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RX UK GROWTH 1000 Retailers see value in wishlists and star ratings


The recently published RetailX UK Growth 1000 (G1K) 2023 report has once again highlighted that the customer experience is at the heart of retail, and found that a number of relatively small features add up to big differences on a website buying journey.

Last year, 44% of Growth 1000 retailers enabled shoppers to add products they like to a wishlist. The below graphic shows how a greater proportion of retailers now provide this than in August 2019, when 40% did so – but use has varied within a fairly small range since then.

Fewer, however (38%), enable shoppers to save their shopping cart. Doing so can help online shoppers to continue their buying mission at a later date, making it more likely that they will complete the purchase that they have already started. 

Live chat that opens within a minute of a shopper landing on a website homepage makes it easy to ask a question before buying, but in 2023 only 1.9% of Growth 1000 retailers offered this. Just 23% answer one potential question that shoppers might have, by enabling them to use a stock checker to find out if an item is available at their local store.

Free delivery is popular and a key driver of sales. At peak periods, 54% of shoppers will opt to buy with those retailers offering free shipping on all orders, according to ConsumerX research. Yet this comes at a cost, which is perhaps why only 19% of Growth 1000 retailers offered blanket free delivery. 48% do take the more economic option of offering free delivery only when shoppers spend a minimum amount.

Returns can make a difference to whether shoppers decide to buy in the first place – 41% of peak shoppers say they’ll opt to buy from retailers with flexible returns policies, ConsumerX found. A significant minority of Growth 1000 retailers advertise options including prepaid returns (38%), return to store (38%) and/or pick-up from the house (57%) – while 41% will refund the original cost of shipping. 

How do Growth 1000 retailers enable shoppers to research their purchase?
RetailX’s consumer research also found that most shoppers value product reviews, with 58.2% of the 969 online shoppers questioned in August 2023 agreeing that customer reviews were very helpful in making a buying decision. 17.2% say they shop online in order to read customer reviews before buying. 

More Growth 1000 retailers (75%) share product reviews, while 60% show product star ratings, a rate that’s risen from 50% since August 2019. 

How do retailers approach the checkout?
One important choice for traders selling online is whether to require shoppers to register before they buy. When shoppers have to register – effectively opening an account – the business is better placed to stay in touch over the longer-term, to offer discounts or to show products to an audience who may then return to buy. However, shoppers may decide not to register and move on to another merchant. RetailX research suggests that just 34% require customers to register in order to checkout, meaning 66% do not. 

Those that do not require registration often offer a discount or loyalty points towards future discounts for shoppers choosing to set up an account. Others offer a third-party checkout that enables visitors to use existing login credentials in order to check out. This is a good option for UK shoppers, according to ConsumerX research, since 54.6% shoppers questioned in 2023 said they had used a third-party checkout in the previous 12 months. In 2023, 40% of Growth 1000 retailers say they offer PayPal checkout, while 8% offer Amazon Pay. However, those that do not offer these payments can be reassured that 89.6% of online shoppers say they’ve paid by using a debit or credit card in the previous year. 

How does Dobbies lift its customer experience?
Online visitors to garden centre Dobbies, a leader in the Customer Value Chain, find tools that help take the friction out of their journey, making it easier and faster for them to buy. When choosing which product to buy, shoppers can see star ratings and read reviews and check whether products on the website are available to buy instore. Signed-in shoppers can add their favourite products to a wishlist. 

From the product page, they see whether an item is available for collection from one of Dobbies more than 70 stores or for home delivery. Dobbies offers free delivery on orders over £50. At the checkout, shoppers have to register before buying in a move that can make it easier for Dobbies to develop longer-term relationships with its customers.

This feature was authored by Chloe Rigby and originally appeared in the RetailX UK Growth 1000 (G1K) 2023 reportDownload the full report which features the latest RetailX/ConsumerX research into UK shopper expectations – in areas from fulfilment to subscriptions, from loyalty to sustainability and more.

It illustrates how customers are constantly looking for ways to shop smarter – and even as they look for competitive prices, they also expect to buy in ways that are convenient for them.

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