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Shoppers in the UK are using online channels to research products they want to buy.
However, over half of those who research online prefer to make their actual purchases in a brick-and-mortar store, according to a report from Pragma Consulting cited by Forbes. This is a win for physical retail stores as it keeps foot traffic up, and provides the opportunity to cross-sell items while a shopper is onsite. In fact, impulse purchases are 10% more likely to happen while UK shoppers are in a brick-and-mortar location than when they’re shopping online.
However, pressure on sales associates increases when shoppers come in with questions related to online research. Retail staff may not know as much about a product as a well-researched shopper. While UK shoppers may prefer to buy in-store, an uninformed sales associate could cause a consumer to rethink a purchase.
UK-based retail stores should consider implementing in-store technology tools, such as tablets or smartphones, to give employees the knowledge needed to answer informed consumers’ questions. This will increase their ability to engage customers and potentially lead to more in-store purchases.
While UK e-commerce sales are rising fast — up 15% year-over-year (YoY) in Q1 2016, according to JDA & Centiro’s Customer Pulse Report UK 2016 — 53% of UK adults also said they had a problem with an online order during the last 12 months. If UK customers are unhappy with online channels, brick-and-mortar retailers may be able to win back consumers with better customer service.
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