As shoppers across Asia increasingly prefer to buy online, brick-and-mortar retailers have yet to fully capitalise on their particular strengths according to a new report.

Tofugear and Rakuten Insight surveyed 6,000 consumers across 12 markets in Asia to assess the shopping habits of connected consumers and found several trends common to all countries.

When asked whether they preferred shopping online or in store, 59% favoured online – although that figure hides a wide range of responses, from 41% in the Philippines to 88% in China.

Philip Wiggenraad, head of research at Tofugear, noted that while millennials were most in favour of e-commerce, Gen Z consumers also leaned towards the online channel. “Physical retailers expecting a resurgence of the store driven by this younger generation should think twice and continue to look at ways to make their stores relevant in the digital age,” he said.

The main attraction of e-commerce is price, while convenience and the ability to see and touch products top the reasons to shop in store.

“Experience is less of a driver, suggesting that retailers are not yet capitalising on the inherent strengths of a physical presence, including face-to-face contact, brand education and the ability to offer immersive experiences,” said Wiggenraad.

At the same time, they need to address frustrations such as a desired product being out of stock, mentioned by 67% of respondents – well ahead of other irritations like prices differing from those online, poor service or long checkout queues.

And that ought to be a matter of some urgency as the study found that two in three shoppers will no longer shop with a retailer after just one poor customer experience.

“The connected consumer in Asia is empowered and not afraid to look elsewhere when their needs are not met,” said Wiggenraad. “Retailers need to understand that they often only have one chance to get it right.”

Sourced from Tofugear; additional content by WARC staff