What drives the UK’s high street mad?

shutterstock_169118360A new survey has revealed what British shoppers hate most about the high street experience.

10,000 people in the UK were asked what really gets their goat about high street shopping – with queues, misleading deals and cramped stores taking the top spots.

42% of participants disproved a Great British stereotype, citing queues as their ultimate annoyance when it came to high street shopping – while deceptive offers came in second at 37%.

Cramped shops scooped a substantial 36% of the vote, with almost half of 18-24 year-olds claiming they were a nuisance.

While one resounding outcome of the survey by Sinso Retail Support saw Brits lay blame on their fellow shoppers, with 34% of participants citing other customers as their biggest gripe.

Retail sins

Misleading offers (37%) and poor access (20%) also come under fire, with the former proving especially unpopular with 35-44 year-olds.

38% of over-65s revealed that poor access annoyed them most about the high-street shopping experience, with some retailers failing to accommodate the needs of older customers.

Across the counter, team training showed plenty of room for improvement – with aggressive salespeople (35%) and poorly informed staff (25%) scoring highly in the study.

Earlier this month, the BBC reported a government defeat, as an overhaul on Sunday trading laws was rejected by MPs.

Despite that, 17% of participants said limited opening hours were among their biggest high street headaches.

No refunds

When it comes to products, Brits aren’t willing to settle – citing low stock levels (25%), poor product quality (18%) and mislabelled products (16%) as a few of their high street deal-breakers.

A fifth of men surveyed said poor quality products drove them mad, while women considered a poor product selection one of the cardinal retail sins.

Ugly product displays scooped 11% of the overall vote, with a sizeable 17% of British men expressing their disdain for shoddy displays.

A number of respondents shed light on the disadvantages of high street shopping when compared with the online experience – highlighting the extra time and expense, and limited product choice as a few of the comparative shortcomings.

0.4% of voters declared “high-street chuggers” as the worst part of the shopping experience.

After The Guardian reported that UK high streets are losing customers to purpose-built retail parks, this latest retail study has revealed some potential catalysts for the high street’s demise – and a number of opportunities for retailers to take a step in the right direction.

Lee Singers, of Sinso Retail Support, said: “The study’s interesting in that it continues to highlight consumer dissatisfaction in the way retailers are failing to listen to their customers.

“Whilst we have come a long way over the last few years, continuous improvements need to be made to in-store layout to make for a more rewarding and enjoyable entry to exit journey – from fixtures and fittings and in-store lighting, to product availability and increased levels of customer service.”

Topline results:

What gets your goat about high street shopping? (Respondents were allowed to select multiple answers)

  • Queues: 41.8%
  • Misleading offers: 36.9%
  • Cramped shops: 35.7%
  • Aggressive salespeople: 35.3%
  • Other customers: 33.5%
  • Poorly informed staff: 25.1%
  • Poor product selection/low stock levels: 25.1%
  • Poor access: 19.5%
  • Poor quality products: 17.5%
  • Limited opening hours: 17.1%
  • Mislabelled products: 15.5%
  • Ugly displays: 10.6%
  • Other: 6.4%

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