British consumers are becoming impatient with long queues, lack of choice and higher costs in-store – and that’s driving them to shop online instead. That’s the conclusion of a new study that finds consumers running out of patience with high street shopping.
YouGov questioned 2,049 UK adults for the Paymentsense study, and found that 37% of Generation Z respondents, aged between 16 and 24, said that the fact they could shop online made them more impatient when they went into stores to buy. Only 17% of those aged 55 or over agreed with that statement. Four in ten (41%) of those aged under 40 preferred to shop online rather than in-store for the convenience (81%), cost (63%) and choice (61%).
The study also found that shoppers would like to use different ways to pay. Card use overtook cash in 2017, according to the Bank of England, but the study found that many shoppers would like to move on to futuristic payment methods that are not always a reality as yet. Fingerprint scanning (26%), retina scanning (16%) and embedded microchip payments (9%) all enjoy some popularity among those questioned. More than half (52%) of Generation Z respondents who preferred online shopping said that was because it allowed the time of payment to be more flexible.
The study also used Brandwatch to analyse more than 24,000 tweets about impatience around both in-store and online retailing, and found that consumers were most impatient about shopping in-store in the week running up to December 25, when tweets expressing frustration with the in-store shopping process spiked by 300%. There was no significant peak online at any point during the year. That implies, says Paymentsense, that shoppers find buying online less frustrating.
Some 46% of Generation Z respondents to the YouGov survey said that smart technology within stores would improve their experience, including using a mobile device to find product in-store so they don’t have to go and find them themselves (32%), more self-service checkout machines (33%), and a hybrid in-store/online experience that allows in-store shoppers to buy online immediately (25%).
“Retailers operate in an experience economy,” said Guy Moreve, chief marketing officer at Paymentsense, which provides merchant services to SMEs. "Consumers expect, and now demand, a first-class level of service when they enter a store and will leave and not return if they have had a bad experience. The in-store experience starts the moment a consumer sets eyes on the store front and their last interaction before they leave is paying for any goods or services.
“A long queue, a faulty payment device or a cash-only sign not only frustrates consumers but will stop them from returning.This data showcases these continued customer frustrations. It is imperative businesses react and ensure they’re delivering the complete service demanded by their customers. Failure to do so will hinder their growth and continued success.”