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High Street Visits Help Solidify Expensive Online Purchases

11 December 2018 - 10:00 by Simon Crisp

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Although the high street has been facing tough market conditions recently, it seems that bricks-and-mortar stores still play a key role in helping consumers to come to decisions when purchasing premium items.

This fact has been pinpointed in a new study from Divido which revealed that almost a third of consumers in the UK will head to real-world outlets in order to get up close and personal with costly products prior to committing to a purchase.

Close to a tenth of those questioned said that they limit their product browsing to the high street, suggesting that a small but not insignificant proportion of consumers have yet to be completely won over by shopping online.

So-called ‘showrooming’ has been highlighted as a trend in a number of studies over the past decade, with the rise of e-commerce not managing to unseat the importance of the in-store experience in this respect. However, a lot of shoppers will happily scrutinise potential high-value purchases in person before turning to their e-commerce platform of choice to actually go through with the transaction.

This typifies the conundrum facing the high street today: stores are still attracting visitors, but even if people do get drawn in to browse products, they may not end up choosing to buy in-store if there is a better offer available to them online.

Add in the fact that smartphones make real-time price comparison easy and it is clear to see why many town centres are looking a little desolate.

The survey also looked into other factors which influence people when considering high-value purchases. Six per cent said that social media was likely to sway their decision-making process, counteracting the idea that platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram actually have much of a role in directing sales.