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British shoppers are ready and willing to shop online. Here’s how to set yourself up for success in UK e-commerce – and make sure it’s your brand they choose.

It’s no secret: the Brits love online shopping.

86% of UK internet users searched for a product last month. 81% went on to buy something. And their annual spend is significantly higher than any other country in Europe.

There are many good reasons to set up shop online in the UK. But because it’s so popular, you’ll be competing against several big players in the market. Don’t worry. Here’s our advice to help you feel less like a small fish in the big pond of UK e-commerce.

1. GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT

32% of UK shoppers prefer to pay in person. 28% like to see a product in person before buying. So why is UK e-commerce so popular?

Primarily, it’s down to choice and price. 52% think there’s a greater selection of products online, while 55% think it’s easier to compare prices. And 44% believe prices are cheaper online in the first place.

It’s not surprising fashion and electronics are among the top-selling categories. They can be easily compared and aren’t particularly high-value. But interestingly, the higher-value furniture and appliances category saw some of the fastest growth in 2018, indicating there’s a growing online market for expensive goods.

However, every category saw significant growth in 2018. So chances are, whatever you’re selling, you’ll find a market for it online.

That’s not to say Brits have shunned the high street completely. In fact, 93% complement their online shopping with in-store visits. And the majority of sales take place in-store. Don’t abandon stores – instead, incorporate them into a wider omnichannel strategy.

2. DELIVER YOUR PROMISES

Delivery can make or break your success in UK e-commerce.

25% think deliveries are too slow, while 17% have received incorrect or damaged goods. Meanwhile, 40% have abandoned their basket because they were unhappy with the delivery costs – with 22% going on to buy the same product elsewhere.

These are easy areas for brands to improve.

85% of shoppers want to choose their preferred delivery speed – and 70% want to track their deliveries. And although home delivery is by far the preferred option, the post office and click and collect services are popular alternatives. Our advice: offer a range of choices and prices to keep your customers happy. And keep it cheap: 45% of customers expect free delivery on every order.

On the flip side, UK customers expect choice when it comes to returns too. Although the majority returned goods in the post last year, it’s also common to use collection points (including your own stores).

In short, UK customers are willing to buy from you online. Don’t give them a reason to go elsewhere by offering plenty of choice and a frictionless experience.

3. GO MOBILE

You probably won’t be surprised to hear m-commerce is important in the UK. 91% of UK mobiles offer internet access – and 45% of e-commerce purchases in the last month were made via mobile.

That being said, there’s a generational split. Although 59% of millennials make mobile purchases, the figure drops to 31% for Generation X and just 5% for Baby Boomers. The priority you place on mobile functionality should therefore depend on the age of your target market.

If a mobile site is for you, don’t be half-hearted. Optimizing your site for mobile is an easy way to get ahead of the competition. 22% of all users believe retailers’ mobile sites are hard to use. Keep yours simple and you’ll reap the rewards.

4. CORNER THE MARKET(S)

You’ll need a British webshop to make headway in UK e-commerce. 93% of UK shoppers buy from British sites, whereas only 31% would use a foreign site.

But you’ll also need to sell on Amazon. 91% of Brits use the marketplace, compared to just 56% globally. And one in ten iOS users have downloaded the Amazon app. The good news is selling on the marketplace is reasonably straightforward. For a monthly fee, you can list your items to sell in all European countries, or just on Amazon UK. Find out more about how to be successful on Amazon UK here.

Don’t forget about eBay either. A quarter of iOS users have the eBay app. So it may well be worth adding this as another string to your e-commerce bow.

Whichever marketplaces you sell on, make sure your content is optimized for each language and market. Here’s our advice on how to go about this.

FINAL THOUGHTS

UK e-commerce is ripe with opportunity. British shoppers are ready and willing to shop online. By offering a seamless customer experience and plenty of choice, you can make sure it’s your brand they’re buying from – whether it’s on a marketplace or your own site.

Need help getting your UK e-commerce shop up and running? Or want a hand managing marketplaces in multiple languages? Get in touch – we’d love to help.