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Poor performing mobile and ecommerce sites further damaging the High Street too, study suggests

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Retailers’ reports on Christmas revenues demonstrate that online is becoming more critical to their success. But according to a new survey conducted by market research firm OnePoll into the online shopping experiences of male and female UK consumers, poorly performing mobile ecommerce sites risk damaging future sales both online and in physical stores.

The majority of both genders – 72% of women and 61% of men – said they have been frustrated with slow loading websites or mobile apps when shopping online. If a retailer’s website or mobile app performs poorly, both men (58%) and women (52%) tend to avoid making purchases from that website again.

Bad online shopping experiences also have an impact on High Street shopping. 51% of male respondents declared that they would be less likely to visit a retailer in-store if they’ve had a negative experience on their website or mobile app, compared to a lower percentage of women (43%).

Consumers’ patience when waiting for an ecommerce site to load is short. Male and female shoppers differ slightly on how long they’re willing to wait for a home page to load before abandoning it – male shoppers say 10 seconds while female shoppers say 20 seconds. Two minutes is the longest both men (25%) and women (20%) are willing to attempt to deal with all steps from the checkout process before they abandon the page. Women, on the other hand, are more willing than men to wait 5 minutes or longer to successfully complete online transactions.

The study reveals different reasons both genders would be willing to wait longer than usual during the checkout process when shopping online. Products on sale take the first place, with 65% of women and 54% of men willing to wait patiently in order to buy their desired item. Reason number two is if the item is not available anywhere else, and third is if the item is one of a kind. In this regard, the survey also reveals that another top reason for women (47%) is the presence of discount codes, compared to just 31% of men.

Mehdi Daoudi, CEO and co-founder of Catchpoint, explains: “As more retailers reveal how much revenue growth comes from their online presence, the ability to constantly monitor how customers are experiencing digital services is going to be critical. Whether male or female, it looks like the Great British Shopper expects a rich and responsive online experience that enables them to find and pay for what they want with minimum fuss.”

WHSmith’s offers a salutary view of what is happening between the High Street and online. Its sales slumped by 4% in the face of tough competition from online retailers, mirroring the collapse of High Street sales across the retail sector in December, says e-commerce delivery expert ParcelHero.

Smith’s latest figures underline the trend revealed in this month’s ONS figures; December’s e-commerce sales rose 21.3% YOY – even as High Street monthly sales plummeted by 2%; their steepest monthly decline for over four years.

Now a new report by e-commerce delivery specialists ParcelHero reveals home shopping will wipe out over 50% of town centre stores within 14 years; and it claims even 225-year-old Smith’s isn’t immune.

Says ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT: “Our new report 2030: The Death of the High Street reveals Smith’s High Street core business has been declining at around 2% a year; only the smaller Travel stores at airports and stations are keeping the organisation buoyant; and the recent short-lived craze for colouring books. Smith’s particular problem is that every one of its key markets are being undermined by e-commerce.”

He continues: “Take Smith’s core book sales business. Remember Borders, Booksetc, Dillons and Ottaker’s? The traditional High Street book store industry is collapsing at -2.3% sales a year; with just 1,071 retail businesses remaining. We could have reached many bookshops final chapter with just 535 left in our major towns and cities by 2030. How can WHSmith hope to compete?”

In addition to the troubles facing every brick and mortar retailer, Smith’s has some particular problems of its own. Many WHSmith High Street branches are looking increasingly tired – so tired in fact there is even a Facebook page dedicated to capturing the state of them: @WHS_Carpet. Can Smith’s town centre stores really tempt people away from their lap tops and tablets as they look at present?

Jinks concludes: “Our town centres must return to a Victorian model. Shopping should become a more social experience again. Homes and restaurants must return to UK High Streets to prevent no go areas after 6pm. In such an environment a vibrant local Smith’s will thrive; but it cannot succeed on its own in a dying and decaying town centre.”

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