With rising interest rates leading to cost-of-living pressures, during this peak season for retail in the lead up to Christmas, it’s expected that shoppers will be even keener than usual to seek out a deal.
Consequently, they may not be inclined to linger as long in a store or on a website. This will place a greater emphasis on retailers to ensure that when they do have a customer’s attention, they provide them with the most seamless and convenient shopping experience possible to convert more of those visits into sales.
To drive sales conversation rates this peak season, businesses need to understand the latest trends in customer behaviour.
From channel-less shopping and contactless payment methods to personalised shopping and social commerce, shopper habits and attitudes are changing in a multitude of unexpected ways. According to Adyen’s 2022-23 Australian Peak Season Guide, even existing customers are demonstrating new purchasing behaviours.
The latest trends in shopper behaviour
Convenience is king. Key to this is the unification of the online and in-store shopping experience, with services such as click-and-collect, cross-channel returns, and endless aisle, which gives in-store shoppers an opportunity to browse items that are not available in that physical store but can be ordered in-store and delivered straight to their home.
This requires a unified omnichannel strategy to ensure that each of your customer touchpoints are integrated and no siloes exist, so that customer data is shared across your platform, instead of requiring customers to provide their personal or payment details at each point of your business they interact with, whether online or in-store.
We recently conducted a research survey of over 10,000 businesses from 23 markets, including 2,504 from APAC (Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore) and 40,000 consumers from 26 markets, including 9,005 from APAC, as part of the Adyen Australia 2022 Retail Report.
53 percent of Australian consumers surveyed said they were more loyal to retailers who offered the option to purchase items online and return them in store.
They don’t tolerate poor shopping experiences either, with 66 percent saying they’d not return to a physical or online store where they previously had a bad experience.
An important aspect of omnichannel is the ability it provides to offer another service that customers are increasingly expecting, and one which contributes significantly to a good shopping experience – personalisation.
Remembering your customers’ preferences and previous shopping behaviours enables a retailer to offer a more tailored shopping experience whilst building customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Social commerce is also growing in significance as an enabler of good shopping experiences, by making the customer journey from seeing a product on one of the retailer’s social channels, to buying that product and having it in their possession, a seamless one.
Customer demand for contactless and touch-free payments has also increased, not only due to the pandemic, but also the speed and ease of transaction it facilitates.
How businesses can create the ultimate customer journey
The key to this is the provision of a consistent customer engagement experience across all your channels. Remember that customers don’t see channels, they see your brand, and they expect to have the same high level of shopping experience regardless of where in your channel they happen to engage with you. It’s about putting shoppers first and enabling them to purchase and return goods from any of your sales channels, without any degradation in service. Use tech to ease customer engagement with rewards programs and access special offers.
How to boost and optimise sales conversions online
Optimising your online checkout page, so that the steps required to complete the purchase are minimised, helps to reduce cart abandonment. Also, test to ensure that your checkout system works on all devices.
Providing as many options for shoppers to pay is also important, as this will avoid the scenario of a customer not completing a purchase because their preferred payment method is unavailable.
Enriching the in-store experiences and keeping queues short
As we all know, during the festive period, the lines for checkouts can be very lengthy. By using devices such as mobile POS terminals, sales staff can engage with customers and enable them to check out without having to wait, again removing the risk of a time-poor shopper abandoning a purchase.
Self-service checkouts also help to ease the process of completing a purchase for customers.
Ultimately, by enhancing their customer engagement and sales processes, retailers will give themselves the best opportunity of enjoying a bumper festive trade.
Hayley Fisher is country manager for Australia & New Zealand at Adyen.