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Shoppers

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April retail footfall boosted by Easter shopping

Figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Springboard Footfall & Vacancies Monitor revealed a 1.6% growth in footfall in April compared to 2016, above the average three-month growth of 0.7% and the fastest growth month in shopper numbers for three years.

The news comes after a difficult March trading period, which saw retail sales drop 1.0% from March 2016.

The April figures mark the first positive quarter since May 2014, with consumer spending dropping in the 10 months since Britain voted for Brexit and the average consumer feeling the impacts of rising inflation. However, the April figure is likely to be distorted due to the late timing of Easter this year.

“As expected, the Easter holidays provided the welcome boost to retail sales, which goes some way to making up for the disappointing start to the year,” Helen Dickinson, the BRC’s chief executive said.

“The inclusion of the holidays in this period will have distorted this figure but even looking beyond this, the picture over the last quarter has been largely positive.”

Paul Lewis, senior director of marketing at Voucher Codes and RetailMeNot urged retailers to take a smart approach to counter strenuous trading conditions for consumers and make the most of the bank holiday at the end of the month by ensuring digital and physical work together to increase overall sales figures.

“Last year, VoucherCodes.co.uk, part of RetailMeNot discovered that mobile devices unlocked £200 million sales in-store, therefore as we get closer to the May half term and Summer holidays, retailers could be expecting a busy shopping weekend on the high street,” commented Lewis.

“Shopping is no longer divided into the plain and simple clicks vs bricks – the lines are blurred now more than ever and consumers expect to switch between the two experiences seamlessly.

“Shoppers want to investigate competitor prices, check stock location and read consumer reviews all whilst standing right there within the store.”

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Black Friday shoppers took six days to complete online purchases…

Shoppers in the UK, US and Australia took a total of six days to complete their online Black Friday purchases, according to analysis compiled by Rakuten Marketing.

Analysing display, attribution and affiliate data factors, the research found the purchase journey generally commenced on the previous Saturday and, although Black Friday tends to cause a 20 hour cut in the total time taken to convert compared to an average weekend, shoppers still took an average of 142 hours to finalise transactions; from their first online interaction with a brand to the checkout stage.

Furthermore, shoppers took to discount publishers with their searches for the best deals, even when brands offered discounts on their websites directly. Rakuten Marketing saw 42 per cent of its conversions on Black Friday through cashback sites such as TopCashBack and discount sites including VoucherCodes.co.uk. 

Megan Dado, regional senior director of Rakuten Affiliate Europe at Rakuten Marketing said: “Although there’s certainly a shorter journey to purchase, shoppers are less impulsive on Black Friday than brands might think. Like every other day of the year, they are still researching products and where they’re going to find the best deals in advance. Shopping sites like ShopStyle perform well because publishers optimise the consumer experience in accordance with these key dates.

“Black Friday only means big sales if brands have a complete view of a customer’s journey. Armed with insights about where shoppers are discovering their brand and where they eventually purchase, marketers can work out how to distribute their marketing spend effectively.”

A shortened customer journey around Black Friday is most apparent in the number of online advertisements consumers viewed before making a purchase. Whilst the average number of impressions across retail sectors including fashion, technology and beauty is just over 22 during an average weekend, Black Friday consumers view less than five ads before transacting.

The biggest difference can be seen in electronics and jewellery. Although it usually takes the average consumer as many as 54 ad impressions before making a technology purchase, the number of ads they need to see on Black Friday drops by a staggering 90 per cent to six impressions. For the jewellery sector, the drop is 86 per cent from 30 impressions to only four.

On average, consumers in the UK took 16 per cent less time in reaching the point of sale during Black Friday week, whereas this is only a 14 per cent drop for the US.

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In-store and online equal in popularity this Christmas…

The second annual Rubicon Project ‘Christmas Consumer Pulse Poll’ suggests online shopping will be as popular as in-store this holiday season.

Based on a conducted 1,000 interviews in the UK, the poll found 76 per cent of consumers are planning on completing gift purchases online – equal to the amount that plan to shop in-store – and almost nine in 10 (88 per cent) will shop and/or research their Christmas purchases online.

With nearly one-quarter (24 per cent) declaring they will not do any Christmas shopping in-store this year, the study also revealed 45 per cent will make a Christmas purchase via their mobile device. This is largely defined by two demographics: 75 per cent of millennials and 66 per cent of parents will do at least some of their Christmas shopping on a mobile.

Anticipated spend for Christmas this year is £748 per person, up from a recorded £732 in the same research last year. 77 per cent of respondents to this year’s survey said they plan to spend the same or more, whilst just 23 per cent plan to spend less on their Christmas shopping.

 

Read more on the findings and download the poll here

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Shoppers demand transparency from online retailers…

Online shoppers in the UK are demanding retailers to be honest and transparent on whether they have suffered a security breach, a survey commissioned by NTT Security has revealed.

When asked what retailers could do to help build consumer trust when online shopping, 80 per cent of the 500 survey respondents said they expect more transparency following a breach, as well as more secure payment options and for retailers to insist on regularly changing and using strong passwords.

Further to worrying about the risk of paying online and identity fraud, the majority are also concerned about the privacy of personal information (63 per cent), a site being fake (63 per cent) and the risk of being sent ‘phishing emails’ that link to malware (60 per cent).

Stuart Reed, director at NTT Security said: “The retail sector is among one of the most targeted industries for attacks and, with one of the busiest trading periods of the year now upon us, it makes sense that both consumers and retailers are diligent in terms of data security.

“While some shoppers are happy to continue using sites, even when they have been breached, they are also anxious for retailers to let customers know when they have been hacked. Consumers certainly seem to be growing in security awareness when online; more savvy, they are willing to take responsibility for their own security to some extent, but they are also more demanding of retailers and expect to see privacy and security polices displayed clearly on websites.”

However, only 18 per cent would permanently stop using a retailer’s website if a security breach was exposed and a third admit they would carry on using an online store but would upgrade their security.

More than 40 per cent believe retailers should publish their privacy policies to allow customers to see how data is being stored and managed, while a third (32 per cent) want stores to listen and respond to customer concerns via social media to help build consumer trust.

 

Read more on the research, including five top tips on how retailers can mitigate cyber risks here