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High street research falls out of favour as e-commerce gains traction

29 August 2018 - 13:36 by Mike Price

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Stats published by UM last week revealed that 75 per cent of Brits tend to take advantage of sites which offer safe shopping online when carrying out research about products ahead of committing to a purchase. Meanwhile just three per cent choose to investigate items at bricks and mortar outlets.

This dispels the idea that consumers are adapting to the rise of web-based retail by taking trips to the high street to get tangible first hand experience with products before they buy.

‘Showrooming’ has been a much-touted practice in certain circles, with some industry insiders claiming that this would be the habit which helped real world retailers remain relevant at a time when safe shopping online is continuing to expand its influence.

The good news is that the people who do carry out product research via the web tend to splash out larger amounts when they make in-store purchases than their e-commerce enamoured counterparts.

On average, customers at bricks and mortar stores who have already done all the research they need to through a digital channel will fork out over 53 per cent more.

This suggests that retailers should try to target this audience more effectively, since they could stand to make major gains if they work out how to optimise the experience for so-called ‘webroomers’.

In an ideal scenario, a customer will look up a product on a retailer’s site to find out the details, then head to a physical outlet operated by the same firm to actually buy it.

This trend could explain the rise of click and collect as a delivery option, since it blends the best of both online shopping and in store visits in a way that benefits the consumer and retailers at the same time.