UK struggling to keep up with “fundamental change” in online retail

Smart phone shopping is predicted to account for two thirds of all purchases as it triples in value to £43 million over the next four years.

New research conducted by Paypal UK, OC&C Strategy Consultants and Google suggests that the UK is far behind overseas rivals in keeping up with the trend, with websites loading up to 25 per cent slower than US comparisons.

Data from Google has suggested that even a one second reduction in loading time can improve conversion rates by over a quarter.

“Speed is an important factor in any shopping experience, but when it comes to mobile shopping it’s vital,” PayPal UK mobile commerce director Rob Harper said.

“Retailers can reduce the time it takes to browse and select a purchase but if it takes too long to pay, they may lose that sale. It’s a problem that retailers can easily address.”

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Furthermore, although 250 million Chinese consumers made purchases through a popular messaging app, UK companies have been slow to utilise the platform for sales.

By 2020, the report states that 80 per cent of online retail will involve transactions, research and price comparisons with the use of a smartphone.

“The next evolution of mobile shopping will reduce the consumer journey even further,” Harper said.

“Contextual commerce will enable consumers to buy things at the point of discovery – whether that’s in an email, on a Pinterest page or in a messenger app – rather than needing to click through to an online shop.”

“Mobile technology is determining the future of e-commerce, and retailers need to act now to prepare themselves accordingly.”

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