More than half (55%) of UK adults will interact with brands more through digital and virtual channels than face-to-face post-pandemic. However, only retailers that create a good experience online will win their business according to InternetRetailing. In addition, 51% of UK respondents say they would rather use apps or websites than go into a physical branch or store to complete a purchase.
Delivering a human touch
When it comes to communicating with brands, 26% of UK consumers said they still preferred in-person visits. This is followed by conversations over the phone (13%). In addition, 42% choose digital channels including email, live-chat and chat-bots. Convenience (51%) and speed (36%) were the most common drivers for choosing a preferred method of communication. Followed by speaking to a ‘real’ human (26%).
These findings clearly illustrate that consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable using technology to make purchases and access services. However, they still expect brands to deliver a human touch when required.
Not completing an online purchase due to a bad experience
However, separate research finds that a third of the UK public have not completed an online purchase due to a bad experience with a website or app. That figure jumps to 50% when looking at transactions made across a lifetime. Proving functionality should be an absolute priority for brands when planning their online presence.
80% of people said it was important that a brand had a good website or app when making any kind of online purchase. However, only 40% of digital natives – that is people aged 18-24 – reported a negative online experience in the last twelve months. Suggesting either they are more confident online. Or brands are making more effort with the UX of sites aimed at younger generations in recognition of their enhanced expectations.
Increasing trust in tech
Adults in the UK have also increased their trust in tech that helps them access their personal information and accounts online. Almost half (45%) are now more comfortable using biometrics to authenticate themselves when accessing their accounts than they were before COVID-19. Moreover, 38% feels more comfortable using their smartphone to access their accounts as well. These figures are reflected in the global findings with a similar number (49%) more comfortable using biometrics and 47% more comfortable using their smartphone to access accounts.
34% of UK respondents now place the most trust in a form of biometrics as a means of authentication. This is an important step in the right direction, as fraudsters have been increasingly targeting individuals during COVID-19. While this is progress, the UK still lags behind the US in terms of trust in biometrics, with nearly half (45%) of adults backing the technology.
Excellent customer experience
This growing trust in technology across age groups is likely a reflection of the positive experiences customers are receiving online. 58% of UK shoppers rated their experience with either good or excellent over the past twelve months. This is less than the global responses, in which two thirds (66%) rated their customer services at the same level.