A New Era of Shopping In-Store: Digital Experiences Reshaping RetailWendy Wang
How Payment Tech is Transforming the In-Store Experience
The world of brick-and-mortar retail is more digital than ever before. Consumers are increasingly shopping online, as evidenced by the substantial rise in e-commerce and smartphone usage in recent years. To compete in this era of digital transformation, in-person retailers need to offer their customers personalized shopping experiences that provide greater convenience, comfort, and usability from the point they enter a store until they checkout. As e-commerce continues to grow in popularity, brick-and-mortar businesses have the opportunity to incorporate digital experiences that will improve customer service and allow them to compete with online retailers.
In order to effectively implement digital experiences in-store, businesses must find a payment processor that offers advanced features and the latest digital payment solutions. Consumers expect to be able to seamlessly move between channels and devices, pick up where they left off, and quickly complete transactions — whether they’re browsing online or in a store. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how merchants are taking a new approach to create an in-store shopping experience that reflects e-commerce checkout, thanks to the latest payment processing technology.
The Shift Towards Digital Shopping Experiences
For years, e-commerce has been the fastest-growing segment of retail sales. But, despite retailers’ heavy investment in it throughout 2021, it appears that many customers still prefer in-store shopping to online purchases. According to a recent survey, 39% of consumer survey respondents reported that they’d shop mostly in-store over the next six months compared to just 23% for e-commerce. Research shows that consumers still want to go to the store, but they want to do so in new and innovative ways. By combining the traditional store experience with digital tools, retailers can provide a better overall customer experience that’s more personalized, convenient, and relevant to their target markets — while competing better with e-commerce sales.
Shoppers are more sophisticated than ever and are looking for more personalized shopping experiences. Consumers want the same payment functionalities in-store that they can access online. For example, faster checkouts with digital wallet capabilities and mobile payments are a growing trend. Additionally, customers have gotten used to online product recommendations, product searches, and promotions that are now capable of being incorporated into physical storefronts.
Digital Experiences and Trends Shaping the In-Store Experience
What exactly are digital experiences? Digital experiences are all the ways in which a brand interacts with current or potential customers through technology. They can be created through several different tools such as websites, mobile apps, and social media channels — all with the goal of growing the business through increased sales and fostering new relationships. The most effective digital experiences focus on how a company can provide value to its customers by understanding what they need and delivering on those needs.
Major retailers are already ahead of the game when it comes to incorporating these experiences in-store. Nike has rolled out self-service ordering kiosks in its flagship stores, offering customers a unique opportunity to create and customize products that best reflect their style. These kiosks enable customers to order quickly, check product availability in real-time, and expedite their purchase via connection to the checkout desk. Customers can skip the line and use the “Instant Checkout” in their mobile app to pay for their purchase by scanning the barcode on a product. After paying for the purchase within the app, customers can simply walk out of the store with their purchased items.
Another example is Amazon’s new Amazon Go convenience stores and grocery stores popping up across the US. These stores allow customers to skip the checkout process altogether. When the shopper arrives, they scan their smartphone to get through a turnstile and start shopping. The store then automatically charges the customer’s Amazon account whenever they pick up items, with the help of sensors on shelves. When the customer is done shopping, they can just walk out — no need to wait in line at the register.
How Brick-and-Mortar Merchants Can Incorporate Digital Experiences
Digital experiences are changing the way consumers interact with brands. How retailers create and implement them will determine how well they stay ahead of the curve. Brick-and-mortar retailers are increasingly focused on digital transformation, with many looking to create an order processing flow similar to what consumers have come to expect from their online experiences. Businesses can use a variety of digital payment tools to elevate their in-store experience, including:
Mobile apps are becoming an integral part of the in-store experience, allowing customers to browse products online, place orders, and expedite the checkout process. With the rise of mobile applications, consumers have begun to prefer using their smartphones to fulfill every shopping need. These apps offer various features from product customization and inventory checks, to pre-ordering items and picking them up at your local store. As a result of this increased usage, customers are more likely to purchase additional items when they pick up an order. According to PYMTS, a recent study revealed that 47% of consumers who pick up their orders in-store buy additional products on that visit. The in-store experience is now enhanced by apps, which offer quick and seamless ways to purchase items. It allows customers to shop, right at their fingertips, with easy payment options, mobile ordering, and curbside pickup features.
Unattended Retail Devices
Unattended retail first saw a surge in demand as consumers sought out different ways to shop and pay during the pandemic. Now, this cashier-less model looks like it’s here to stay. According to a recent Reflect survey, 46% of respondents prefer a more DIY shopping experience with self-service options, and 83% believe informative digital screens would save them time during shopping trips. The growing demand for self-service payments has led to increased attention on the role of checkout design, as well as the payment solutions behind it. Unattended retail offers a compelling opportunity for retailers and brands to take advantage of consumer demands for more control, speed, and flexibility at checkout. Self-service kiosks and self-checkout machines are decreasing lines at the checkout while offering a slew of payment options. Customers can shop, order items available in the store, and pay using their preferred payment method all in one place.
Expanded Digital Payment Options
Modern shoppers demand frictionless, fast, and easy shopping experiences, as well as multiple payment options. Implementing mobile payment acceptance into your business can go a long way in providing flexibility and convenience for your customers. By accepting mobile wallets and contactless methods such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and cryptocurrency, businesses are allowing their customers to experience the convenience and security of navigating a mobile wallet without carrying around cash or plastic. PYMTS research reveals that 60 percent of consumers said they would be more willing to shop in stores if retailers allowed them to pay using digital payment technologies. Accepting these digital payment methods can provide consumers with additional flexibility when making purchases at their favorite businesses. Digital wallet acceptance can be easily integrated into your checkout, which is an ideal way to expand and diversify your payment mix.
QR Code Technology
QR codes are a simple and effective way to enhance the digital experience in-store. Through this technology, you can print out unique QR codes that can be displayed on your clients’ receipts or your point-of-sale devices so that customers can make payments easily. Customers simply scan the QR code with their mobile device and are redirected to a custom online payment form with pre-filled fields.
Integrated Payments to Digitize the In-Store Experience
Digital commerce continues to be an essential consideration for businesses across all industries. Businesses today are looking for more than just a payment processor to facilitate transaction processing — they need access to advanced tools that will overhaul checkout experiences. Fortunately, the best payment technology providers can offer comprehensive solutions that increase customer engagement, deliver seamless digital experiences, and help protect against fraud and risk.
Cardknox’s powerful payment technology offers premium features that allow merchants to optimize the in-store experience while keeping up with the evolving digital landscape. Our payment solutions are designed to enhance your customers’ in-store experience —our support for unattended retail devices, mobile wallet acceptance, and QR code capabilities put you in control of every point of sale interaction. Plus, as an omnichannel gateway, merchants who use our solution are able to offer secure payments across every touchpoint of their business—online or in-store. When you partner with Cardknox, you gain access to a broad range of innovative payment solutions and instantly acquire a complete digital ecosystem that’s easy to use, customizable, and scalable as your business grows. Contact us to learn more about our integrated processing platform that supports multiple channels and streamlines in-store transactions.