Mind the Gap: Hiding Digital Features Costs UK Merchants Sales


Digital features mixed into the in-store shopping experience are what U.K. consumers want, and merchants need to make them easier to find.
Integrating online features and in-store shopping is reshaping the shopping experience in the U.K. However, more than one-quarter of U.K. merchants don’t offer the digital shopping features customers want. Even worse, one-third of these consumers faced challenges when looking for the features they most desired that merchants offered.77%: Portion of shoppers in the U.K. who want the ability to use their preferred payment method

This presents a valuable opportunity to U.K. retailers for innovation and market differentiation in the Click-and-Mortar™ space. U.K. merchants can capitalize on the country’s unique market aspects by focusing on the strategic integration of digital tools and raising consumer awareness. With its strong preference for contactless payments and robust logistics networks, the U.K. market is well-positioned to enhance the shopping experience by integrating digital features more effectively.

These key findings are explored in “2024 Global Digital Shopping Index: U.K. Edition,” a report commissioned by Visa Acceptance Solutions. PYMNTS Intelligence surveyed 2,232 U.K. consumers and 570 merchants to capture recent consumer behavior trends and document the rise of Click-and-Mortar™ shopping experiences. The report also draws on results from a larger survey of 13,904 consumers and 3,512 merchants across seven countries conducted from Sept. 27, 2023, to Dec. 1, 2023.

30%: Rise in the portion of U.K. shoppers adopting Click-and-Mortar™ habits since 2020Other key findings from the report include the following:

Shopping experiences with digital features are likely to grow more popular in the U.K.

The portion of U.K. shoppers adopting Click-and-Mortar™ habits has risen by 29% since 2020. However, U.K. consumers take a distinctive approach to shopping, with 64% saying they prefer purely online retail shopping. In contrast, just 13% prefer online grocery shopping. Despite being less inclined to buy online and pick up in-store, this behavior underscores the strength of the U.K.’s online and delivery infrastructures.

The U.K.’s online-only merchants express far more revenue optimism.

Many U.K. merchants remain cautiously optimistic about revenue growth and express more reserve than their counterparts in other markets. While 38% of in-store and omnichannel merchants in the U.K. expect increased revenue, 79% of in-store and omnichannel merchants in Saudi Arabia — where 55% of shoppers engage in Click-and-Mortar™ habits — anticipate growth. Compared to Saudi Arabia’s success, the U.K.’s 27% consumer usage of Click-and-Mortar™ strategies suggests potential paths for growth.64%: Share of U.K. remote shoppers who made their most recent retail purchase entirely online

U.K. consumers use and want specific digital features.

Consumers seek features that mirror the seamlessness of online shopping in their in-store experiences. They also want features that will reward them for frequenting a particular retailer. Nearly 80% of U.K. consumers want access to their preferred payment method. A similar share considers loyalty programs a benchmark feature.

Promoting Click-and-Mortar™ experiences is key to improving in-store shopping to the net benefit of the country’s main high streets. With U.K. shoppers showing a strong preference for online shopping, particularly in retail, merchants should use digital tools that mirror the online experience in-store.

Download the report to learn more about the digital shopping features U.K. consumers want and use the most.