A new survey by store fittings supplier, Shopfitdirect says that UK High Streets are struggling to survive because customers hate the experience of town centre shopping.
According to the results, shoppers dislike having to pay ‘inflated’ prices for parking, with no guarantees that they will find the goods or services they need at the right price.
Customers are also put off the increasingly scruffy look for many town centres, with too many closed shops and gangs of youths hanging around given as reasons they would rather stay at home or shop online.
Other reasons included loud in-store music, pushy sales assistants, having to queue, difficulty returning items, dislike of using money-off vouchers and finding an item offered cheaper the next day by the same store.
"It’s become a vicious circle," said Ian Ashworth from Shopfitdirect.co.uk. "As more people abandon the High Street, the more shops close and the worse the shopping experience. As professionals in the shop fitting industry, we’re in a unique position to see what’s happening, but it’s not all bad news.
"The more imaginative, customer-centred outlets are going to survive, and it’s encouraging to see them fighting back."
Ashworth continued: "As you can see, just as much of the problem lies with the shops’ attitude as it does with the state of the economy. Often they don’t realise how big a turn off loud music or bewildering returns policies can be.
"The bottom line is that stores have to face up to the fact that they are forcing customers and their money out of their doors through poor staff training who offer poor service. If the store and its staff make people feel uncomfortable they won’t return. It’s as simple as that."
According to Shopfitdirect, the ease of shopping on the internet wasn’t a significant factor in people’s opinions on High Street shopping.
"People just want a decent first hand personalised shopping experience in pleasant shops," said Ashworth. "That’s not hard to deliver."