Brick-and-mortar is retailers’ foundation, but online still needs some building

Despite substantial investment, large U.K retailers are less confident in their online shopping experience than small businesses.

Smaller retailers are more confident in their online offerings than large organisations, who view their in-store experience as their premium channel, new research from global payment solutions expert Adyen finds.

Only 13 per cent of large retailers (500+ people) believe their best shopping experience is online, compared with 25 per cent of medium businesses (100-499) and 33 per cent of small ones (1-99).

For shoppers, there is no doubt about the relevance of online. The research highlights that 95 per cent of people in the UK shop online, and 60 per cent in apps, yet – despite this demand for shopping across every channel – one in five (21 per cent) retailers still don’t offer the ability to purchase online or in app. Despite the small retailers lead over their larger counterparts, when it comes to online, 34 per cent of them still do not offer their products on this channel.

In fact – according to the retailers surveyed – apps are being either ignored or are underperforming, with only 1.2 per cent of large retailers and 3.9 per cent of small retailers rating their app as their best shopping experience.

Apps boost sales

This is a missed opportunity for retailers, as an app can be a valuable sales channel. Treatwell, Europe’s leading marketplace for online hair and beauty bookings, can attest to this. ‘The Treatwell App has played an integral part in our growth,’ says Inés Ures, CMO, Treatwell.

‘The channel’s accessibility and ease-of-use means people can book an appointment the instant the thought crosses their mind. This has had a huge impact on our growth, with nearly 50 per cent of bookings now coming through our app. With 20 per cent of all bookings made within three hours of the appointment time, we know that our customer wants to book on the move.’

Social is another overlooked channel, with nearly half (47 per cent) of retailers lacking the capability to let their customers buy through it – something consumers are more and more interested in. When this is considered alongside the fact that ‘Customer Experience’ was found to be the number one priority for retailers surveyed across the UK, there is a divide between belief and action.

To compound the issue, almost a quarter of retailers (24 per cent) believe limited opening times are the biggest frustration for a population of consumers used to instant access to goods and services.

Myles Dawson, UK country manager, Adyen, concludes, ‘What matters to consumers is simple: they want to make a purchase as easily as possible. For retailers then, the focus should be on providing a unified and seamless experience across multiple channels.

‘From our research, it appears that some retailers are missing the potential of a truly integrated experience due to a lack of confidence in their online channels. It doesn’t have to be this way. With the right technology, large retailers than discover the agility of their smaller counterparts, while small retailers can find the gravitas of their big cousins.

‘Ultimately, to thrive in the currently climate, retailers must provide a truly connected service. Consumers don’t choose channels to buy from, they select brands, so ensure you deliver them a unified experience everywhere you sell.’

Further reading on online retailers

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Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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