British consumers are ready and willing to shop online. Here are some tips to get your UK eCommerce strategy off to a good start.
It’s no secret: the Brits love online shopping. 86% of UK internet users searched online for a product last month. 81% went on to buy something. And their annual spend online is significantly higher than any other country in Europe.
There are many good reasons to set up shop online in the UK. But because eCommerce in the UK is so popular, you’ll be competing against several big players in the market. To launch an effective eCommerce strategy in the UK, keep these four tips in mind.
1. UNDERSTAND UK SHOPPING BEHAVIOR
While UK shoppers love to shop online, 32% prefer to pay in person. And 28% of UK shoppers like to see the physical product before buying. So why is UK eCommerce so popular?
It’s about choice and price. 52% of UK shoppers 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.
Because they’re easily compared and relatively inexpensive, fashion and electronics are among the top-selling categories online. But interestingly, the higher-value furniture and appliance categories saw some of the fastest eCommerce growth in 2018, indicating there’s a growing online market for expensive goods.
In fact, every category saw significant growth in 2018. So chances are, whatever you’re selling in the UK, you’ll find a market online.
That’s not to say Brits have shunned the brick-and-mortar shopping experience completely. In fact, 93% complement their online shopping with in-store visits as part of their buying decision-making process. And the majority of sales still take place in-store. If you have a brick-and-mortar presence in the UK, incorporating it into a wider omnichannel strategy can boost your sales.
2. DELIVER ON YOUR PROMISES
The delivery experience can make or break your success in UK eCommerce.
25% of consumers think online delivery is too slow, while 17% have received incorrect or damaged goods. Meanwhile, 40% have abandoned their cart because they were unhappy with the delivery charges – with 22% going on to buy the same product somewhere else.
These are easy areas for brands to offer an improved online shopping experience.
85% of UK 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 in-store pickup services are popular alternatives. It’s best to offer a range of choices and prices to keep online UK consumers happy. And think carefully about delivery charges: 45% of UK consumers expect free delivery on every order.
When it comes to returns, UK consumers expect choice there too. Although the majority of UK online shoppers returned goods via mail last year, it’s also common to use drop-off points (including in-store).
In short, UK customers are willing to buy from you online. So don’t give them a reason to go elsewhere. Offer plenty of choices and a flawless customer experience.
3. GO MOBILE
You probably won’t be surprised to hear mCommerce is as important in the UK. 91% of UK smart phones offer internet access – and 45% of eCommerce purchases in the last month were made via smartphone.
That being said, there’s a generational split in UK buying behavior. 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 demographics of your target market.
Optimizing your site for mobile can be an effective way to get ahead of the competition. 22% of all users in the UK believe retailers’ mobile sites are hard to use. Keep yours simple and you’ll make a lasting impression.
4. LOCALIZE YOUR SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
Unless you have a globally recognized brand and limited local competition, you’ll likely need a UK eCommerce site. 93% of UK shoppers buy from British sites, whereas only 31% would make a purchase on a foreign site.
You may also want to sell on Amazon. 91% of Brits use the Amazon marketplace, compared to just 56% globally. The good news is selling on Amazon in the UK is reasonably straightforward. Find out more about how to be successful on Amazon UK here.
And for a monthly fee, you can list your items to sell in all European countries.
Depending on what you’re selling and who you’re targeting, eBay may also be worth considering. A quarter of iOS users in the UK have the eBay app, and the site has considerable reach with UK consumers. Whether you’re defining your eCommerce strategy for the UK or other foreign markets, make sure your content is optimized for each language and market.
UK eCommerce is full of opportunity. By understanding UK buying behavior and offering a seamless customer experience with plenty of choices, you can make sure British shoppers choose and remain loyal to your brand – whether via your own localized site or a marketplace.