Click & collect, when shoppers order products online and collect them from a local store, has changed the way people shop, according to a new UK study.
The State of Retail 2016 report, commissioned by retail marketing specialist Live & Breathe, asked 1,000 UK consumers for their views on the high street.
One in five (18%) said they believed click & collect had changed the way they shopped last year, beating mobile phones, tablets and smartwatches; with more than a quarter (26%) saying the service is making the high street better.
The research delivered a positive outlook for the high street too – 65% of respondents stated they visited the high street either about the same in 2015 or a little more or much more, and 27% said there is more value in the UK high street. However, shoppers were clear about the areas they think retailers should focus their attention on in 2016: cheaper prices (53% said so), better quality products (44%) and a better customer experience in-store (34%).
On the downside, 45% of shoppers say parking on the high street is getting worse and is an ongoing battle; while the number one complaint about shopping malls, supermarkets, fast food restaurants and coffee shops was that they were too busy with too-long queues.
Viv Craske, head of innovation & digital at Live & Breathe, said: “In 2016 retail marketers have a choice to make: whether we believe in the high street as a cornerstone in the future of retail, or whether we swallow the popular narrative of the last five years that it’s doomed and that everyone is shopping online.
“In our view, the high street is more important than ever before. The high street versus online shopping is a false dichotomy. Yes, people are shopping more and more online, but they’re still shopping on the high street.”
The Live & Breathe study found shoppers were also upbeat about online shopping with half saying that it is becoming more convenient and 45% finding it delivers better value.
In addition, 43% would shop more online more if one-hour delivery was on offer and 13% would do so if their purchases were delivered via drones, the study showed.
“People want more convenience and less hassle, which is why online is growing. From the high street, shoppers want a great in-store experience and currently this isn’t being delivered,”said Craske.
“By the same token, our expectations on retailers and the retail experience are so high that we’re becoming quite black and white about what we want. Retailers have tried to address the in-store experience this by bringing technology on to the shop floor to try and marry the digital and offline experience, but it feels like this still isn’t enough for shoppers.
“Click & collect offers one way for the high street to reclaim some lost ground, because it’s clearly a service that’s very much in demand. However, retailers need to understand that shoppers expect a seamless experience that crosses every channel – and their in-store offering and service has to match and support what people get on digital or mobile.
“There is also the question of what people want versus what is realistic to deliver. Shoppers want click & collect, they also want same-day delivery and there’s a hunger for that service to be free, but are they prepared to pay more for their goods and what impact would that have on the whole supply chain? These are questions retailers will have to face in 2016.”
This article was written by Fiona Briggs from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.