With the exponential growth of ecommerce in the UK, there is increased competition between traditional brick-and-mortar retailers selling online and the pure-play retailers that are only online.


As a result, it is essential for all retailers to gain market share, expand their addressable market and increase conversion rates throughout their digital channels.

Econsultancy has written a lot about the importance of customer experience, as it’s one of the most impactful ways for retailers to stand out from the competition and build a loyal customer base.

To further explore online shopping experiences in the UK we surveyed 1,000 consumers on their retail choices, behaviours and online shopping preferences.

We found that the average UK consumer spends around £560 per month online, which equates to around £6,000 per year.

Interestingly, men remain the biggest spenders online, typically splashing out an average of £200 more than their female counterparts each month.

The research also revealed some surprising findings about how little the amount that we earn affects what we buy online.

When looking at the level of spend online by income, lower earners (those on £10,000-15,000) are spending up to 40% of their gross income online, which decreases to around 15% in the £60,000-100,000 income group.

So what makes a good shopping experience? And what makes a bad one?

The good

Generally speaking, both men and women widely agree upon their priorities for shopping online.

When it comes to online experiences their top priorities include the range of products, website speed, and the ease of logging in online.

Interestingly, the vast majority of respondents did not feel that professional/industry reviews were particularly important to their shopping experience.

Instead, modern consumers were far more reliant on the views and opinions of their fellow shoppers.

For more on this, read: Ecommerce consumer reviews: why you need them and how to use them.

The Bad

The top cited hindrances for both men and women when it came to online shopping were not being able to find the right product, illogical product categorisation, and poor search functionalities.

All three of these annoyances relate to navigational issues, highlighting the need for ecommerce sites to develop a user-friendly layout and coherent sitemap structure.

Five steps to find your ecommerce experience focus

Based on the research findings, we’ve put together a set of steps to meet consumer expectations and develop a more coherent focus for the ecommerce experience you provide. 

1. Think beyond London

Despite Londoners spending the most online – at approximately £900 a month – retailers should not forget that the North East, West Midlands and East of England still collectively spend around £1,700 a month.

If you’re considering locational elements like delivery logistics or click and collect, this represents significant motivation for retailers to expand beyond the capital.

2. Use promotions to build market share

The research highlights that women and those over 45 regularly search for deals and discounts, and can be considered to be more money conscious compared to other demographics.

Promotions can be part of any retail strategy, but by targeting offers that are specific for the demographics looking for them, marketers may have an opportunity to build additional market share.

3. Expand your addressable market

Grouping the data by income brackets didn’t indicate how much people shop online. In fact, it was found that lower earners spend around 40% of their gross income, whereas high earners spend less that 15%.

As such, marketers shouldn’t necessarily get caught up in chasing high-income customers. Within the online environment, the low-income audiences may in fact be the bigger spenders.

4. Help your customer find the right product fast

To improve conversion rates, make sure that your customers are able to find exactly what they’re looking for, and fast.

Ensuring that your ecommerce site has an easy-to-use, logical structure as well as simple and accurate search functions will help to decrease customer abandonment and improve your overall ecommerce experience.

5. Capitalise on peak shopping hours

With most customers only shopping online for 45 minutes a day, marketers have a brief window in which to target their audiences and make the most out of the “buying mindset”.

According to the research, almost 30% of customers shop online between 6pm-8pm. As such, marketers should consider timing their content distribution and promotions during these hours to maximise both viewership and impact.

Go here for the full results of the survey.

This post, Online shopping experiences: The good, the bad & how to find your focus, was first published on Econsultancy.