumers buys more online than in-store

Consumers ‘turning on to Google’s visual shopping ads’ – report

Amazon opens up in-app purchasing with API release

GUEST COMMENT Aisle be back: why promotions prior to store are better for driving brand value


Read More

Register for Newsletter

Group 4 Copy 3Created with Sketch.

Receive 3 newsletters per week

Group 3Created with Sketch.

Gain access to all Top500 research

Group 4Created with Sketch.

Personalise your experience on