Consumers are starting to shop more online than in-store because it’s more convenient, said Roger Morris, head of Royal Mail Parcels, as he issued a call to action to high-street retailers.
New research by Royal Mail suggests the shape of consumer behaviour during Christmas peak season is evolving, and Morris, speaking at eCommerce Expo, pointed to “great in-store experiences” as a way to attract customers to the high street.
According to the study, 68% of the shoppers who took part in the poll now say that they shop online because of the convenience it brings. This trend saw an increase from 44% in April this year. The majority (63%) reveal that they do so because of the flexibility of shopping. That’s up from 45% in April.
More than one-third (38%) of the surveyed consumers say that they find more low-ticket items online than in-store. That’s down from 44% in April this year.
When it comes to the device they prefer to use, desktop use shows an increase from 48% during non-peak to 59% during the end-of-year peak. This suggests more product consideration from the consumer’s end.
Overall, online shopping during the peak increased by 2.5% from 2013 to 2017, contributing 27% to the whole retail economy during the Christmas trading.
Connecting digital and physical dots
While this research shows a financial opportunity for pure-play retailers, those with physical stores need to develop strategies to keep a balance between online and in-store. But, how can brick-and-mortar retailers use the change to their own advantage?
Roger Morris, head of Royal Mail parcels says: “First off offer a great in-store experience. Offer click and collect, which you can facilitate with Royal Mail. Use the stock you have in store. It doesn’t need to be footfall that drives in-store growth; you can facilitate delivery from the store. So I’d advise retailers to invest in systems that give them visibility of their stock. If you can track the 40% or so of stock you have in-store and deploy it for shipping then you can go massively up your capacity.”
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