British shoppers are looking for ‘cleanliness, customer service and low cost’ when they go shopping according to Colliers’ Midsummer Retail Report. Measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are no longer seen as important but a legacy of the pandemic seems to be that people have become more fastidious in their approach to cleanliness.
When asked what would influence them to spend at shops, affordability and customer service scored 13x higher than any other considerations.
The findings are part of YouGov research carried out for the Midsummer Retail Report – the annual ‘state-of the-nation’ review of the UK retail property market by leading consultancy, Colliers.
Paul Matthews, Co-Head of Retail Strategy at Colliers reports: “After more than two years of restrictions on how and where they shopped, UK shoppers have emerged with a new set of attitudes and priorities.
“Whilst the habits of mask wearing and social distancing are diminishing, there is clearly a new emphasis on cleanliness and this has ramifications for retailers and also the landlords of shopping centres and retail parks.”
Paul continues: “As the costs of living crisis bites, it’s understandable that there is a new focus on affordability. This should be positive news for the UK’s value and discount retailers in the short-term, but also a call to action for all occupiers and landlords to reflect on their strategies and ensure that there are ongoing changes in consumer behaviours and expectations.”
The survey also makes it clear that if people are going to be coaxed away from online retailing and back to ‘real life’ shopping they want excellent customer service. This may pose a challenge for retailers who are trying to manage their own costs and may be struggling to find staff.
David Fox, Co-head of Colliers’ Retail team comments: “Interestingly, the research shows that there is a growing trend for people to research products online but then purchase them in a store. It shows the importance of physical stores where people can see, feel and try products and to speak to someone about them face-to-face. This trend will only be encouraged as more retailers charge for returning items via couriers, but promote in store returns and exchanges."
The survey asked people about the importance of different channels when thinking about buying anything and looking at overall net importance (those who think it’s important minus those who don’t). The results revealed that researching online and buying in-store had a significantly higher net importance compared to browsing in store and buying online (37% vs. 1%).
“The research demonstrates that - as omni-channel retailing matures and people develop preferences for what they buy online and what they want to shop for in-person - if brands can get their offer right then there will be no shortage of willing shoppers heading for high streets, shopping centres and retail parks across the country.”