Lack of innovation to threaten future of UK retailers in 2019, says report

today Jan 10, 2019
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UK retailers will lose the battle against online giants in 2019 unless they start prioritising their online customer experience, an industry specialist has warned.


A report published by leading e-commerce and digital agency Visualoft has found that almost one in five of the UK’s top 250 retailers have failed to optimise their onsite search with functions such as autocomplete, well-targeted product suggestions or relevant recommendations.

The lack of these features could potentially put a company’s sales in jeopardy, now even more ever as the shift to online shopping continues to accelerate. According to Visualoft, these features can help a store double its conversion rates.

Additionally, the proportion of UK retailers making use of live chat or virtual assistant services has dropped by 2% in the past 12 months, despite studies showing that these technologies can boost conversion rates by as much as 40%.

67% of retailers are also failing to offer guest checkouts, forcing customers to sign up to place online orders and possibly losing sales due to the extra step. And companies are not making it easier for customers to complete a purchase, with more than 1 in 10 having eight or more steps before purchase.

Gavin Lowther, Visualsoft head of digital, commented: “Great customer service is a key facet of bricks-and-mortar retail. However, online stores must also ensure that their site provides an enjoyable and simple buying process, with easy access to help should they need it. Not only does this engender brand loyalty (as consumers are more likely to come back to a site that they found simple to use), it also increases sales.

“Of course, many may not see these metrics as critical as long as consumer appetite for online shopping remains strong. But, as we head into what promises to be a very difficult 2019, the retailers that thrive will be those that get the basics right.

“News of a profit slump at Asos proves that online brands are not immune to today’s difficult retail landscape and should be doing all they can to maximise sales opportunities.”

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