2 min readUpdated Mar 24, 2023

New research: retailers failing to meet customers' realtime expectations

A survey of 500 UK shoppers conducted by Ably, the realtime data delivery platform, in partnership with market research specialists OnePulse, reveals the extent of consumers’ expectations for ‘live’ online shopping experiences.

Headline findings

  • 87% of respondents think online retailers should show live product availability as a matter of course on their websites and apps.
  • 72% would like to be able to do live text or video chat with in store staff to see products or ask questions virtually.
  • 92% expect to see in realtime where their parcel, delivery, or order is e.g. showing its live location on a map.
  • The biggest discrepancy between men and women is around their desire for virtual realtime shopping experiences. Whereas only 66% of women would like this option, 82% of men want it.

Survey results in detail

Following are the results to the three questions put to the panel of 500 UK shoppers with male/female data broken out.

1. Do you think online retailers should be able to show live product availability as a matter of course on their websites and apps?

2. Would you like it if you could do live text or video chat with in store staff so you could see products or ask questions virtually?

3. What about if you could see in realtime where your parcel / delivery /order is e.g. its live location on a map?


Commenting on the results, Matthew O’Riordan, CEO and Co-founder of Ably, says:

“It is clear from this research that what retailers are currently offering is not keeping up with customers’ expectations around realtime data and services. Services like Uber, FaceTime, Google Maps, Facebook Messenger and so on show us what is possible with realtime experiences and are setting the bar on consumers’ expectations. But even Amazon’s delivery experience is not yet truly realtime. We see lots of opportunities to deliver outstanding retail customer experiences through realtime.”

Realtime briefing and examples

More about what realtime means:

What does realtime web, or realtime data, actually mean?
Part 1: Understanding what realtime means

Examples of realtime digital experiences now and in the future:
10 examples of realtime digital experiences we can expect more of

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