The demands of today’s shopper can make a retailer’s head spin.
They love shopping online, but are more likely to buy in-store, they hate queuing but won’t do anything about it. They see shopping as a social day out with friends, but they don’t want to chit-chat with sales associates.
This is what we learned when we surveyed 2000 UK shoppers. And it is little wonder that the 500 retailers we surveyed seem to be struggling to keep pace.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed. But our survey also pointed to some very clear trends, which should help retailers focus their efforts both now and into the future.
1. Give shoppers a reason to visit your stores
Both retailers and shoppers were unanimous in agreeing that the physical store is still central to the shopping experience. 97% of respondents state they shop in-store, and retailers believe that their physical stores are their most important sales channel.
This is hardly surprising. The store provides an experience impossible to replicate online. And many successful brands are capitalizing on the in-store experience to engage more with shoppers. Rituals has turned its store into a spa-like experience., Sonos
recreates living spaces to test its sound, and H&M’s new ARKET store on Regent Street serves coffee.
Ecommerce businesses have also woken up to the importance of the in-store experience. Bonobos has opened showrooms where shoppers can try on items before ordering online. And other retailers open additional pop-up shops to build stronger relationships with
shoppers. Cambridge Satchel, for example, grew Black Friday sales by 124% year on year with pop-up shops and endless aisles.
Since experience is everything, it is vital to eliminate the in-store pain points, which may keep shoppers away. Number one is queuing. Over half of shoppers surveyed named standing in line as their biggest frustration. Fortunately, technology like mobile
point of sale (mPOS) can help alleviate the pressure from the fixed cashiers by letting sales associates make a sale anywhere on the shop floor.
In other cases, the benefit of the physical store is its immediacy, and the ability to walk out with your item then and there. Speed and ease are of the essence, with AmazonGo being the prime example. Retailers catering to this need should consider timesaving
technology like self-checkouts and contactless payments.
2. Make ecommerce work harder for you
British shoppers love the convenience of having delivered to our door. But beware: 73% of shoppers will abandon an online purchase if they believe the delivery cost is too high. Offering click and collect is a good way to eliminate delivery costs without
eating into your margins.
Interestingly, many retailers still lack confidence in their online experience. In fact, the larger the retailer, the less they rate their ecom store. And mobile lags behind still further with less than 4% of retailers surveyed satisfied with their in-app
experience. There are huge opportunities, therefore, for retailers that get these online channels working harder for them.
Today mobile is not optional. 60% of shoppers state they have used apps to make purchases, a number which is only going to increase. So the retailers that get it right will reap huge rewards. Successful retail apps are marketplaces such as Asos or FarFetch,
who provide beautifully curated apps, which offer a wide selection of brands in one place, making it easy to shop around. Single-brand retailers should use their apps to build a community and deliver quality content, in addition to product listings.
Another key trend, which we expect to grow rapidly as soon as the functionality is widely available, is social commerce, where shoppers buy from directly inside a chat thread. Facebook has invested heavily in its chatbot API to make it easy for retailers
to process payments from inside Facebook Messenger. So watch this space – soon shopping will be as easy as chatting to friends.
Whether online or on mobile, a quick and easy payment experience is crucial. 63% of shoppers want retailers to have their details saved, so they can pay more quickly. One-click, or even zero-click payments make online shopping effortless. This is easily
managed with tokenization, which captures payment data during the first payment and then uses an encrypted token to charge subsequent purchases. So your shoppers can come back again, and again.
3. Provide a unified experience
Every sales channel has its strengths and weaknesses.
The store continues to play a crucial role in the journey, thanks to the sensory experience, and instant gratification you just can’t get online. Just make sure you sand off those rough edges, such as long queues, intrusive sales associates and out of stock
Online provides the ability to shop from the comfort of your sofa. Just don’t annoy your shoppers with high delivery costs. And think mobile-first, rather than adjusting your existing site to fit a small screen.
Ultimately, it is important to remember that shopper don’t care about channels. They want to browse and buy as and when it suits them. So retailers must ensure their service fits around the shopper, not the other way round. This means connecting your sales
channels and proving a unified experience across every touch-point. In that way, you can harness the best of all channels to deliver the best service and close more sales.
By consolidating your payments into one system, you can support seamless cross-channel journeys, streamline your operations, and build an in-depth view of your shoppers across locations and devices.
This not only means lower costs and more revenue. A unified, cloud-based platform gives you the agility to rollout updates quickly, so you can adapt to shopper trends without the need to overhaul your systems.
This makes it easy to keep pace with the every-changing demands of today’s shopper.