Shoppers ‘research online before buying in-store’

The majority of retailers are seeing an increasing number of customers researching purchases online before heading to the High Street, a new Qmatic survey has shown.

The research found that 70 per cent of retailers frequently see customers researching a product online before coming into a store to purchase it, with an additional quarter of respondents (24 per cent) seeing this happen some of the time.

These habits are particularly pronounced among younger consumers, with all of the retailers surveyed finding that those aged between 18-24 researched products online before buying in-store.

However, the growth in the online retail channel may pose a challenge to retailers with 87 per cent stating that they frequently see customers do the reverse process, trying or researching items in-store before buying them online.

Vanessa Walmsley, managing director at Qmatic, said: “Retailers must deliver a consistent, seamless experience across all retail channels. With increasing numbers of customers trying items in-store and then purchasing online, retailers must continue to invest resources in improving the customer journey and ensuring the success of brick and mortar stores.

“Our research reveals that physical stores have a vital role to play in the future of retail, enabling consumers to see an item in the flesh, which they may only have seen online, before they buy it. Many customers do not feel comfortable buying a product online without seeing it first, and enjoy the experience and convenience of being able to take the item home with them immediately.”

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