Retailers could pick up £11.6bn extra at the till with an improved in-store experience

  • Addressing in-store frustrations such as long queues to pay and poor layout could encourage customers to spend an additional £11.6 billion annually*, with the average shopper abandoning £34-worth of items in a month
  • Twice as many consumers make a purchase almost every time they visit a high-street store, compared to the proportion who do so when shopping online
  • 80 per cent of retailers who have invested in improving their physical stores, for example by increasing stock variety or offering contactless payments, have seen an increase in turnover as a result
  • Consumers are looking for practical services in-store such as clothes recycling, postal services and lockers where they can leave shopping bags

Despite the growing popularity of online shopping, enhancing the in-store experience still presents a significant commercial opportunity for retailers, with conversion rates almost twice as high as in physical stores, according to new research from Barclaycard.

The findings reveal that consumers are more likely to buy when they visit a high-street shop compared to when shopping online, with  25 per cent making a purchase almost every time they visit a physical store, versus just 12 per cent on websites.

This higher conversion rate in-store points to an opportunity for retailers to secure revenue growth – if they can entice shoppers through the door in greater numbers and offer them great service once inside. Today, however, 55 per cent of consumers say they have walked away from a purchase due to disappointments with the high street experience. The most commonly-cited pain-points include long queues to pay, long queues at the fitting room and staff unavailable to help. 

By enhancing the in-store environment, businesses could benefit from consumers spending an additional £11.6 billion each year, with the average shopper abandoning over £34 worth of purchases a month because of experiencing frustrations.

Invest more to entice customers

The majority of vendors have started working hard to improve the shopper experience in their physical stores, responding to demand for greater convenience, choice and opening hours that fit around flexible working patterns. Top improvements made include introducing faster payment options such as contactless (58 per cent), a revamped store layout (50 per cent) and in-store deals that aren’t available online (49 per cent).

Introducing these improvements reaps clear benefits: 80 per cent of retailers who have already invested in their physical stores have seen an increase in turnover as a direct result, with an average revenue uplift of 14 per cent. The high value of lost sales shows, however, that there’s still more work to be done.

Top retailer in-store improvements



Increased the variety and amount of stock in-store

62 per cent


Introduced faster payment options e.g. contactless

58 per cent


Started opening on a Sunday, or extended current Sunday opening hours within legal limits

51 per cent


Revamped store layout

50 per cent


Introduced in-store deals that aren’t available online

49 per cent


Increased or changed opening hours to fit around consumers’ flexible work patterns

47 per cent


Introduced in-store giveaways, e.g. handing out product samples

43 per cent


Started making the experience more tailored and personal for customers based on their preferences e.g. using purchasing data

43 per cent


Started holding in-store events to entice customers, e.g. classes, music events

36 per cent


Introduced technology that helps consumers choose items more quickly, e.g. tablet computers on which they can check availability or sizes in stock

33 per cent


‘Make life easier for me’

There’s clear demand from shoppers for in-store access to services that they’d usually have to go elsewhere for and retailers are responding to this appetite. For example, a quarter (25 per cent) of vendors now offer additional services such as postal facilities, matching the proportion of consumers (24 per cent) who say they’d like to see postal services in-store.

More could be done, however. Consumers say they’d also like to see clothes recycling (25 per cent) in their favourite shops, as well as lockers where they can leave shopping bags or luggage (21 per cent). In contrast, retailers think their customers will be most interested in gift wrapping (cited by 40 per cent) and personalisation, such as adding the customer’s initials onto items (28 per cent).

Paulette Rowe, Managing Director, Barclaycard Payment Solutions, said:                                                                                      

“This research shows there’s a clear opportunity for retailers to be more creative when it comes to the experience in-store. The key is to give shoppers something that makes their life easier.

“Whether it’s offering somewhere to leave their bags, in-store postal services or accepting faster payment methods, there are many engaging ways to make high-street shopping easier and more enjoyable. Those retailers who embrace this approach will be rewarded at the till.”

Notes to editors

For more information, please contact Chloe Wilkinson, Senior PR Manager, Barclaycard, on +44 (0) 20 3555 4036 or

Online interviews were carried out by Opinium Research with 251 senior decision-makers in retail with an in-store presence on 15-22 September 2017, and with 2,002 consumers on 15-20 September 2017. Additional research was conducted with 2,002 consumers on 27-28 September 2017.

*The figure of £11.6 billion (£11,631,844,762) was calculated by extrapolating the proportion of the 2,002 UK adults in the survey who have abandoned a purchase in-store in the last year (1,094) to the total UK population. This was then multiplied by the average amount of money UK adults would have spent on the purchases they abandoned in-store in the last month (£34.27), to provide an estimated overall monthly revenue opportunity figure. This was multiplied by 12 months to provide an annual figure. The total value of UK retail sales in 2016 was £358 billion (source: Retail Economics). 

About Barclaycard

Barclaycard, part of Barclays Bank PLC, is a leading global payment business that helps consumers, retailers and businesses to make and take payments flexibly, and to access short-term credit and point-of-sale finance.

In 2016 we processed over £250bn in transactions globally. Barclaycard is a pioneer of new forms of payment and is at the forefront of developing viable contactless and mobile payment schemes for today and cutting-edge forms of payment for the future. We also partner with a wide range of organisations across the globe to offer their customers or members payment options and credit.

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