Shoppers are Missing the In-Store Experience

With all but essential retail currently closed, UK consumers are missing aspects of the in-store shopping experience, according to a new nationwide survey conducted by Fresh Relevance – a personalisation and decision engine which optimises the customer experience.

The Fresh Relevance Loyalty Report 2021, conducted in collaboration with market research company Censuswide in early January 2021, reveals that 40% of shoppers miss not being able to touch and try products before making a purchase. Top customer frustrations when shopping online include:

Not being able to touch and try products before buying them (40%)
Online stores that are difficult to navigate (38%)
Seeing exclusive offers aimed at new shoppers (38%)
Sold-out items with no information on when the product will be restocked (34%)
Having to wait for the order to arrive (20%)
Not being able to talk to a salesperson (19%)
Mobile sites that don’t function well (15%)

Interestingly, Baby Boomers (55+) are particularly unforgiving when it comes to website frustrations. Almost half (48%) would consider not purchasing if the online store is difficult to navigate. Unsurprisingly, Generation Z (16-24) value a smooth mobile experience, with 22% stating they would abandon a retailer whose mobile site doesn’t function well. The top customer wants from online retail in 2021:

Highlight spending thresholds that unlock an incentive (34%)
Product ratings and reviews (30%)
Highlight important order cut-off dates (28%)
Recommend complementary products (24%)
Make it easy to discover more products I might like (23%)
Make it easy to return to an abandoned web session (23%)
Help imagine how the product will look in real life (20%)
Click & collect (20%)

The findings show that in particular, younger demographics want to find their ideal products easily. Nearly a third (29%) of customers in the Generation Z group want online retailers to make it easy for them to discover more products they might like, while 27% are keen for ecommerce stores to help them imagine how the product will look in real life.

Mike Austin, CEO and co-founder of Fresh Relevance, comments: “Consumers want to sail smoothly through the customer journey and are unforgiving when it comes to frustrating online experiences. Tactics such as user-generated photos and product ratings as well as augmented reality features help bring products to life at home. Personalised product recommendations, onsite pop-ups and chatbots can replicate the role of an in-store salesperson, providing guidance along the purchase journey and helping shoppers find the products that will resonate with them easily.

“When it comes to communications and incentives, relevancy is key [and] it also pays to have a solid triggered email programme in place that makes it easy for customers to return to an abandoned cart or be notified that a sold-out product has been restocked. By offering shoppers an online experience that’s customer-centric and helpful, online retailers will be able to keep their customers loyal and win over new ones.”

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