A return of physical retail in a recognizable form depends on how people feel. At present there’s a guarded optimism going around, but it’s delicate and could easily be lost.
Intellectually understanding that “something’s different” isn’t the same as dealing with that feeling. The Anatomy Of A Consumer Payment Playbook done in collaboration with FIS notes that, “Reassuring customers that physical stores are safe is fast becoming critical to keeping their trust. One recent study found that 29 percent of consumers would stop shopping at retailers that did not integrate public health or safety measures while 94 percent claimed they would shop at those performing well in the health safety arena.”
Contactless payments and QR codes are making it possible, but merchants need a strategy to leverage the momentum behind payments choice, especially as holiday gifting time looms.
Personalization In The Picture
Part of the issue revolves around controlling friction of every kind, from transactions to being able to pay for things during a decadent mall crawl in a new seamless ways, regardless of what store the consumer is in or what method of payment they wish to use.
“Consumers’ buying habits have shifted as retailers face new rules and restrictions, with each side adapting to brick-and-mortar store closures or reconfigurations as well as increased online variety and competition,” per the Playbook. “This trend means it is crucial to present multiple options to customers so they can mix and match how they shop and make purchases as they go.”
It’s an urgent matter, with winter gifting season coming up. And this year will be decisive.
“Retailers can stand out by crafting personalized customer experiences,” the Playbook states, “especially where payments are concerned. Forty-nine percent of consumers claimed they would be more likely to buy from merchants that sent them tailored offers or rewards, for example. Another 50 percent of shoppers want to make their holiday purchases online and pick them up at physical store locations. These findings indicate that offering omnichannel experiences is likely to make consumers more interested in retailers’ offerings.”
Payments Pivot To ‘Meet The Moment’
It’s a weird new world to be sure, but the upcoming selling season can still be a good one for merchants and partners that are ready for the retail crush, wherever it’s happening.
“Businesses have had to rethink their strategies, including how to deliver a smarter payments experience that accommodates their customers. This means reinventing an online selling strategy to reduce friction at checkout and enabling features like buy online, pickup in store. It means providing safeguard measures like contactless payments terminals in store to minimize physical interactions,” Dan Brames, head of North America and international merchant services at FIS, told PYMNTS.
“Many merchants have also found new success wading into novel channels, like selling on social media platforms. While these trends are not new, what was once a slow-moving force is now a swelling tide in consumer behavior, and the most successful businesses will be the ones pivoting to meet the moment,” Brames said.