It’s well known by retailers around the globe that subtly streamlining the e-commerce experience can have a dramatic effect on conversions. This is why thousands of businesses are investing millions of dollars to shave fractions of seconds from their page loading times. Why hasn’t the same happened in physical retail? Some recent metrics suggest that the speed and responsiveness of service in an physical retail environment may have a far greater impact than many people have previously thought.

As many as 85% of physical retail shoppers say they will abandon a purchase if they don’t receive ‘prompt service’. What does prompt service mean? Taking more than two minutes to execute a request (e.g. fetching a different size) can reduce the chance of sales conversion by as much as 50%. In-store shoppers aren’t just impatient when getting help either. If a checkout queue is perceived to be longer that a 7 minute wait, 79% of shoppers will abandon the purchase all together.

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These numbers are huge. They imply that the modern cash-rich, time-poor consumer values their own time over other supposedly more important factors, such as whether or not they actually like an item. These shoppers are apparently willing to abandon the purchases they were about to make the majority of the time if they can’t get in and out of the shop in the time it takes to mix an orange mocha frappuccino.

Despite the constant increase in e-commerce activity, in-store sales still make up 83.2% of total sales in the UK. This means that retail businesses need to continue to invest in streamlining the in-store experience, perhaps harnessing the right technologies to speed up service, and therefore noticeably increase conversion rates.