Scots consumers eye benefits of shops reopening, fused with online retail

Consumers are looking forward to being able to touch and try items when non-essential shops in Scotland reopen this Monday, also looking to combine in-store visits with online, according to a survey from Visa.

The payments technology firm said being able to touch and try items was the top reason consumers are excited to cross stores’ thresholds at 49 per cent, followed by getting their hands on their purchases immediately at 44 per cent.

Additionally, about a quarter of Scottish shoppers look forward to a return to in-store shopping to support their local community.

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Visa also said the research reveals how the lines between online and offline shopping are becoming “increasingly blurred”, leading to a post-lockdown “hybrid-shopping” phenomenon. Just under half of Scottish consumers said they now prefer to shop with a balance of online and offline, with a similar proportion admitting to researching a product online before buying in store.

Being able to touch and try items is the top reason shoppers are excited to return to stores (file image). Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

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Furthermore, 27 per cent now say they check online for a better price while in store, and 23 per cent check the reviews for an item online while in a physical shop. The survey attracted 168 respondents based in Scotland, and was conducted earlier this month, while the consumer protection that comes with using a Visa debit or credit card was also stressed.

Jeni Mundy, managing director, UK & Ireland at Visa, said: “It’s clear that the Scottish high street still holds its lure for consumers, with many excited to head back into stores next week.

"Even as people have become more used to shopping online over the last year, it’s great that consumers are embracing shopping with a mix of both ‘bricks and clicks' for the best experience, as the lines between offline and online continue to blur.”

The report comes after the latest Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and KPMG Scottish retail sales monitor published earlier this week found that total sales fell by 13.8 per cent on a two-year basis compared with March 2019. Ewan MacDonald Russell of the SRC said at the time that if online continues its dominance and people don’t return to the shops “it will pose very significant questions for the future of physical retail stores”.

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