It’s no secret that the ecommerce industry is in a constant state of transformation, as digitally savvy shoppers continue to expect more and more from brands and retailers. Whilst it’s true that the UK remains a global leader when it comes to online shopping, we’re seeing that our favourite brands and retailers need to go beyond interacting with their customers in just one place.
Indeed, as mobile and connected payments increasingly become part of our daily lives, empowering us to take control of how we shop and pay for goods, it’s clear that as customers we are now buying from a variety of different platforms vs just their online stores.
Customers are interacting with an array of different channels from messaging apps to chat bots when buying goods, and so retailers need to keep up with their customers’ demands to increase their revenue. Recently, a UK grocery chain launched a fully-automated messenger chatbot to help customers select the best wine for their meal. The chatbot used natural language understanding (NLU) technology and intelligent assistant platform to provide a near life-like experience for their shoppers. Personalisation is key to being able to keep up with customer demands and we see more and more retailers personalising their customer journey.
To serve today’s consumers, who have the world at their fingertips, flexibility is key. As empowered consumer study shows, today’s consumers are in control, and they’re more informed than ever – impatience and high expectations are the norm in our interactions with retailers and their websites and/or apps. Whether it’s a transaction notification, arranging a taxi or providing the functionality to buy straight from within messaging apps, transactions need to meet customer expectations and take place in the context where people are already spending their time.
In this way, retailers must be active and present in the platforms consumers live on – they need to anticipate consumer behaviour and be able to adapt to our channel preferences. Regardless of where customers are situated, be that in a brick and mortar shop, browsing at home or on the go, quality of experience and consistency regardless of channel is critical.
We know that today’s consumers have higher expectations, lower patience and have access to more payment options than before. As digital tools continue to integrate themselves into every aspect of our lives, we’re seeing a growing frustration towards roadblocks.
If customers cannot dictate how, where, when and with what they buy, this inevitably prevents purchases and will often see them turn to a competitor who meets those needs. It’s about making payments easier, quicker and more intuitive and we’re seeing great success from those organisations that make the most of the technology that consumers use in more innovative and personalised ways.
Take Pinterest for example, who anticipated the rise of omni-channel commerce a few years ago. By meeting consumers where they were already present looking for inspiration for things, we were able to help the end merchants secure more purchases from consumers by allowing the consumers to find what they were looking for, buy the product through a slick checkout interface on the search platform they were already using.
A win for the consumer as a better, less disjointed purchase journey, a win for the end merchants as more sales converted, and a win for Pinterest due to the consumer loyalty it engendered. This was a major step in the evolution of mobile commerce and one which merchants can capitalise on.
We live in an age where customer experience has become a key differentiator in the retail sector and offering flexible, tailored purchasing journeys across multiple platforms is the key to success. Not only do streamlined processes ensure retailers achieve their goals, they also give merchants the opportunity to understand their customers better.
David Nunn is responsible for Braintree’s growth across Europe. Braintree, a PayPal company, is an industry leading online and mobile full service payments platform powering the best-in-class next-generation purchasing experiences globally.