Consumers still love the high street, but demand more in-store tech

Shoppers are now five times more likely to shame a business on social media if they have received bad service, and expect a response within the hour

UK shoppers are still very much in love with the high street, but expect more in-store tech, according to a report by Barclays.

The Barclays New Retail Reality, which surveyed 2,000 UK consumers, revealed that 63% still want to physically see a product before buying it – with 24% believing retail stores will have a better offering post-Brexit.

Despite the positivity, consumers believe there is still room for retailers to improve however, with 65% eager to see more touchscreen options, 57% some form of virtual reality and 57% smart dressing rooms

If shoppers’ needs aren’t met, businesses can be likely to hear about it, with shoppers now five times more likely to shame a business on social media if they receive bad service, with disgruntled consumers expecting businesses to respond within the hour.

When quizzed about what type of outlet they want to see more of on their high streets, 44% of consumers said independent specialist retailers, 36% said independent cafes and restaurants, while 29% said discount stores.

Ian Gilmartin, head of retail & wholesale at Barclays, said:

“The British high street is part of what has made the UK great. Being a ‘nation of shopkeepers’ is ingrained in our cultural identity and consumer pride in the sector endures. Our research reveals that the public still see the high street as an essential part of the shopping experience and as a national treasure they want to see protected.

“Consumer confidence in the retail sector is continuing despite uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote, and there are opportunities ahead for retailers if they can maximise the opportunity of ‘Brand Britain’, both at home and abroad.”

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