COVID-19 turned many people’s lives upside-down overnight – and one area that was quickly influenced was the retail industry. All of a sudden, many customer journeys were mostly occurring online. Here are some insights into the changing shopping habits of the consumers in the U.K.
With many stores compelled to momentarily close their physical stores or run with substantial constraints in the U.K., there has been a notable change towards online shopping this year. The most significant boost was seen across home items and consumer electronics, as consumers in the U.K. were encouraged to restrict their movements to essential journeys only. Beauty items, nevertheless, were still purchased mostly offline because these are available in grocery and drug stores, which remained open.
Even in this dynamic atmosphere, physical shops continue to be a vital part of the customer journey. However, shoppers show an increase in multi-channel preferences. This change makes omnichannel strategies and existing at all touchpoints of a customer journey, a lot more pertinent.
Regardless of considerable modifications in consumer behaviour – from spending more time in your home to getting new leisure activities – the motivations behind purchase channel choice remained the same. Convenience was still the top factor. And unsurprisingly, delivery to home and availability were also critical.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, nearly half of U.K. customers that shopping in-store encounters a problem, like long lines in front of the store, longer shipping time, etc. In contrast, customers who do online shopping dealt with the more bearable issues, such as login or register to a site before purchasing, hard to find product reviews, and slow response of the customer service. However, the good part of shopping online is that shoppers can use vouchers and discount codes to save a little more.
Online research increased this year, with more than 80% of buyers using online sources to support their purchases. This change was mostly driven by consumers over 40 years old. We also see a similar trend in those that are over 50.
As the unpredictability and trouble caused by COVID-19 continue to influence customer behaviour, now is the time for retailers to be straightforward and seamless. Pay attention to your customers’ needs and adjust your operations as necessary.