In the five years that followed the worldwide financial slump in 2008, online sales have increased by 23 per cent. Clearly, this increase has been at the expense of going to traditional shops.

It would be easy to draw the conclusion that the rise of online sales is inexorable and that this sounds the death knell for traditional shopping. If you are a shop owner, before you convince yourself that there is a spiral of decline in your prospects, it is important that you understand the nine things that a recent survey revealed about customers.*

Facts about online shoppers

  1. 61% of online shoppers say they shop online “Because it’s cheaper”.
  2. 57% say “It’s easier to compare prices”.
  3. 54% say “It’s easier to find what I’m looking for”.
  4. 52% say “I can shop at a convenient time”.

Facts about going to the shops

  1. 65% say “I want to see it, touch it and try before I buy”.
  2. 45% say “I don’t want to wait for it to be delivered”.
  3. 40% say “I enjoy looking around shops”.
  4. 39% say “I like going at particular times of year”.
  5. 32% say “I want to speak to someone knowledgeable”.

There is also increasing evidence of the power of combining your shop with online sales:

  1. 45% of online shoppers have used a “click and collect” service where it is available.
  2. 44% have used online vouchers to get a discount in a shop.
  3. 15% of people use a mobile device in shops to compare prices before they buy.
  4. 10% of people use a price they have seen online to negotiate a price reduction in a shop.

If your shop does not offer any goods or services online, you are missing out on a substantially larger customer base and effectively turning down a large increase in profits.

People like to go out and shop from time to time, particularly as a family. If you can find a way of making your shop a joy to visit and also offer a value for money and convenient online service, there is no doubt that your turnover and profit will be boosted significantly.

*Survey by www.which.co.uk - January 2014 edition.