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Study highlights disconnect between High Street retailers and their customers

66% of shoppers say poor in-store service has led them to favour online shopping, according to an independent study into consumer attitudes to high street and online shopping.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Study highlights disconnect between High Street retailers and their customers

Commissioned by Wincor Nixdorf and conducted by independent research company TNS Omnibus, the survey has shed some light on why more and more consumers are moving towards online retail, with 66% saying poor in-store service has led them to favour online shopping. Looking closely at the in-store experience, the survey also highlighted that customers want a choice of service options with manned checkout (60%) and self service (21%) being the most popular.

The study also revealed that while the majority of consumers prefer manned checkout, almost a third said they would abandon a purchase if they saw a long queue, and over half would wait no longer than eight minutes. This again highlights the need to combine queue-busting services such as self-service with traditional point of sale. Indeed, over 20% of consumers believe retailers are getting this balance right and meeting the needs and expectations of shoppers. However, the majority do believe more work is needed.

Ed Brindley, director of marketing at Wincor Nixdorf, explains, “While online shopping is a growing force, it’s interesting to see that the majority of shoppers still prefer manned desks. In this sense, the high street is still very much king. Consumers want that personal service – the interaction between shopper and retailer. But similarly, they want to know that if there is a long queue, there will be options to speed up their experience. It’s all about finding the right balance between retail channels – successfully combining the likes of mobile and self-service with tradition point of sale. This kind of choice is what shoppers are looking for and the challenge for retailers is to achieve this. With the London Olympics on the horizon, there is a huge opportunity for a boom in UK retail – finding the right in-store strategy will be vital.”

Exploring further the issue of multichannel innovation, the research also revealed that while younger shoppers are more comfortable with mobile payments, 77% of overall respondents admit they feel mobile payments put their money at risk.

Brindley continued, “Technology such as mobile payments and self-service technology can address many of the service issues consumers are pointing to in this survey, but as retailers rightly look to embrace new technology, they should ensure they are getting the balance right. As mobile technology becomes more widely used, confidence will grow but we must consider that self-service has been in place for many years, yet 60% still prefer manned checkout. The ‘death of the high street’ is quite clearly not a reality. Bricks and mortar will always be vital. The key is to make such technology advances simply part of the shopping experience – and part of the retail boom coming in 2012.”

The survey involved 2,031 16-64 year olds in Great Britain.

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