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How digital will accelerate retail both online and in-store

Retail
(Image credit: Image Credit: WNDJ / Pixabay)

With eCommerce becoming the main element of physical retailers’ strategies, and the Covid-19 pandemic shifting the customers' shopping habits from on-site to online, the landscape for Connected Retail is more prospective than ever. Demographic changes, innovations in payments, the constantly changing behaviors and needs of customers, and currently, social isolation have been changing the shape of retail as we know it today. As online purchases gain momentum with consumers finding it unacceptable to miss the ability of being able to pay for goods online, retail businesses must be well prepared to survive in these lucrative yet challenging times.

The advent of internet shopping, price-comparison search engines, online coupons, and cashback deals have created a new breed of consumers. They are smart, tech-savvy, hungry for deals, and put in a lot of research before making purchases. Yet, at the same time, these connected, omnichannel customers tend to be bigger shoppers (driving both physical and digital sales) and might potentially become lifelong advocates and generate buzz on their social media to bring in more following for a specific brand.

What are these shoppers looking for in a modern retail store?

Omnichannel customers expect to be dazzled by interactivity and connected services, while retaining the simplicity and seamlessness of payments intact. They also expect on-site shopping to allow them to mix online and in-store purchases, easy pick-ups of purchased goods, and transparent refund and return policies in case of issues or dissatisfaction. Some retailers might then ask ‘what are the benefits of bringing in such demanding customers?’ to soon realize their profits increasing substantially due to omnichannel customers being proven to deliver higher value track record compared to regular shoppers.

Brick and mortar retailers who are still on the horns of a dilemma should think no further but simply consider the benefits that go along with becoming connected and offering one's wares online. First and foremost, online shopping offers a much greater variety of ways to target individuals’ needs and taste, from targeted ads and special occasions coupons to personalized birthday gifts and “similar products” that shoppers might find interesting options that drive sales and generate new and returning customers. Furthermore, online sales allow for much greater insight into customer data, habits and trends that might be used to streamline retailers’ operations and to be able to generate sales more effectively.

The power of online

Another obvious benefit is the ability to offer more online, which is what most omnichannel customers are looking for. The golden rule of “the more the better” applies to eCommerce more than ever in this day and age, and with the retail space getting more and more expensive, especially in top locations, businesses can resort to a central warehouse located outside the city. Another undisputed perk of going digital is the potential to establish direct narration with your audience via social media. According to research by Facebook, more than 80 percent of people use Instagram to research their potential purchases and discover new trends and products.

Entering the realm of eCommerce brings about several advantages and benefits to retail outlets, but it also exposes them to a substantial set of dangers that they may not be equipped enough to handle, if not supported by a proper omnichannel solution provider. Here are just a few of them:

  • Online fraud
  • Lack of local payment methods
  • No direct support for clients in case of issues or questions
  • Lower authorization rates
  • IT issues

A reliable omnichannel provider can help mitigate risks and teach retailers how to effectively design the registration flow and the checkout experience to retain paying customers and limit fraudsters’ activities. Such providers have in-store solutions that provide a unified and safe payment flow that immerses and connects the buyer and the seller in this financial journey. It constitutes a set of comprehensive hardware and software-based solutions to open up retailers to more customers and boost their sales and conversion levels. Bridging the gap between online and physical stores by introducing digital kiosks, touch screens and VR experiences to POS transform the shops of today into the shops of the future.

The importance of a single, strong acquiring partner

We understand the importance of offering effective, fast, and reliable acquiring services that are tailored to clients based on regions and their risk appetite. With a network of global acquirers, partnering with the right provider means the capacity to implement smart routing and switching to effectively optimize authorization levels. It also offers Dynamic Currency Conversion, opening up your local store to other countries, making your products available everywhere you want.

Offering their products globally, retailers must also consider the crucial point of having a well-thought set of local payment methods. One of the major differences between retail and online shopping is that once in the shop, customers are likely to pay for the products they really want whether by card or cash. Online sales, especially on local markets tend to be a bit more complex since users frequently choose a specific local payment method that they are accustomed to. Not offering BLIK in Poland, Sofort in Germany or iDEAL in the Netherlands can be a deal-breaker causing people to drop sales and search for stores that have these options at checkout.

By having a global presence and massive knowledge base, the right partner can offer pre-implementation support to retail owners and guide them through the implementation process itself. Apart from that, experts in the support team are ready to answer any burning questions regarding terminals, generating reports or invoices, and providing information about suspicious/problematic transactions. With its massive infrastructure and immense experience in the payments industry, we have the capacity to serve customers around the world and to provide a seamless payment experience of the future, today.

Chris Burnside, Account Manager, Specialty Retail, UK & Nordics Global Sales & Verticals, Worldline

Chris Burnside, Account Manager, Specialty Retail, UK & Nordics Global Sales & Verticals, Worldline Chris is the Account Manager for Specialty Retail, UK & Nordics Global Sales & Verticals at Worldline. In a career spanning over 20 years, Chris has a proven track record of providing high levels of customer service and in developing successful partnerships with customers across all industry verticals. Chris has worked in technology since graduating. She has extensive experience working on digital transformation projects and ensuring that customers get the most out of their technology investments.