Digital Drives Physical Retail Footfall in the UK - eMarketer

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Digital Drives Physical Retail Footfall in the UK

Digital technology attracts in-store activity

June 9, 2015

Providing a conjoined retail experience across both physical and digital channels in the UK is critical. An April 2015 study from and the Centre for Retail Research illustrated just how important digital could be to the fortunes of physical stores.

UK Digital Shoppers Who Would Increase In-Store Visits Based on the Availability of Select Retailer Features, April 2015 (% of respondents)

The study asked UK digital shoppers whether certain digital retail features would lead to them visiting physical stores more often. The most popular feature, cited by 26.0% of respondents, was click and collect. Of course, one of the elements of such a service requires a physical in-store presence, so it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that it might “push” consumers in-store.

However, there are clearly lots of other digital features that might help “pull” consumers into physical stores, and many of these features have mobility at their core, from loyalty scheme apps (cited by 21.8%) to mobile payment solutions (cited by 21.1%). Mobile devices are often the bridge between the physical and the digital, not least because they’re very often always present in the physical setting.

Average Amount that UK Digital Shoppers Would Increase Spending In-Store Based on the Availability of Select Retailer Features, April 2015 (in £)

Getting consumers into a store is one thing, but getting them to spend is something altogether different. However, this is another area where digital looks like it might be able to help. The study also asked UK digital shoppers how much extra they might spend in-store based on the availability of these features. Click and collect offered the largest “upsell,” with shoppers saying they would, on average, spend over £18 ($30) extra in-store if this feature was available. Augmented reality was close behind, with an average claimed extra spend of almost £16 ($26).

While the other features were likely to return proportionally smaller amounts in terms of extra spend, the simple fact that they were likely to result in increased spend can only be viewed as a huge opportunity—and one that retailers should take note of. Importantly, this study demonstrates that a full embrace of digital needn’t mean less traffic in physical stores.


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