High street retailers losing sales as 37% of UK shoppers go online

Report urges retailers to introduce technology such as digital changing rooms and touch screens to entice shoppers back to the high street

Just 50% of UK shoppers prefer to buy their clothes in a brick and mortar store, with 37% opting for the convenience of online shopping more frequently, according to new research from Barclaycard.

Shoppers cited being put off by crowded shops as their main reason for buying online (45%), followed by queues at the till (42%), a lack of time (32%) and long waits for the fitting rooms (29%). 63% of respondents admitted to abandoning an in-store purchase as a result of these grievances.

With 42% of those surveyed highlighting a range of delivery options such as click and collect as a deciding factor in making a purchase, the report has called on retailers to bring their in-store and online offerings closer together to create an “omni-channel” shopping experience.

Shoppers also stated that retailers would benefit from technology such as touch screens to display availability of items (30%), digital changing rooms so they can try on items through virtual reality (30%) and apps to scan and automatically pay for items without having to go to the checkout (19%).

Of those who preferred to shop in store, 66% said they did so in order to try on items before deciding what to buy, while 38% said they research products online before visiting high street retailers.

With Black Friday and the festive shopping season fast approaching, retailers will be under added pressure to improve their in-store experiences.

Sharon Manikon, director of customer solutions at Barclaycard, said: “To drive sales in an increasingly competitive environment, retailers need to focus on aligning their digital and high street offerings so that they complement each other.

“By using technology such as payment apps to reduce queues and virtual reality tools that allow shoppers to visualise themselves wearing items of clothing, retailers can lay the foundations to survive and thrive during the busy upcoming festive period and well into the future.”

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