LONDON: Retailers are being urged to make sure they get the customer digital experience right after a new survey found that 55% of UK consumers plan to shop more online this year compared to 2017.

In addition, at least half (51%) of UK consumers say they now prefer to shop online rather than in physical stores, according to EmpathyBroker, a firm that specialises in e-commerce search and navigation.

Its poll of 3,000 adults in the UK and Spain in June 2018 also revealed that the regular consumer in the UK shops online six times per month on average. (The survey results for Spanish consumers will be published over the next few weeks.)

This rises to eight times a month on average among younger consumers aged 25 to 34, while at least a quarter of men (27%) and women (25%) shop online once a week.

Digging deeper into the psychology of British online shoppers, the study found that only 13% of consumers know exactly what product they want to buy every time they visit an e-commerce site, while 42% say they do only some of the time.

Around two-thirds (65%) like to browse or take a general look every time – or a lot of the time – when they shop, and they increasingly find that online sites are a source of inspiration.

For example, a third (33%) of all consumers look for brands to suggest product options or give tips about the latest trends when they visit a site – and EmpathyBroker suggested this may explain why 43% say they would be more likely to make an unexpected purchase online rather than in a store.

And when it comes to what motivates consumers to shop on one website instead of another, the survey found the most important factors to be price (58%), free delivery and return options (57%) and the search function (29%).

Indeed, the EmpathyBroker report claims that the efficacy of a site’s search capability is important because almost two-thirds (63%) of consumers say they would be less likely to make a purchase if a site’s search function isn’t good and they can’t find what they’re looking for.

As explained by Angel Maldonado, founder of EmpathyBroker: “The search function is becoming increasingly important, and not just as a tool to find something specific but also as a means of inspiration.

“The search box creates rich interactions, helping brands to engage with consumers, and deliver a more enjoyable and meaningful experience that leaves a lasting impression.”

Sourced from EmpathyBroker; additional content by WARC staff