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Flawed customer experiences are costing retailers billions each year. Is fintech the solution?

It’s a turbulent time for high street retailers. With competition so fierce, it’s more important than ever for retailers to learn from the successes of their online counterparts – in particular, creating more innovative and convenient customer journeys, to improve the in-store experience and get more customers through the door.

Research by Adyen and 451 Research, shows that flawed shopper experiences are costing British retailers up to £102 billion in lost sales each year. Stores running out of stock are the biggest contributor to lost revenue, costing retailers over £14.8 billion each year. But conversely, busy stores are just as much a turn off as ones without any items. In the past six months alone, two thirds of Brits (66%) have abandoned their purchase and left a store because of long queues.

This research reveals a huge opportunity for retailers to differentiate themselves by improving their in-store experiences. The good news is that with the right technology, this can be addressed.

How to win over in-store customers

With the likes of industry behemoths such as Amazon churning out innovative new ways for consumers to shop online, high street retailers need to be going the extra mile when it comes to physical store experiences. Made.com is a good example of a retailer harnessing the power of online and offline to drive sales. It recently relaunched its Soho showroom to include a café and deployed digital technologies such as tablets that allow shoppers to search and buy products. Other retailers such as Adidas are also attaching QR codes to items displayed in-store to make it easy for shoppers to buy using their smartphones. This type of unified commerce is what all retailers should be homing in on.

According to our retail report, more than two thirds of consumers (68%) thought that accepting contactless payments would improve the in-store experience. Skipping queues by paying for items in-store via a mobile app, was close behind (55%). Speed is clearly important to in-store shoppers – and why shouldn’t it be? Queues aren’t a factor online so finding ways to reduce this added friction brings the convenience of online shopping with the experience of handling the products before buying them in-store.

Also high on the shopper wish-list are: the acceptance of digital wallets, the ability to check a store’s stock levels online, the option to buy now and pay later, and saved payment details on file to speed up the checkout process. All options that are available to online shoppers.

Taking small steps to combat the issue

While trading conditions are undoubtedly challenging and it can be hard for retailers to keep up, the shopping experience must keep pace with the digital age. Fortunately, technology can help to address retail pitfalls and provide a great in-store experience. Tackling queues with mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) devices instead of fixed tills, for example, reduces waiting time and also improves the customer experience.

Retailers shouldn’t ditch their stores to compete with online counterparts. The physical shop has an important role to play in winning customers over. Our global research has shown that those customers who buy from a retailer both online and offline spend on average 30% more per purchase, which demonstrates the loyalty of unified commerce shoppers. Having the right payments infrastructure to link online and offline stores and create a truly fluid purchase experience is key to tapping into this revenue opportunity.

There has also been a recent trend in ecommerce brands moving into stores, taking experiences that are natural to their brand and applying those to the retail store space. For example, online homeware retailer Wayfair launched its first pop-up store over the summer in London, featuring four travel-destination-themed rooms, experiential and interactive elements, as well as offering online shopping on iPads situated in the showroom.

With competition in the in-store space getting stronger, retailers need to act now to ensure they are capitalising on a complete omni-channel offering. The high-street isn’t dead, it is simply evolving, and it’s the players that are connecting offline and online commerce to satisfy consumer convenience, that will stay afloat.

 

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