How Payments Can Ensure Merchants Offer the Full Shopping Experience?
Customers are more connected than ever before. Consequently, they expect retailers to offer a seamless multi-channel service. Payment providers that can securely facilitate this are an essential tool in the modern retail landscape.
There has been a definite shift away from the brand loyalty consumers used to demonstrate before the recession. We could potentially anticipate further challenges to discretionary consumer spending and subsequent brand loyalty in the approach to Brexit negotiations. For retailers, the best way to face economic headwinds is to make it easy for customers to keep spending.
This means taking a seamless approach to the customer experience. A seamless retail experience is all about ensuring the following elements work together for the benefit of customers:
Retail has gone through a substantial evolution over the past few years. The Internet continues to force merchants to adapt, with year-on-year growth of e-commerce continuing at a steady pace. Here are a few ways you can ensure customers can experience your brand seamlessly, across every channel.
Despite the steady growth in online sales, only 13.2% of retail purchases in the UK happen online or through smartphones. People still shop in stores. Some retailers are struggling, with others such as BHS going under, but that does not mean e-commerce has beat offline shopping. Brands with a physical and digital presence succeed when these channels complement one another and work together.
Make it easy for customers to order online whilst in-store, which is useful when some items are out of stock. Be mindful of the fact that customers check prices of competitors on smartphones whilst in-store, so focus on providing the best possible experience. It is also useful to provide in-store click and collect. Convenience and low delivery costs are valuable tools in the fight for brand loyalty.
Google knocks websites further down search results when they are not optimised for mobile traffic. Customers simply leave and rarely come back. This is one area retailers still struggle with; especially when it comes to ensuring checkouts are responsive and smooth on smaller screens.
Online retailers also miss other tricks that would ensure higher conversion rates. Carts are still abandoned at a shockingly high rate – around 68% – which means recapture tools, such as sending customers offers, are an effective way to reduce that figure.
Shopping is a leisure experience. Hence, the growing number of people who prefer to browse and make purchases on their smartphones and tablets. Search, social and email are the three main channels that direct customers to mobile shops. Focus on ensuring traffic is flowing through these at all times, either through organic activities (content marketing), advertising or a mix of both.
It is also useful to give customers the option to pay through smartphones in-stores when they have mWallets or apps that include an NFC-enabled payment platform. These are also great ways to send offers to customers, especially when they use public or shopping centre Wi-Fi. Numerous marketing tools make it easier to connect online with offline experiences, which means retailers can give customers the full experience, wherever they are.
A smooth, secure payment platform is at the heart of this. No matter how good a customer experience, if they can’t pay easily, they won’t be keen on coming back.
To find out how Secure Trading has helped high street womenswear brand Phase Eight with their online payments, download this case study.