Hope for the high-street: over 60% of online shoppers will return

Recent research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Manhattan Associates (supply chain and omnichannel commerce experts), shows that the fate of the Great British high street is not as bleak as some might have thought.

A survey of 2,000 consumers across Britain found that almost two thirds (63%) of online shoppers are either fairly or very likely to visit a physical store after having a great online experience with a brand: of the age groups surveyed, 18-24-year-olds were most likely to be influenced (80%) by positive online experiences, followed by 25-34-year-olds (65%).

This optimism from UK shoppers is positive for retailers that have endured a testing time over the last eight months. Despite many having to shut up shop and close their doors as part of the latest lockdown measures, these positive sentiments show that focusing on a positive online experience will pay dividends when restrictions are lifted, and stores can reopen again.
Craig Summers, UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates, commented: “The research is a ray of light for British retailers and shows how a great online experience can and (hopefully) will transcend into physical footfall.

While online might be the only channel available for many retailers right now, customers will be expecting the ease and seamlessness of their online journey to be mirrored when they return to stores in the New Year and retailers must be ready for that. 

It’s things like having the ability to check in-store stock before visiting a shop, or the ability to deliver a variety of click-and-collect options are elements that all retailers will need to look at seriously if they are to encourage consumers to return to stores in large numbers in 2021,” added Summers.

When asked specifically about this year’s Black Friday events, the research rather unsurprisingly found that value for money (69%) and cheaper online deals (48%) were the two primary factors behind online purchasing decisions, but these were closely followed by the speed of delivery, which nearly two-fifths  (37%) deemed important.

“Speedy and reliable delivery, plus the restraints of a second nationwide lockdown will add pressure to delivery networks and supply chains over the next six weeks. However, many retailers will have learned from the initial challenges experienced during the UK’s first lockdown and should be more prepared for this crucial time of the year,” finished Summers. 

Other findings of note

  • 4% of Brits  want their Black Friday purchases delivered by drone
  • 18-24-year-olds are more invested in brand sustainability and ethics when making online purchases this Black Friday with 27% saying it’s important to them, compared to 16% of the total sample
  • Almost half (46%) of Brits will surf for Black Friday deals on their smartphones
  • 1 in 12 Brits (8%) will use wearables or voice assists like Alexa or Siri to make purchases this coming Black Friday
  • Over half (55%) of Black Friday purchases will be tech-related this year, whilst 37% will purchase clothing, 32% household goods and 21% will be DIY goods 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,066 adults, including 560 who plan to shop online this Black Friday. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th October -2nd November 2020.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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