THE DEATH OF THE HIGH STREEET HAS BEEN GROSSLY OVER EXAGGERATED SAYS NEW RESEARCH

The death of the high street has been much overplayed and 95% of customer journeys still happen across multiple channels, a new piece of research entitled The Modern Consumer has revealed.

Working with market research agency, Lightspeed, BookingBug polled 1,000 consumers about their shopping habits, preferences and experiences.

71% of shoppers admitted to browsing for products online before buying them in store, the digital equivalent to window shopping, which has become known as webrooming.

According to our survey, 44% of consumers also found stores gave them the best sense of a company they are buying from, compared to only 15% for online.

The research highlights that even though online and mobile are becoming increasingly popular, consumers still, for the most part, cherish the physical store and rely on the many benefits that it can offer.

Other findings included:

Offline retail isn’t going anywhere: 45% of UK shoppers, still rely mainly on stores for a range of non-grocery shopping. Despite nearly 20 years of online retail, a trip to the shops is still a key part of consumer behaviour.

Channel hopping shopping is the norm: Around 95% of UK consumers now use multiple channels when shopping, leaving only a small minority sticking to a single channel. Consumers also admitted to jumping between channels when shopping, seeing the rise of an increasingly complex customer journey.

Window shopping is still key: 71% of customers admitted to researching products online before buying them in store (Webrooming). On the other side of the coin, 51% say they have looked at products in stores before later buying them online (Showrooming)

Online purchasing plateaus: Around 30-40% of consumers increased online spend in the last year, but up to 76% expect it remain the same in the next 12 months. The swing between those who increased spend in the last year, but now expect more constant spend in the next year is around 10% across both territories.

Click and collect isn’t the real reason we go offline: A quarter of consumers had still never tried click and collect. And only 45% of consumers claimed to sometimes or often use click and collect with electricals being the most popular category.

Glenn Shoosmith, CEO of BookingBug, said: “People have been writing about online shopping nibbling away at the revenues of offline retailers for years. Yet, as any retailer worth their salt understands, the two channels aren’t exclusive. In fact more and more often shoppers are switching between the two.”

“It’s clear these physical locations played a key role in helping customers understand a brand’s identity, as well as providing key information about products and services. It’s time for retailers to reconsider how we engineer the in store experience, and focus it on the customers where it really makes a difference.”

Generally, those surveyed, whilst using both online and offline channels for their purchases, believed stores play a vital role in their purchase journey. Especially, if they want to find out more about a particular product or they need to get it into their hands quickly.