How smart retailers will entice shoppers back into stores with a hybrid shopping experience

But before we get to the omnichannel mega-trend, let’s deal with the impatient elephant in the room

Impatience and Exasperation Equals Migration and here are the stats that prove it

Research show that 37% shoppers will not wait more than 5 minutes to pay for their shopping before dumping their basket and leaving the store. 17% of these shoppers would not wait more than 3 minutes. 

Impatience and migration do not stop at slow websites but include slow tills and slow service. A recent survey of consumers across 4 nations in Europe (including the UK) stated that 44% would ditch their entire shopping basket if just ONE of their selected items was not available, while 71% would look at another supplier for that item rather than wait just a few minutes.

The lesson in this tale of pique is that consumers expect shopping to be fast, to meet their needs immediately and provide what they want when they want it. With global issues in supply chain across many consumer retail sectors, there are going to be shortages in the immediate future – the global microchip shortage is having huge effects in everything from car sales to mobile phones and gaming consoles, for example. Sadly, right now, there might be little you can do about sourcing of goods and the immediate selling-out of popular products, but you can entirely fix your network to ensure your goods can be perused and purchased fast, whilst speeding up back-end operations and enhancing supply chain communications and sourcing.


But what does an IT outage actually cost a business?

Gartner estimates an outage costs the average business £4100 a minute, which equates to almost £250K an hour – except if you are Amazon where their recent outage cost them £25M an hour in lost sales.

81% of retailers experience at least 1 outage a year and nearly 90% of these outages last more than 4 hours. How much would that cost your business if each of your stores had 4 hours downtime per year? But it is not just money lost by not being able to take payments, an outage also results in the following:

  • the inability to accept and process credit and debit cards
  • the inability to access customer records and purchase history
  • the inability to locate items in stock, at a distribution center, or at another retail location
  • An increased vulnerability to data breaches
  • extensive Brand damage

And frustrated customers – In post pandemic times can you afford to lose customers to online shopping or competitors.

An IT outage can have a knock-on effect for the rest of your business. Take a petrol filling station that has a kiosk that sells prepared sandwiches – If the temperature of the fridges cannot be reported and monitored, then the kiosk has to be closed and if the kiosk is closed, then so is the petrol forecourt.


Perhaps the most shocking statistic is that 48% of retail IT departments think that outages are unavoidable and accept they will happen!

A properly designed SD-WAN network from SDWAN Solutions will not only eradicate costly outages, ensuring you have a fast secure network 24/7 365, it will underpin all of the technological innovations and trends we mention below and ensure your back office operations and everyday apps run smoothly, while giving you all of the technology and business benefits that our tailored solutions deliver. Visit 

But what about other stats and trends for retail in 2021 as we enter a post pandemic era. It’s not all doom and gloom, but one thing is clear – the world has changed, and retailers have to change to keep ahead. How do retailers entice shoppers back into their stores?


How smart retailers will entice shoppers back into stores with a hybrid shopping experience

Lockdown made online shoppers of us all but consider that a huge 90% of the now vastly increased tech-savvy shopper demographic (now including baby boomers and some technophobic Gen X) want an omnichannel shopping experience, and therein lies the strategy for enticing shoppers offline and back into the shops. Shopping must now evolve into a true omnichannel experience where real-world and online meet seamlessly. With emphasis on the word EXPERIENCE that the Generation Z crave.

Consumers have also learnt one big lesson from lockdown shopping – that of impatience. That might sound harsh, but the statistics and trends bear strong witness to this fact (see our fact file below for more information on this).

We explore here the omnipotence of the omnichannel and how in-store tech innovations will entice Gen Z away from their screens enjoying a high street shopping experience and how SD-WAN network technology and SASE security will underpin all of these innovations.

So, let’s start with our stat packed Omnichannel Retail 2021 fact file for a helicopter view over your favourite high street retail brands.


2021 Omnichannel Retail Fact File – insights, trends facts and stats into the retail sector in 2021 and beyond

  • 2020 saw E-commerce grow by 46% in 2020 although overall retail sales fell by 1.9%. (ONS)
  • 53% of adults shop more online now than before the pandemic. (Mintel)
  • BUT 9 out of 10 consumers now want an omnichannel experience with seamless service between communication methods (UC Today)
  • A huge 73% of shoppers say they use online and real-world methods of shopping. 44% of B2C and 58% of B2B consumers state they always or often conduct online research before venturing out to a physical store (The State of Commerce Experience 2021)
  • UK click and collect market forecast to reach £9.6bn in 2022 (Globaldata)
  • 77% of European shoppers want fulfilment within one-hour, which will bring new hybrid forms of online and real-world shopping
  • UK consumers spent £40.6bn online on non-essential goods during lockdown, equating to £770 a person. (Barclay Card)
  • BUT with over 1 billion cyber-attacks monthly (and rising) security is a huge concern for both retailers and consumer
  • SASE online security will grow by 40% in the coming 3 years
  • Hybrid shopping where in-store technologies will help locate and price items for shoppers
  • AI and VR is not just for online – smart mirrors, virtual changing rooms, smart & scannable everything from tags to labels, shelves to images will become the norm

Across both the UK and Europe online shopping grew 129% week-on-week in UK and Europe. Online sales surges have transformed some usually very traditional bands, such as John Lewis, who sees 60% to 70% of overall sales online [40% pre-pandemic] (Astound Commerce).


The Online Shopping Boom Is in the Bag – so what do consumer say will entice them back into stores?

It is the staggering statistic of 9 out of 10 shoppers want an omnichannel experience that bodes well for retail – and the best place for this to occur to ensure the optimum experience is in bricks-and-mortar stores. It could be construed that the boom in online shopping might translate into the decline of real-world stores, however, what is emerging is the new online shopper wants a hybrid omnichannel experience to take advantage of touch, feel and try, but with all the new technological tricks their smart phones deliver.


The Demographics of Modern Shopping – how the generations differ when it comes to shopping

Surveys show that while many older generations are happy with their new-found online activities it is the social aspect of shopping they miss and the obvious tactile experience. There is also data that online shopping brings its own headaches with delivery waiting times and costly returns.

Gen Z, with the generation rent restrictions on certain purchases and stores, seek immersive experiences they can share online and across their favourite social media platforms. The only way to entice them away from their screens is to provide bigger, better more cutting-edge technology in stores.


The Continued Rise of Social Shopping – But it needs to go in-store for immediate cut-through

The social commerce market where goods are marketed on social media sites is predicted to grow by 31% CAGR during 2020-2024. Two Facebook studies reported that 54% of respondents had purchased goods previously seen on Instagram, while 87% said they sought further information on products after seeing details on Instagram.

But fast reliable and secure guest networks will take social shopping (or multichannel) in store, thus transforming sales times, shopper experiences, ultimately driving sales. Then factor in the ongoing social effect as consumers share their experiences with their followers – for good or for bad – and it becomes clear it is imperative that retailers take the step from multi to omnichannel, but they must get this right!


Multichannel Will Evolve into Omnichannel – 2022’s biggest shopping and retail trend

Even luxury brands, previously the domain of high-end glossy titles, are engaging more avidly via social media. Last Christmas luxury brand Balenciaga ran a shopper campaign over TikTok where its videos received more than 25 million views and 4.5 million clicks on their landing page. This multi-channel approach will, within months, evolve into omnichannel where purchase is even easier, faster and without the waiting times and concerns delivery brings.


Retail Security Concerns for Retailers and Customers – secure purchasing and browsing a must

With 1 BILLION cyber-attacks in April 2021 alone and associated cost of cybercrime reaching $25 TRILLION by 2025 everyone has concerns about security. The obvious concern is about secure payments, but security of consumer data gathered and stored by brands is another huge issue. As more and more people use edge devices it is clear that secure edge security like SASE will become not just the norm, but the expectation. SASE protects not just public networks but all back-end operations of any business. Palo Alto Networks recently repeated Gartner’s prediction that by 2025 at least 60% of businesses will have in place specific strategies and deadlines for adopting SASE, up from just 10% in 2020.


If you’re looking to adopt the myriad new technologies in the retail sector to secure your future, your data, your transactions and your customers’ satisfaction and loyalty talk to us about how SD-WAN enables all of the above and more. We are the leading experts in SD-WAN and SASE across the UK, Europe and Africa. We have unique products designed specifically for all sizes of retails businesses and as multi-award winners you are in the safest of hands. Check out our retail page to see how we can help you

Kelly Rogers

Kelly Rogers

CMO, SDWAN Solutions

Kelly, heads up SDWAN Solutions Group Marketing and Social department and is a multi-award winning marketing, communications and innovation expert with over 20 years experience.
She has worked on projects for five global technology giants, four of the big six supermarkets, three of the UK’s leading retailers, the world’s largest licensed brand and one of the big three publishers, as well as many corporations, public sector agencies, government departments, charities and NFPs globally.
To date Kelly has scooped over 19 awards for her work and two of her campaigns have gone through UK Parliament as white papers.

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