It is important for German customers to be able to shop conveniently, quickly and securely – whether online or stationary. The Retail Report from payment service provider Adyen shows exactly how this looks.

German trade is flourishing – both online and stationary. It is not for nothing that the German Retail Association (HDE) predicts an increase in turnover of two percent to 523 billion euros for 2018. However, the recently published Retail Report shows exactly what German consumers want when shopping. On behalf of payment service provider Adyen, the market research company Censuswide surveyed a total of 1,000 consumers and 500 decision-makers from the retail sector in its current study on their shopping behaviour, their shopping wishes and their investment planning.

Retail shops: top or flop?

More than half of the retailers believe that they can offer the better shopping experience on a stationary basis. But the Retail Report shows that there are many points that disturb consumers in this country and therefore prefer shopping in an online shop. The majority (58 percent) are particularly disturbed by the long queues at the cash registers. Only one third of all retailers consider this to be the biggest source of frustration. Another third of the retailers assume that consumers are mainly annoyed by non-existent products, but only one in five buyers sees this as a nuisance. Another 30 percent of the retailers surveyed believe that customers don’t dislike anything about their stores – but consumers take a completely different view: 40 percent complain about poor transport connections and inappropriate opening hours (38 percent). But full stores (34 per cent) or changing rooms (31 per cent) are also a reason why customers stay away from the branch business.

On the other hand, shops are still popular, especially when it comes to experiencing products. Three-quarters of all respondents appreciate having articles right in front of their eyes, touching them and trying them on or off. For more than half of the survey participants, shopping is still a social experience and the possibility of having purchased products packed directly or receiving sample products and samples is a reason for half of all respondents to visit a shop. There are still products that German consumers prefer to buy stationary rather than online: First and foremost food (89 percent). Germans also prefer to buy cosmetics, furniture and shoes in shops. The only exception: when it comes to fashion, consumers value the shopping experience equally online and offline (41 percent each).

Payment process spoils buying mood

The problem queue already indicates it: German consumers attach particular importance to speed at the checkout. They prefer to pay by EC or credit card and in cash. But only three quarters of all merchants surveyed stated that they accept card payments. This often causes consumers to cancel their purchases and switch to an online provider. After all, 30 percent of merchants stated that they would invest in card payment options over the next three years. Another long-term solution, according to Adyen, could be mobile POS terminals. At these terminals, the payment process can be carried out by the sales staff from anywhere in the store – without annoying queues at the checkout.

Tomorrow’s stationary retailing

The study also examined exactly what consumers want from shops in the future: All in all, the answers suggest a stronger link between online and offline. Basically, German consumers want more flexible goods receipt and return options. For example, half of the customers surveyed would like goods that are no longer available in shops to be able to be paid for locally and then delivered home or the goods purchased online to be returned in branches. However, more than a quarter of all retailers do not yet offer these options; only ten to 20 percent even consider implementing such services in the coming years. Too little, if it is according to the wishes of the customers. According to Adyen, Endless Aisle is the magic word. According to a study by Edgar, Dunn & Company, sending items that are no longer available in the store itself could increase sales by up to 14 percent.

Other ways to optimize the shopping experience in stationary stores could be shop-own apps, which customers can use to find out about the availability of products before visiting the store. But measures to reduce waiting times at the checkout or personalized offers could also ensure that consumers shop more frequently in their home pedestrian zone in the future.

All-rounder Internet?

There’s no question that online shopping is much more convenient than in retail stores, where you save time and nerves. Three-quarters of all respondents said that the main reason for online shopping was time savings: you don’t have to search for available sizes, you don’t have to queue up, and the payment process is usually done with just one click. Another big plus: The products are delivered directly to the door and can be tried on and off without any time or sales pressure. Another advantage that should not be underestimated is the possibility of comparing prices online. In principle, German consumers like to save money on their purchases.

Delivery costs yes or no?

But a full online shopping basket does not always lead to a successful purchase. The Retail Report shows that too high delivery costs are still a reason for consumers to abandon their purchases. A total of 8 out of 10 respondents have already broken off the ordering process in such a case. On the retailer side, it only helps to meet the wishes of the customers. Around one third of all retailers surveyed generally offer free deliveries in their web shops, 41 percent of retailers link a free delivery to a certain purchase value. However – especially in the fashion trade, which is generally confronted with the problem of a high return rate – this means enormous delivery costs for many retailers. The Click & Collect model, i.e. ordering products online and having them delivered to a store of your choice, not only brings convenience for the shopper, but above all for the retailer: on the one hand, delivery to the store can save delivery costs, while on the other hand, according to a study by Edgar, Dunn & Company, companies can increase their sales by five percent.

Closer networking and customer orientation

Overall, the Retail Report shows that the future of shopping is closely networked and maximally customer-oriented. In order to retain customers in the long term, the focus must be on the needs of consumers both online and stationary. The aim here is to offer a suitable and economically viable mix of technology, advice and flexible goods acceptance and return options.


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Link: Retail Report of the payment service provider Adyen

Image: iStock