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Consumers crave pre-purchase contact with products, report finds

06 July 2018 - 09:44 by Graham Miller

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Forty three per cent of people who carry out safe shopping online also prefer the concept of being able to get firsthand experience of a product before they commit to a purchase.

This is according to the results of a new survey from Fresh Relevance, which also highlighted some of the complaints that consumers today are willing to level against e-commerce sites.

Seventy one per cent of the over-55s said that when they became frustrated with safe shopping online, it damaged the reputation of the outlet in question, according to Internet Retailing.

Over a third said that they would avoid visiting sites which were not well optimised for access from mobile devices.

‘Showrooming’ is already a well understood practice that many seasoned online shoppers adopt in order to effectively test drive products in-store, before visiting the web to order them at a lower price point than bricks and mortar retailers can match.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is younger people who are more attuned to the idea of blending online shopping and high street visits, with report spokesperson, Mike Austin, stating that Millennials in particular are enamoured with the immediacy and convenience this combination brings to the table.

Personalisation is becoming increasingly relevant to the retail experience, with almost a quarter of respondents saying that they would shop with the same brands if they were able to access bespoke services and deals.

More important than almost any aspect, however, is the availability of free returns, with 69 per cent of those questioned saying that they would choose a retailer that offered this feature over rival outlets.

Free shipping has similarly strong support, so it is certainly the case that value for money remains a top priority, outweighing personalisation by a significant margin and showing retailers where their efforts should be focused.