The great pandemic move to digital has hit a real-life brick wall, according to a new study from Deloitte Digital, which found that almost half of British consumers prefer to shop on their local high street and 33 per cent think the online experience just isn’t good enough.
Two thirds (64 per cent) are happy to pay more for the privilege of shopping in stores, while 44 per cent claim that they will seek out the more ethical businesses that have supported local charities and treated their staff well.
The spotlight is on customers’ preference for ethical companies, and there’s no analysis of the failings of online shopping, but most of us have experienced the frustrations of unpredictable deliveries, tedious exchange processes and poorly designed websites.
Libby Cousins, partner and leader of advertising, marketing and commerce at Deloitte Digital, said: “During lockdown, consumers used local stores and services out of necessity but we’re now seeing that they’re drawn to local businesses out of choice. Whether it’s due to the personal service, the quality of products, or the sense of giving back to the community, it’s likely that these businesses will continue to benefit from a long-term increase in consumer loyalty.”
Nearly half (46 per cent) of customers are even willing to tolerate poor service in shops, because they understand that times are difficult. Online, where a seamless experience is the whole point, shoppers are likely to be more demanding.
Becky Skiles, partner and chief marketing officer at Deloitte Digital, said: “It’s clear that consumers want to spend their money with people rather than faceless brands… [but they] will continue to rely on digital options for ease and choice. Brands that fail to meet the expectations of customers as they shop cross-channel risk losing their loyalty.”