How the ‘future of buying’ will help UK shoppers take back control of the internet

Brits love to shop. Online and offline, face to face and remotely. But as revealed in a new trend report from – the newly launched online personal shopping service for used cars – today’s buyers aren’t happy with many aspects of their retail experiences. While digital shopping is supposed to make life easier, a third (33%) of people surveyed said that online purchases take them longer than they should due to lack of guidance or a convoluted process.

With our growing frustrations around online shopping, it’s no wonder Brits are getting ready to embrace Artificial Intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies for a more streamlined and faff-free experience. Research shows that over a quarter (28%) of UK shoppers are looking forward to using 3D body scanners, receiving suggestions on personalised products based on their online data (22%) and playground shops where people are free to experience the products before buying them (26%).

Behavioural futurists Nadia and William Higham – who compiled the ‘Finding The One’ report for cinch – predict that Digital Friends Forever (D.F.F.s) will soon become commonplace. These online personal shoppers will observe people, get to know their families and friends, and shop on their behalf, helping to turn the tables and put shoppers’ needs first, instead of those of retailers. Furthermore, they predict that in a few years chatbots will take over customer service teams completely.

The futurists believe that, aside from helping to make people’s lives easier, these online personal shoppers will also help people shop better and express their individuality through their purchases, by enabling them to find what they really want. According to the study, three quarters (76%) of young people say self-expression is fundamental to personal growth, which is attributed to the growth of social media in this report.

The latest research reveals that this new era of personalised purchasing will grow people’s reliance on digital assistance in their everyday lives. Nearly half (44%) of those surveyed would trust a robot of sorts to protect them from intruders, almost a fifth (17%) would let them choose their car, and nearly one in 10 (8%) would even go as far as trusting them to select a babysitter for their child.

This growing interest from consumers will have a knock-on effect on whether or not people choose to shop with certain retailers. Three quarters (76%) admit that a bespoke experience is a true testament to how much a company values them, and two thirds (67%) of UK shoppers are totally happy sharing their personal data with retailers and brands, if it means they can speed up their purchase process.

Nadia Higham says: “In addition to a more personalised shopping experience, there is a growing demand for more fun and excitement in retail. The more that retailers personalise the buying experience, the more control they’ll give the shopper, meaning it’s less likely consumers will make the ‘wrong’ decision. We’ll shop smarter, we’ll feel more confident in our decisions, and we’ll have products tailored to our needs.”

This is apt, with the latest research revealing that almost half (46%) of UK shoppers have regretted buying expensive items in the past after discovering a better version or brand afterwards. The top lavish items Brits have regretted buying include a car (9%), long-haul holiday (10%), piece of furniture (11%) and laptop (12%). Research from cinch[1] also found a quarter (26%) of car buyers (just over 2 million of the 7.9 million people per year who buy a used car) don’t feel confident buying a used car, while 31% find the process daunting, and 45% (over 3.5 million people) do not enjoy the process of finding and buying a car at all.

cinch’s unique ‘help me choose’ function works like a personal shopper, matching budget, lifestyle preferences and what people need out of a car with suggestions of different vehicles that are right for the buyer – letting them discover new options confidently, whether they know about cars or not.

The tool uses a carefully selected range of images, sliders and simple questions to quickly establish individual preferences. Using attribution, these responses – which deliver millions of possible combinations of specifications – are then matched against thousands of individual vehicles to generate truly tailored recommendations in seconds. The results are highly customised down to engine size, body, brand, size, fuel type and so on – taking all that hard work away from the user and presenting them with the perfect car for their needs. is a new service that helps consumers find, buy and sell a used car.


The cinch ‘Finding The One’ report summary:


The Power of Personalisation

  • In the future, personalisation will become an increasingly important purchase driver: 45% of consumers say they’re more likely to shop on a site that offers personalised recommendations
  • Two thirds (66%) of UK online shoppers like the idea of being able to personalise a retail website


Self-Reliant Shoppers

  • In the future, shoppers will increasingly seek out opportunities to take control of the purchase process: they’ll demand more choices and options; and enough information to make smarter decisions by themselves
  • Almost half (46%) of regular UK online purchasers have regretted buying at least one major purchase they made online: 9% regret buying a car, 10% a holiday and 12% a laptop
  • To avoid such problems, tomorrow’s consumers will demand an opportunity to test a product in real life before they buy it, with more retailers offering a ‘try before you buy ‘service, including AR and VR brand experiences