Why the UK leads the way in online shopping

E-Commerce shopping cartIt’s official…! British people are the leading online shoppers in the world…! According to a report from OFCOM each of us spends an average of £1,083 a year online, almost £250 more than our nearest rivals, the Australians. Whichever way you cut the data, we are the shopping kings of the Internet.

But the question is…why? What is it about Britons that makes us so attached to online shopping? It can’t be the convenience of it, because it is just as convenient for anywhere else in the world. Indeed with the enormous travel distances in American and Australia you might have thought they’d prefer to do more Internet shopping than us.

There are two features of shopping in the UK however which stand out as peculiarly British. Much retail in the UK is awash with abysmal customer service. True, independent local stores do go out of their way to please customers, but the average High Street in Britain is just that – average. And there is another peculiarly British thing about shopping in the UK – prices. The word “rip off” were invented for us it seems.

Online two things stand out – lower prices and improved service levels. Admittedly online there is still some shoddy service, but the low attention spans and the highly competitive nature of e-commerce mean that we can move from shop to shop with much more ease than we can in the real world. As a result, online retailers have to respond to survive. And thanks to price comparisons and our knowledge that in general the Internet is cheaper than the real world then online retailers have to give keen prices.

So why do we flock to the Internet in Britain? Because in general we get better service and lower prices than in the High Street.

Whenever I talk to retailers they are keen to understand how they can make their online presence as close as possible to their bricks-and-mortar stores. But I think they need to flip that thinking. Their real world shops would do so much better if they made bricks and mortar stores operate much more like the Internet – with better service and better prices.

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Graham Jones
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+
Graham Jones

@grahamjones

Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist, professional speaker and author of 32 books who helps businesses understand the online behaviour of their customers
This is interesting and worth of a quick read. Is Your Content Strategy Heading in the Right Direction? Four-Steps… https://t.co/7c016ORfYq - 3 hours ago
Graham Jones

1 thought on “Why the UK leads the way in online shopping

  1. Hi Graham
    I think you’re spot on with this, but stop short on some of the major factors…
    Amazon and some other online stores are unencumbered by corporation tax.
    Petrol prices (much of it tax) and parking costs (another tax) here are some of the highest in the world.
    Business rates are high – taxation without representation cost us America; now it’s playing a part in decimating our high streets.
    Government needs to address all sides – get the likes of Google, Apple and Microsoft paying tax; and stop expecting small high street businesses to fill the gap… or maybe the small high street businesses need to group together and pay for more political support…

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