Retailers must embrace tech-savvy customers or lose sales

High street retailers need to embrace technology and meet demands of tech-savvy shoppers if they are to survive, according to new research.

According to Barclaycard, shoppers are opting to shop online while retailers also need to vastly improve their in-store experience to avoid missing out on sales.

Half of Brits still opt to purchase clothes in-store but 37% have switched online as services get faster and more flexible.

For shoppers, a lack of time is deemed the most common reason for choosing to shop online, although there are other reasons too – some are of particular importance as the busiest shopping period of the year is now underway.

Crowded shops and checkout queues were named as an issue for high street stores by 45% and 42% respectively of those questioned, while long waits for changing rooms were an issue for 29% of individuals.

This impacts on sales too, which can significantly hit the bottom line for smaller retailers as they can struggle to recover.

Issues in store meant that 63% of shoppers admit to abandoning a purchase, highlighting the need for employers to focus on customer care and experience.

Those that adopt an ‘omni-channel’ approach, where online and in-store offerings are linked, are more likely to be successful, according to the study.

Delivery options were found to be key, as 42% of customers said having the option for ‘Click and Collect’ or other perks, would be the deciding factor when purchasing.

A major reason to shop in store – named by 66% of shoppers – is the ability to try before buying, while 38% of customers said they research items online before shopping.

Missing out on sales is a particular issue for small firms as many running on tight budgets can ill afford the loss of custom.

Effective financial and stock management is vital during the festive sales period to ensure that a firm does not face unnecessary risks.

Should financial issues arise at any point, it recommended that a firm undertakes an independent business review in order to assess the situation, especially if there are difficult trading conditions or cash flow problems.

By Phil Smith

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