UK consumers prefer manned checkouts but a third would abandon a purchase if they saw a long queue, according to new research by the retail and banking solutions provider Wincor Nixdorf.
The study, conducted by research company TNS, explored consumer attitudes to high street and online shopping and the shift of shoppers to buying online.
It found manned checkouts are the top service option in store, popular with 60% of shoppers, followed by self-service, which is favoured by 21%. As well as disliking queues, researchers found shoppers also have limited patience and more than half would actually leave a store if they had to wait longer than eight minutes.
According to Wincor Nixdorf, this highlights the need to combine queue-busting services such as self-service with traditional point of sale.
Ed Brindley, director of marketing at Wincor Nixdorf, said: “While online shopping is a growing force, it’s interesting to see that the majority of shoppers still prefer manned desks.
“In this sense, the high street is still very much king. Consumers want that personal service – the interaction between shopper and retailer. But similarly, they want to know that if there is a long queue, there will be options to speed up their experience.
“It’s all about finding the right balance between retail channels – successfully combining the likes of mobile and self-service with tradition point of sale. This kind of choice is what shoppers are looking for and the challenge for retailers is to achieve this.
“With the London Olympics on the horizon, there is a huge opportunity for a boom in UK retail – finding the right in-store strategy will be vital.”
The research also revealed attitudes to mobile payments. While younger shoppers are more comfortable with mobile payments, 77% of respondents admit they feel mobile payments put their money at risk.
Brindley said: “Technology such as mobile payments and self-service technology can address many of the service issues consumers are pointing to in this survey, but as retailers rightly look to embrace new technology, they should ensure they are getting the balance right.
“As mobile technology becomes more widely used, confidence will grow but we must consider self-service has been in place for many years, yet 60% still prefer manned checkout. The death of the high street is quite clearly not a reality. Bricks and mortar will always be vital. The key is to make such technology advances simply part of the shopping experience – and part of the retail boom coming in 2012.”