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Self-service checkouts are killing the high street

A survey of the UK’s consumers has revealed what shoppers are looking for when it comes to high street service.

Retail specialists shop4pop.com asked 10,000 people what would improve their in store shopping experience.

Despite a rise in DIY till points and all major supermarkets getting behind the self-service experience, the study revealed that 39% of respondents would like to see more manned checkouts in stores.

It was also the top answer amongst 18-24 year olds, with a substantial 52% of participants saying it would most improve their shopping experience.

According to the study, customer service is a key concern for a quarter of participants, who prefer to stick to traditional methods of checking out and said that more available staff would aid their in store experience.

In-store pricing

Confusion surrounding the cost of items is also a major gripe for Brits – with 35% of those surveyed saying clearer product pricing would keep them shopping on the high street.

This struck a chord with women aged 45 and over in particular, who called for more transparent prices on in-store products.

Britain’s 35-44 year old population said they were less concerned with more clear-cut product costs, giving it just 20% of their vote.

Relaxed trading laws

Last month, the BBC reported on the government’s efforts to relax laws around Sunday trading hours.

Those plans were quashed, but 30% of those surveyed said that longer store opening hours would improve their shopping experience.

The 25-34 year old age group were particularly in favour of more flexible trading times.

Other gripes

The survey revealed it’s not just Generation Y who are seeking instant gratification – with Scottish participants across the board wishing to see stores ease up on their opening hours.

Grievances surrounding refunds and exchanges were also raised, with just under a fifth of participants voicing their want for more relaxed returns policies.

Easier access to trolleys and baskets isn’t as high on the UK’s consumer radar, with just under 10% of participants thinking there was room for improvement.

Other respondents cited more disabled-friendly stores and clearer price comparisons between retailers as things which would enhance their shopping experience.

Siobhan Sweeney, marketing executive at shop4pop.com, said: “These results are quite eye opening – before carrying out the research we would have assumed that 18-24 year olds in particular would actually prefer to see more self-service checkouts, as opposed to manned till points.

“It does go to show that despite the continuous rise in technology throughout retail, good old fashioned face-to-face communications is invaluable.”

Topline results:

Which of the following would improve your shopping experience?

  • More checkouts: 39.4%
  • Clearer product prices: 34.8%
  • Longer opening hours: 30.2%
  • More available staff: 25%
  • More flexible returns policies: 19.4%
  • Easier access to trolleys/baskets: 9.6%
  • Other: 1.8%

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