How to Win the Post-Channel Retail Experience Through Mobile Payments

How to Win the Post-Channel Retail Experience Through Mobile Payments

It’s time to stop breaking the retail experience down into channels. For the past decade, we’ve been talking about omnichannel retail–– i.e. the customer’s ability to shop and make a purchase on every platform. But now it’s time to start talking about the post-channel retail experience and how to create it for customers. Consumers no longer think of shopping in terms of the channel, they think about it in terms of the retailer. This is why companies with strong omnichannel engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, compared to a measly 33% retention rate for companies with a weak omnichannel game. 

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Retailers that take a customer-centric approach by finding creative ways to integrate their physical, digital, and mobile strategies are best positioned to compete in the new channel-less retail landscape. It all comes down to saving customers’ valuable time and energy. Whether it’s by letting them order in-app and pick-up in-store, remembering their purchasing history (and suggesting complimentary items), real-time inventory updates, or implementing mobile payments, there are plenty of strategies to help your retail business stand out in the new “phydigital” landscape. 

Phydigital App Integration

It’s getting easier for retailers to get customers to download their apps. More than 7 in 10 mobile app users now say that they sometimes use a retailer’s app when shopping in-store. However, for these app downloads to have staying power, the retailer’s in-app experience needs to be fully integrated with their physical stores––be it through BOPIS, giving customers access to salient product info, letting them tap into an online community with product reviews, or giving them exclusive access to coupons on in-store merchandise. 

Retailers are catching onto the new normal of in-store app usage… and investing accordingly. In fact, 50% of retailers say that mobile shopping is one of their top priorities, while 61% of retailers say that enabling BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store), as well as BORIS (buy online, return in store) are at the top of their list when it comes to mobile app development. 

So, what retailer is killing it at the phydigital game? Target’s app gives customers access to a bevy of exclusive deals and discounts, while also letting customers use the app to map out their shopping list (aisle-by-aisle) and even see if the items they want are on sale in-store! It also facilitates BOPIS and curbside pickup, creating a truly competitive channel-less shopping journey. Starbucks has a similarly competitive mobile offering that takes things up a notch by letting customers use a Shazam-like function to identify specific songs that are playing in-store.

Digital Supply Networks

It’s not just retailer’s apps that need to be optimized to facilitate a phydigital experience. The fashion cycle is shortening and, to remain competitive, retailer’s supply chains need to be optimized to enable real-time inventory updates. Customers now expect to know what products are in store and where they can get them before they ever leave the house. To provide this, retailers need a supply chain management system that provides total inventory transparency. But don’t just take my word for it: Deloitte suggests that to meet consumers’ expectations for a channel-less shopping journey, retailers need to shift from traditional to digital supply networks. 

“These technologies,” Deloitte reports, “including sensors, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and cognitive computing, create the foundation for analytics and a conversion between the physical world and the digital worlds, transforming traditional, linear supply chains into connected, intelligent, scalable, customizable, and nimble supply networks.”

Retailers will need to follow Target’s lead by creating reactive supply chains with real-time updates. Live updates allow for the channel-less, in-the-moment inventory transparency that customers have come to demand. It gives customers the security of knowing that they’ll never need to head to the store to pick up an item that is no longer in stock. 

BOPIS is the New Roman Colosseum 

Many of the technologies we focus on when discussing the post-channel retail experience save customers time in-store by creating a seamless digital shopping journey. It’s impossible to talk about this without mentioning the BOPIS phenomenon. BOPIS usage has grown by 40.9%, and consumers are 20% more likely to convert with retailers who offer BOPIS over those that don’t. The reason for this? BOPIS lets customers do their in-store shopping remotely, while still having the same environmental benefits––decreased packaging, fuel use, etc.––of shopping at a physical store. 

Although BOPIS is arguably the retail differentiator of the decade, it can be challenging to implement, since it calls for retailers to completely revolutionize their supply chains and, in some cases, to hire new staff. BOPIS requires a retailer to have an app, real-time inventory visibility, staff to do the shopping (as well as curbside or in-store pick-up), and more. Nobody said it would be easy, but the cold, hard truth is that BOPIS will soon become table stakes for retailers of all sizes. 

However, the implications of digital-first retailing extend far beyond real-time inventory updates and parcel pick-up. The digital revolution also has big implications for the payments industry––giving retailers the ability to reduce line wait times through the strategic implementation of mobile card readers.

Mobile Sensors Replace EMV

Mobile payments are another hot-ticket retail technology that’s being adopted to save customers time in-store. Instead of requiring customers to fumble in their bags for their credit or debit cards, mobile payment options simply require customers to pull up an app and hold it up to the sensor to pay for goods.

Yet the benefits of mobile payment processing (also called contactless payments) go beyond expediting the checkout process and reducing line wait times. Mobile sensors are also significantly more secure than traditional swipe or EMV chip card transactions. Perhaps this is why Statista estimates that by 2023 there will be 1.31 billion mobile payment transaction users worldwide, up from 950 million in 2019. 

From mobile payments to real-time inventory management systems, there are plenty of ways for retailers to create a channel-less shopping experience in 2020. It all comes down to working with the right solution providers to save customers time and money. Payment Depot helps save an average of $400 a month on payment processing for retailers, so you can conserve resources to spend them on things that matter––like creating a completely seamless phydigital retail experience. 

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