A new study by O2 Business and Retail Economics has found that 44% of UK consumers believe that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a 'permanent impact' on the way they shop.
According to The Big Ask report, some 47% of customers plan to increase the number of times they shop online, with more than a third (34%) using online shopping services during the lockdown period.
Re-Wiring The Customer Journey
“The impact of COVID-19 has re-wired the customer journey, leaving many retailers scrambling to assess the impact as they attempt to realign their proposition to meet a new normal," commented Richard Lim, CEO of Retail Economics.
“We’ve already witnessed a significant shift towards online and it’s inevitable that some of these behaviours will become permanent, with digital playing a much more important role. Many of these consumers are shopping for goods online for the first time, overcoming the barriers of setting up online accounts, entering payment details and gaining trust."
In addition, close to half of UK shoppers (49%) are researching potential retail purchases online more often than before the pandemic hit – a figure that rises to 63% of 16-24 year olds and 61% of 25-34 year olds.
Online shopping is also gaining traction within physical outlets, the study found, with 24% of respondents saying that they have purchased an item online while in-store, and more than a third (36.5%) using their smartphone to read reviews or price-check online while shopping in a physical outlet.
Staying connected is identified as being 'very' or 'extremely' important to 62% of shoppers, and the study suggests that retailers should do more to blend the physical and digital realms, making the most of opportunities afforded by connectivity, data and the Internet of Things.
“The new normal will involve a step-change in the integration of digital technologies and retailers are assessing what this means for the number of stores, where they should invest and the potential partnerships that could be formed," Lim added.
"The longer-term impact of the pandemic, coupled with the economic downturn, means that now is a critical time for retailers to enhance their digital propositions and provide meaningful customer experiences throughout the entire shopping journey."
The full report can be found here.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.