IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 16 Apr 2012

Video Diaries

Alex IevinsRetail Assist recently visited the Nottingham high street to ask shoppers how they prefer to shop. Now I’m not saying that I was offended, but I’ve never had so many people flee from me before! After Ellie and Sawan (who was with us for work experience) found people who didn’t run away and lined them up for an interview, I asked people what their shopping preferences were.

In an age where retailers are developing and optimising shopping channels based upon the available technologies, we wanted to ask shoppers whether they were actually using all of the channels available to them, whether they liked these channels and had previously used them to purchase goods.

The results were somewhat surprising to me. Whilst we interviewed a wide demographic of ages and sexes, the majority of shoppers suggested they still preferred to carry out most of their purchasing on the high street. The reasoning behind this was that shopping was a ‘day out’. People also liked to feel and see the clothing, and try it on before they bought it. Many felt that with the internet or other channels this experience was lost.

This preference contradicts the high number of store closures that have been announced of late and the thinking by some retailers that there has been a reduction in the need for so many stores on the high street. However the responses that we got were of course influenced by the fact that we were interviewing people who were already out on the high street.

Out of those who did like to shop online the majority of people stated they preferred to use their PC. For others who owned smartphones and tablet devices, the latter was the preferred option, mainly because of the larger screen size. It was surprising that many interviewees had mobile phones which lacked browsing and therefore purchasing capability. One person also stated that she had security fears regarding using her mobile to purchase online.

When asked if they would use their mobile to purchase goods in future, some interviewees stated that this wouldn’t be a channel they would use, but others said that they might if they had the technology readily available. There were of course some people who felt totally at ease with shopping via their mobiles; the Amazon app was mentioned several times as a favourite purchasing method, for people who had shopped via the mobile channel already.

The video provided some interesting findings that I would have not necessarily expected when everything I read in retail publications or hear at industry events suggest a movement away from the high street. What are your thoughts on this, and do you agree with the views of the high street shoppers that we interviewed?

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