Virtual shopfronts yet to replace the real thing

Virtual shopfronts yet to replace the real thing
The web may have brought about an upheaval in the retail environment but bricks and mortar shops still have a place in our hearts.

The web may have brought about an upheaval in the retail environment but bricks and mortar shops still have a place in our hearts.

A recent AMP Capital Shopping Centres poll of more than 1,200 people found that three-quarters of connected Kiwis still prefer to shop in-store rather than online, with just a quarter agreeing that they regularly do their shopping over the internet.

With Paymark processing more than $4.6 billion of spending in December, the appeal of shopping in-store remains strong. Sixty-three percent of survey respondents enjoyed the fact that they can be assisted if they need help.

“While more and more Kiwis are connected to social media and emerging technology, our research shows that people still want to experience the sensory and social aspects of shopping in-store,” said AMPCSC senior marketing manager Desiree Clark.

“These results present an opportunity for retailers to not only focus on providing an exceptional in-store experience, but also to consider how they cater for the digitally savvy.”

New Zealand Retailers Association northern regional manager Russell Sinclair said: “When you consider that this was an online-only survey, which would naturally skew the results, one can assume that 90 percent of all shoppers still prefer to shop at a bricks-and-mortar retailer if their needs can be met.”

The most commonly used forms of digital media for shoppers are retailer websites (77 percent), followed by search engines (73 percent), email alerts from sites like as Dailydo, GrabOne and 1-day (68 percent), and email newsletters from retailers (62 percent).

A study last year found a third of New Zealand businesses didn't have a website, but Sinclair says retailer websites are now the most commonly used form of digital media.

"This reinforces our belief that having a website is no longer a matter of choice, it is an essential requirement, and must be constantly maintained and updated,” Sinclair said.

Perhaps our Aussie neighbours are a tad more digitally savvy. AMPCSC’s annual Recommended Retail Practices Report September 2011: Consumer Connections revealed that 85 percent of shoppers who are online are using some form of digital media to support their in-store shopping, compared to 51 percent of connected New Zealanders.

But overall, Kiwis have taken to daily deal sites in droves more than Australians, and more of us are shopping online, with online retail expenditure now accounting for 5.1 percent of all retail sales, compared to Australia at approximately 3.6 percent.

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).