The past two years have been full of adaptation, survival and rapid digital transformation across retail. A sector driven by the needs and expectations of consumers, the pandemic certainly acted as a catalyst to drive innovation, especially to the way in which merchants engage, entice and delight customers.
With greater digital transparency making it easy for customers to compare options, loyalty is limited. The modern-day customer is looking for more than just a product or service; they are looking for a hyper-personalised, convenient and meaningful shopping experience. Retail customers are becoming savvier and with the rise in click and collect, one-click purchases and same-day delivery, it is no surprise that customers expect greater choice and flexibility about how, when and where they shop.
As a merchant, it is about striking the right balance across your omni-channel retailing platforms to turn browsers into buyers and buyers into repeat customers. This transformation impacts the entire end-to-end retail experience, from responsive UI reflective of customer behaviour, through to payment options at the checkout. Merchants are no longer just the sellers of goods and services, but the provider of an immersive and tailored retail experience.
The new retail normal
Over the past five years shopping has become a much more blended experience, where online and offline merge to form a singular offering. Traditional retail will still exist, but even artisan bakeries and high-end, luxury fashion brands are adapting their offering to deliver an experience for the discerning digital market.
From online personal shoppers and augmented reality technology, through to ultra-convenient pick-up and delivery, customers are spoilt for choice. The landscape for retailers to attract and retain new customers is as competitive as it ever has been. The more retailers personalise and ramp up convenience, the more that becomes the ongoing expectation among consumers.
Although retail was headed in this direction before the global pandemic, many of the tools and technologies have emerged in response to keeping business going and this has only accelerated adoption and created a new normal for the way in which customers spend. Retailers need to be on top of their game, generating new ideas for customer engagement and with immense technology at your fingertips, there is no choice not to embrace digital evolution.
A made-to-measure online shopping experience
Personalisation has been an ongoing trend for many years. Once upon a time this was the stronghold of the in-store experience, people-focused and all about customer care. Yet, in a post-pandemic world, retailers have had to build greater personalisation into their online offering. From names in emails to tailored offers and point of sale promotions, personalisation is not a new trend, yet as the pandemic proved, personalisation can be deployed across the entire omni-channel customer journey through to payment and beyond.
Arguably, as digital spending increases merchants have even more data points and insights to tailor the shopping experience for your customers. However, with Google retiring the third-party online cookie, which brands have used to target advertising, and Apple increasing in-app privacy rules, it is becoming trickier to engage your customers with relevant content.
As a result, there is a strong push to boost first-party data pools in retail, to capture quality customer preference insight to fuel the made-to-measure, omni-channel retail experience that customers crave. Utilising loyalty schemes, newsletter sign-ups, competitions and transaction data, you can design an experience that delivers.
Every stage of the purchase journey can and should be tailored. Customers want and need to feel recognised.
At BR-DGE, we are supporting global brands to utilise data and insight from transactions to deliver a more personalised shopping experience. Through transaction data, you can not only build a picture of your customer personas and their payment preferences but start to see where new trends are forming and innovate quickly, adapting your checkout offering in an agile manner to address new customer demand.
Beyond hyper-personalisation is hyper-convenience
The discerning, modern-day consumer is not only looking for a tailored omni-channel experience, but a friction-free, safe and convenient journey through to parcel delivery. The advent of one-click payments and same-day delivery has exacerbated the need-it-now, no-time-to-wait mentality within the retail shopping experience, but it has also created a new level of trust between consumers and merchants.
Retailers are striving to find new ways to engage and deliver a seamless customer journey, both in-store and online. New technologies, such as in-store self-serve kiosks and checkout-free supermarkets are demonstrating a masterful blend of online and offline, to deliver greater convenience, speed and service. Customers can shop when they choose, how they choose and pay via their preferred payment method.
Convenience is not just about saving time. It is about providing an experience that is completely frictionless. With a wealth of choice, any form of interruption within the customer journey, from limited payment methods to having to enter your card information multiple times, could cause a customer to seek their purchase elsewhere.
From a payment perspective, platforms such as BR-DGE's payment orchestration platform, empowers retailers to take control of the payment in the customer journey, ensuring the workflow is resilient against card failures, outages and potential disruption. Through centralised tokenisation and adopting a robust, multi-acquirer strategy, retailers can ensure a convenient experience from research through to payment confirmation and delivery.
Customers are shopping on their terms
Pioneering successful omni-channel retail is about providing a seamless, personalised experience no matter the location, platform or way the customer chooses to engage in the buying journey. In order to compete, merchants need all facets of their customer-facing armoury to be working in complete harmony.
At BR-DGE we understand that payments sit at the heart of the customer transaction and that it is crucial that merchants have a flexible and agile solution to adapt to customer demand, deliver friction-free convenience and can tailor the offering to suit each individual looking to buy.
For more information on payment orchestration and how BR-DGE can support you in delivering a tailored, friction-free omni-channel retail experience, contact our team today.