In this opinion piece, Hayley Fisher (pictured), AUNZ country manager, Adyen describes some of the key ways the retail sector is driving sales despite global financial issues, including new payment technologies and methods.
The rising cost of living might have Australians carefully tracking their spending and rethinking their lifestyle habits, but it’s yet to rear its head across the retail sector. Shoppers continue to drive in-store and online shopping volumes, with the ABS’ June 2022 retail figures showing a 0.2 per cent rise in retail turnover in June 2022 – the sixth straight month of growth.
That said, retailers need to prepare for ongoing market uncertainty, finding ways to drive traffic and boost revenue that will keep shoppers coming back. Today, new payment technologies and methods are key to helping retailers deliver more seamless and convenient experiences and to drive sales.
Online versus in-store shopping
According to the Adyen 2022 Retail Report: The Shape of Ambition, the vast majority (73 per cent) of consumers still prefer shopping in a physical store over online. Since emerging from lockdowns, 34 per cent of consumers also say they have a new appreciation for being able to touch, feel, or physically try products in-store before they buy. To capture this audience, retailers need to ensure they merge online and offline channels to offer flexibility and the same high-quality experience across every touchpoint.
Over the coming years, shopping as we know it will evolve. The physical store will become more of a showroom and space to drive engagement, while the purchasing and payments experience move online – or become a hybrid of the two. The key enabler for this change is unified commerce – whereby all payments data feeds into the same backend system, helping retailers deliver a wealth of cross-channel experiences while keeping reconciliation simple.
Unified Commerce: boosting customer journey and loyalty
Retailers who are still operating with legacy technology are coming to realise that they are missing out on data, value and growth. As data and analytics expand, so do opportunities for retailers to extract value through innovative products and services. According to Adyen’s research, 63 per cent of retailers who deployed unified commerce grew by 20 per cent or more, highlighting a direct relationship between a retailer’s use of technology and their financial success.
The pandemic gave retailers pause to think about reimagining the store experience and incorporating unified commerce into their strategy. Unified commerce not only helps merchants centralise customer payment information, the data it provides can also help with real-time inventory tracking across all channels – personalising online, in-store and mobile buying suggestions for customers based on browsing and purchase history, creating loyalty programs that customers value and offering more convenient buying and delivery options.
More than half of Aussie consumers (58 per cent) think retailers need to use technology to make their loyalty and rewards program easier and more effective, according to our research report. 50 per cent of consumers said they are more likely to shop with a retailer if their loyalty program worked automatically through their payment card, yet only a handful of retailers use this innovation.
Experience is the ultimate key to sustained revenue
No matter the purchasing channel, experience remains key for Australian consumers. 66 per cent won’t return to a retailer if they’ve had a bad experience, either in-store or online. With most Australians preferring to shop in physical stores, retailers who offer unique in-store experiences are highly valued, with 54 per cent of consumers agreeing that physical stores should be exciting places to visit, not just a place to buy products they can easily get online.
Ultimately, Australian consumers would be more loyal to retailers who offer a seamless end-to-end experience across both online and in-store touchpoints. For instance, 53 per cent of customers are likely to be more loyal to a retailer that lets them buy things online and return in-store, and 56 per cent would be more loyal to a retailer if they were able to purchase an item that was out-of-stock in-store and have it shipped to their home.
Retailers wanting to unlock revenue and secure customer loyalty in an ever-changing world need to match their customers’ expectations for flexible, multi-channel experiences. Unified commerce is a key tool to help businesses achieve this. Not only does it enable cross-channel payments it can also provide data driven insights to make more personalised business decisions and help retailers remain leaders when it comes to customer experience.