High Streets Initiative · 10 April 2017

A third of consumers would rather “wash the dishes” than shop in-store

department store
Customers are increasingly frustrated by in-store experiences

Some 37 per cent of Britain’s consumers consider shopping in a bricks and mortar store to be a hassle, while 22 per cent would rather wash dishes than shop in-store, new research has shown.

The latest industry study from retail consultancy Capgemini revealed that while 81 per cent of retail sector decision makers still consider physical shops as important, just 45 per cent of customers agree.

The findings of the new Future of Retail survey, between 6,000 consumers and 500 retail executives, spanning nine countries, signalled a growing divide between the opinions of the sector’s decision makers and those of consumers.

Overall, shoppers are increasingly frustrated by in-store retail experiences and understand some retailers have failed to keep pace with developments in online shopping, according to the study.

Internationally, shoppers in Sweden and Spain were found to be most dissatisfied, with 54 per cent and 49 per cent of consumers respectively in these countries claiming bricks and mortar shopping was a chore.

In contrast, just 29 per cent and 31 per cent of customers, in China and the US respectively, expressed similar levels of dissatisfaction. Shoppers in these markets, however, have become more accustomed to online retail and are therefore less likely to shop in-store.

Global head of consumer products and retail at Capgemini, Mike Petevinos, said that the data should act as a wakeup call for retail owners in developed economies. “Shoppers are increasingly disconnected with the in-store experience, and it’s easy to see why,” he said.

“Most physical shops remain stubbornly ‘offline’, unable to offer the speed, flexibility and sheer ease of use that consumers take for granted on websites.”

The findings suggest retailers are aware of the benefits of digitisation and ecommerce, but struggle to measure these benefits in their business.

The study found that 78 per cent of retail industry heads in the UK intend to invest in new in-store technologies in the near future, but that most felt they were being held back by existing investment commitments and by a perception that it might damage relationships with members of staff.

Overall, just 18 per cent of respondent retail sector decision makers claimed they’d implemented new digital technologies at scale and seen tangible benefits.

In contrast, 43 per cent said they were unable to measure benefits form in-store digital investments, despite high usage. 

Please share your views with us on the challenges facing high streets today in our quick two-minute High Streets Initiative survey.

This article is part of a wider campaign called the High Streets Initiative, a new section of Business Advice championing independent and small retailers by identifying the issues that put Britain’s high streets under pressure. Visit our High Streets Initiative section to find out more.

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Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.


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