Australians have long been considered a traditional group and for good reason. Neighbours recently entered its 35th TV season and the Tim Tam is still the nation’s favourite biscuit.
But in the retail sector this love affair with tradition is no more, replaced by a thirst for new and innovative experiences.
Recent 451 Research, commissioned by Adyen, titled ‘the APAC Unified Commerce Market Guide’, has uncovered deeper insights into the modern Australian shopper and the fundamental demands they carry when engaging with retailers.
These unique shopping demands are best categorised by three distinct groupings.Termed the “Three C’s”; Convenience, Context and Control,they now form the three critical pillars to best increase Australian consumers in-store shopping.
It is no secret Australian consumers are driven by a need for speed. The modern shopping experience is one that should be fast and easy. As retailers look at reducing the speed of transaction however, the key barrier continues to be the dreaded queue.
The APAC Unified Commerce Market Guiderevealed 73 percent of Australian respondents decided against purchasing an item simply because the queue was too long. In fact, long lines in-store were responsible for a staggering $12.52bn AUD in total losses last year.
Queue-busting systems like mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) or self-checkout kiosks are an easy solution to this problem. Nearly half (45 percent) of those surveyed said a self-checkout experience would directly improve their in-store payment experience.
Having these platforms in place allows customers to instantly check-out anywhere on the shop floor and meets the demand for speed and convenience head on.
Retailers are starting to take note of the importance of a seamless customer experience and the need to unify this experience across the different channels available.
By combining your payment provider for both e-commerce and in-store, a retailer can transform otherwise disparate departments into a functional whole.
The reality is that the consumer, store relationship is no longer simply transactional. Customers connect with a business along a more complex journey, traversing both digital and physical experiences that bring many twists and turns along the way.
For example, a customer journey may begin on social media and move to a web page to further browse for products, ending with an in-store visit to try and buy.
These are what we characterise as micro-moments, and they are increasingly impossible to plan for. The new challenge is to reach shoppers wherever they are and make sure each new step of the journey blends together seamlessly.
Take for example that 53 percent of Australian respondents said that the ability to check online if an item is available in-store would increase their loyalty to that retailer. Australian shoppers crave tailored experience, one that keeps personalisation front of mind and is not handcuffed by the fact a product is online or in-store. Effective personalisation uses the power of data to offer shoppers one-click checkouts online and recognise their spending journey across sales channels to tailor future offerings.
Another answer is an investment into new and emerging technologies, incorporating in-store interfaces like voice-activated speakers or chat bots to act as store assistants. Half (50%) of Australian respondents stated they would increase shopping frequency online if they could receive product recommendations and make purchases with a chatbot.
The future of customer experience will increasingly rely on things like automation and machine learning to help personalise interactions with customers. Conversational technologies make for a store associate, contact centre, support staff, marketer and data analyst in one package and can drive effective collaboration between ecommerce and in-store operations.
Finally, control is the third crucial component. Consumers want to interact and engage on their own terms and this makes product availability and transparency critical as shoppers expect a sense of ownership throughout the retail experience.
53 percent of Australian shoppers said they would shop at a specific location if they could purchase out-of-stock items and have them delivered to their house. We want full control of our purchase decisions, and not being told no is a big part of this.
This also means giving shoppers control of their payment method.
A store’s capacity to accept preferred payment methods seems insignificant, but an inability to do so can be the ultimate conversion killer. It is an increasingly important area where retailers have room to grow.
One in five Australians have encountered retailers who could not offer their preferred payment method and it is a number that will continue to grow as technology advances. It is important to remember an opportunity lost is an opportunity cost.While alternative payment methods like digital wallets may not dominate everyday choices for Australian shoppers (digital wallets constitute just 12%), the ability to accommodate them remains a top priority for retailers.
Consumer demand for convenience, context, and control will only increase which means retailers must continue to evaluate how they serve their customers across the shopping journey. No longer can retailers rely on price alone to build shopper’s loyalty. To truly win over Australian shoppers, while avoiding lost sales and drive greater revenue, retailers need to focus on delivering experiences that blend these elements.
Michel van Aalten is Country Manager of Adyen ANZ.