More shoppers in the US are planning to make purchases from physical stores, according to the latest study of “seamless retailing.” 

A survey of 750 adult consumers by consultant Accenture found that 21% planned to increase their in-store purchasing in 2014, up from 9% the year before.

Asked what retailers needed to improve most in the shopping experience, 40% ranked improving the in-store shopping experience first, compared to only 16% who said the same about online shopping.

“The survey results indicate that retailers have an opportunity to increase in-store sales, but only if they make the experience worthwhile for consumers,” said Chris Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice.

“The lines between the different shopping channels are blurring, but the good news for traditional retailers is that the store continues to play an important role.

“In order to ensure that they offer shoppers a seamless retail experience, bricks and mortar/high street retailers must work hard to differentiate the shopping experience they offer compared to the online pure-plays.”

According to the survey, 19% of consumers have been using click and collect services more than in the previous year, compared to 12% 12 months earlier.

More shoppers (14% versus 7%) are also buying in-store and then having the product shipped to their home address.

The ability to check product availability online before visiting a store would improve the experience for 31% of those surveyed, while 89% would travel to a store or buy online if real-time product availability information was available.

Some 78% said they had “webroomed” – browsed online and then gone to a store to buy – while 72% had “showroomed” – seen a product in a physical store and then searched online for a better price before making their purchase.