High street struggles to ‘meet demand of time-poor and tech-savvy customers’

High street retailers are struggling to meet the demand of time-poor and tech-savvy customers, according to a new study new research from Barclaycard.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults found increasingly busy and technology-savvy shoppers cite lack of time as a primary reason for buying online more often (32%), with the high street falling out of favour due to crowded shops (45%), queues at the checkout (42%) and long waits for fitting rooms (29%).

As a result, almost two thirds (63%) admit to abandoning an in-store purchase – indicating the importance for retailers in improving the bricks and mortar experience, particularly during the upcoming busy festive season.


The research suggests retailers need to bring their in-store and online offerings more closely together to create what is known as an ‘omni-channel’ shopping experience.

It said one way to do this is by offering a range of delivery options, such as click and collect for items bought online – which 42% of consumers deemed as a deciding factor when making a purchase

In addition, two thirds of respondents (66%) stated they prefer to shop in-store in order to try items on before deciding what to buy, while a further four in 10 (38%) choose to research products online before visiting the high street.

Barclaycard said this demonstrates the “enduring relevance” of a high street presence and its role in complementing the online shopping experience.

Shoppers are also calling for high-street retailers to introduce new technology to help improve and speed up service, such as touch screens to check stock availability when browsing (30%), ‘digital changing rooms’ which allow shoppers to try items on through virtual reality (30%) and apps to scan and automatically pay for items without having to visit the checkout (19%).

Sharon Manikon, director of customer solutions, said: “Our research shows that consumers no longer want to have to choose between buying online or in-store.

“Instead time-pressed shoppers crave a personal experience that allows them to take advantage of technology and a high street presence, brought together seamlessly in a way that works best for them.”

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