ParcelLab and YouGov have conducted an online survey of over 2,000 UK consumers to uncover their reasons for choosing to shop online instead of the high street. The study suggests that high street retailers are failing to offer consumers the same level of convenience and after-sales service than their online competitors.
Among the respondents, the primary frustrations when shopping on the high street, included a limited product selection (60%), poor customer service (51%) and having to queue when paying for or returning items (50%). Second only to price, over half of millennials (56% of 18 to 24-year olds) favoured online-only retailers due to convenient delivery options.
When asked what high-street retailers could do more of in order to compete with online-only retailers, 60% sought cheaper prices, 40% wanted the ability to trial products in-store and just under one third (31%) of consumers expressed interest in exclusive in-store promotional events.
It’s no secret that footfall to the UK high street is declining. In comparison, online sales now account for 18.2% of all retail spending, up from 16.1% the previous year, reported in July by The Office for National Statistics (ONS). But ecommerce doesn’t have to be the enemy for high street retailers. In fact, the survey highlights a number of ways in which retailers can embrace post-purchase communication as part of an omni-channel approach.
Post-purchase communication plays an integral part of the customer journey as consumers demand to be kept up to date once they’ve clicked the buy button. 67% say they wanted retailers to send real-time status updates following a purchase, even if it’s news of a delayed delivery. 16% of consumers wanted to receive follow-up multimedia content such as tutorials and how to make the best use of their product. A further 13% were keen to receive personalised recommendations for add-on or complementary purchases.
These numbers not only prove how crucial it is for retailers to harness post-purchase communication, but demonstrate the importance of owning the process from start to finish.
“The journey doesn’t just stop when a customer makes a purchase. Retailers need to appreciate the importance of the post-purchase experience otherwise they’ll miss out on developing a loyal customer base and the financial benefits that go along with it,” said Anton Eder, co-founder of parcelLab.