Technology is putting the UK's reputation as a nation of queuers to the test, with three quarters of shoppers saying a five minute wait in line is too much to bear, according to a new report.
Worldpay’s research found consumers crave the social aspects of shopping on the high street as well as the ability to try products for themselves. But they’re increasingly judging their experience against the convenience of online shopping, and are become far less tolerant when it comes to getting what they want, when they want it, as a result.
Analysis of regional variances revealed that shoppers in London had the lowest tolerance for standing in line, with just 18% prepared to queue for more than five minutes. Those in the North and Scotland had a higher patience threshold, with 28% of shoppers in the North of England saying they’d wait more than five minutes before abandoning a purchase. The survey also found men to have a much lower patience threshold than women, with 25% of female respondents prepared to queue for longer than five minutes, compared to just 17% of men.
James Frost, UK CMO at Worldpay, said: “In a world where consumers can browse, buy and arrange receipt of goods at the touch of a button from their smartphone, the idea of waiting in line is increasingly at odds with the type of experience shoppers now expect from high-street retailers."
According to the payments processor, which surveyed over 2,500 UK consumers, 80% of shoppers say retailers should use technology to make the in-store retail experience more compelling, including offering services that help reduce queues. Seventy-six per cent of those surveyed said they would like the ability to scan an item with their phone and pay instantly, rather than waiting in a queue to checkout. Click and collect and the ability to check online whether a store had items in-stock before they went into a shop were also services consumers thought more retailers should be offering.
Mr Frost said: "Technology is available to help retailers connect their digital and physical store environment to offer consumers the seamless experience they want. Many retailers have made significant strides towards achieving this goal, but many more have yet to start the journey.
"Rather than online shopping sounding the death of the high street - this report illustrates that bricks and mortar stores still have a place in the modern retail experience and consumers still love heading to the high street. However, as uncertainties over the economy make consumers more discerning with their purchases, the pace of change is only likely to increase. Retailers that will flourish will be those that continue to innovate in the direction consumer expectations are moving."