Survey shows most prefer in-store shopping-but find best bargains online

A survey of 5,570 UK shoppers conducted by mystery shopping company Retail Eyes has found that 76.7 per cent of consumers prefer to shop in-store.

But the majority of consumers (75.6 per cent) say that the best bargains are found online.

Some 45.2 per cent of the UK shoppers surveyed confirmed they prefer to shop on traditional high streets, compared to malls and online. These consumers said they preferred the traditional high streets and outdoor town centres because they have a wider range of shops and character.

Some 45.8 per centconfirmed they would be put off visiting a shopping centre all together if there were bad or costly parking facilities.

Tim Ogle, CEO at Retail Eyes said: "It’s clear from our research that consumers still like to take part in the physical shopping ‘experience’ when purchasing products. However, with shoppers still being tempted to spend their money online, believing this is where the best offers are, retailers need to look at what they can offer customers to entice them into the stores.

"There’s been little let up in this tough retail climate and there’s only so much retailers can do in terms of price reductions and promotions to offer customers a bargain. Therefore retailers should be looking at what other ways they can differentiate themselves on the high street, in order to drive in-store conversions, one highly cost effective way is by focusing on the experience and service they give to customers.


"The run up to Christmas is a vital time for businesses. Even though recent British Retail Consortium figures continue to show consumer demand is weak, retailers must look to do everything in their power to maximise the service and experience they give their customers."

Retail Eyes five Top Tips for retailers this Christmas:

Tip 1: Stay calm at all times

The busiest time of year for retailers is Christmas and having to deal with queues and frustrated customers is not an easy task. Inform staff to deal with aggressive behaviour from shoppers in a polite manner: stay calm, don’t raise your voice and treat the customer with empathy and understanding. Generally, Britons are happy to queue up for something they value, and by communicating with them that their custom is valuable to you, you can make their experience a much more positive one.

Tip 2: Always think about the customer

Don’t let the mad Christmas rush take over from good service. An ideal starting point is to make sure every customer receives a simple warm welcome and a friendly farewell - it will really help attract and retain shoppers. Good manners cost nothing but a little bit of time, but can make all the difference in getting customers to return again and again.

Retail Eyes’ research shows that 9 out 10 customers have left an establishment before making an intended purchase if they get poor service – good manners really can have a direct impact on your bottom line.

Tip 3: Put yourself in their shoes

Christmas shopping can feel like a stampede sometimes. Make sure that all of your most popular and top selling items are easily visible and accessible in the store. By all means, play the classic Christmas music to keep staff and customers in the mood, but try to mix it up with more modern music to stop it becoming monotonous!

Tip 4: Don’t forget about the temporary staff

You will be relying on temporary staff to make Christmas run as smoothly as possible. Treat temporary staff like any other employee and make sure they get all the training they need to ensure they understand the business and the level of customer care that is expected from them. You should expect the same standards of work from temporary staff as you would demand from permanent staff.

Temporary workers are equally as important at projecting the image of your business as your regular employees so make sure they feel involved and valued.

Tip 5: Use customer insight

To maintain or improve the service you deliver, it’s vital to get customer feedback. Only then can you be confident that you’re meeting customer expectations and operating your business to the best standards. The experience customers have of your business is as crucial at Christmas as at any other time of year – just because they’re in a rush, doesn’t mean customer service will go unnoticed!

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