How are customers buying today?
As a consumer, in today’s hyper-saturated market, we are faced – and almost inundated – with a plethora of options, any combination of which could determine which company we choose to buy from. Some of those options include:
- Which store has readily accessible stock?
- Which store delivers fastest?
- Which store is cheapest?
- Which store offers complementary products?
- Which store offers the simplest and cheapest returns?
But the list doesn’t stop there. Consumers are also looking at online shopping options, the user (online) or visitor (store) experiences, retailer brand values, ease of returns, loyalty rewards… This abundant choice means customers are buying based upon a mixture of many more criteria than just price and proximity, changed from the days before eCommerce. No one customer makes a buying decision based on exactly the same criteria as the next… and even individual customers may well change their own preferences – for example to save money during a cost of living crisis. This creates a complex, fast-moving payments landscape, where no two customer journeys are the same.
How are payments evolving?
Digital has long been driving huge transformation, but with Covid, the already burning fire of change had an oil keg of accelerant thrown onto it. Food delivery, grocery, fashion, car buying, furniture… virtually every business known to man has adapted a pre-existing face-to-face model, for a more favourable eCommerce or digitally-driven approach.
Today the aim is to make everything faster, more customer-centric and more efficient. As we moved from cash to credit card we entered a time where payments were seamless, efficient, recurring, easy to perform, and simpler to track. Digital has moved us from a store-centric retail environment into a true omnichannel one. We’re now in a virtual circle, where new payments capabilities enhance customer expectations, and these rising customer expectations create a need for new payments capabilities. If a consumer saves themselves five minutes during a weekly grocery shop by using a self-checkout, they begin to ask themselves why they can’t do the same when they buy essential clothing. Or they might buy a book online that arrives the next day, then expect the same turnaround time for ingredients for tomorrow night’s dinner.
Put it another way. In the past, you had to get the entire family into the sedan and drive to the pharmacy. Now you can push less than 10 buttons for a pharmaceutical order delivered to your door the same day. That’s real progress. But it takes a lot of clever thinking and investment to make it possible.
How can retailers serve customer expectations around payments?
Successful retailers today know they need to build the customer journey around the customer, rather than dictate how an item will be bought. That means they must create a diversity of payment options. In the store that means introducing self-checkouts, kiosks, mobile consumer apps or even walk in walk out checkout-less shops while still giving customers the reassurance they can speak to and buy from a human being. Payment methods are evolving; today’s world is moving further and further away from the concepts of wallets and carrying physical currency. We’re moving from cash-only to contactless card payments, coupons, digital wallets, tokenised transactions, split payment and combinations of all of these. Payment terms are evolving too, with new options for BNPL (buy now pay later). Cryptocurrencies are also looming large.
What does that mean for retailers?
Retailers are reacting but are aware they cannot just drop new hardware into a store and plug it in unless they have an underlying platform that can process, transmit and receive the real-time information required for the digital age. This information must work at any endpoint – be it a customer’s mobile phone or a new self-checkout or an eCommerce ‘basket’ page or a cash register. Data needs to be instant, consistent, and easy to analyse. Retailers therefore need an underlying commerce platform that can scale, stay secure and keep everything seamless for the customer and the store associate — and flex to support payment innovations of the future, such as connected devices and the IoT.
How does Flooid help?
Flooid’s ambition of offering a resilient, secure, and feature-rich payment journey is underscored by our ability to stay current with the evolutions occurring in the retail world. From offering open ecosystems which involve collaboration and clever usage of loyalty, to global market presence and availability, to service-based modern integration architecture granting easier flexibility and change, Flooid delivers a scalable unified omnichannel solution, which can support any number or type of transactions in store, as well as online. In short, we help retailers to build new ways to take payments, so they can keep selling, keep their customers close, and secure greater revenue.