There is no doubt that the quick service restaurant (QSR) industry took a huge hit during 2020 and 2021, as COVID-19 saw complete closures and the sudden need to shift all or most of sales online and those that stayed open had to adapt to social distancing and contactless payments.
In an increasingly faster and changing society, key drivers to customer satisfaction are convenience, speed and efficiency.
In grocery retail, the old model of online versus offline is no longer a relevant distinction. This is because today’s connected consumers shop for their groceries in an entirely different way, as they feel they should no longer be impeded by the limitations of any touchpoint. After all, while shopping for products and services, consumers do not think about channels, they simply expect a smooth buying experience.
Making predictions for the year to come is difficult at the best of times. 2020 has been proof of that as we entered unchartered territory across a year that will be remembered for the COVID-19 pandemic, its impact on commerce, and the way we pay for goods and services.
Long before the days of COVID-19, shopping in-store had ceased to be a stand-alone experience. Online retail had been rapidly evolving to sit alongside it, creating an omnichannel environment that combines the digital and the physical. However, since UK-wide lockdown and restrictions on movement took effect earlier this year, online retail has shot through the roof – increasing to an unprecedented 2.34 billion by June 2020 - meaning that customers are much more adept at navigating ecommerce stores and combining the two experiences.
Increasingly, as the consumer experience moves online, convenience is becoming the number one priority. Not only can consumers shop from the comfort of their homes, but they can have products delivered within days, and sometimes even on the same day.
Due to this, when consumers purchase in-store, they do not then want to be faced with the frustration of queueing, or a payment process that goes on far longer than is deemed necessary. Customers can be put off completing a transaction simply by having to fish out a card to type a series of numbers (pin code) into a payment terminal. The introduction of innovations such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay have made this even more so, with customers’ devices memorising payment details for them, and acting as a contactless card.
As a result, in order to remain competitive and ensure conversions in this fast-paced modern world, retailers are tasked with providing a frictionless experience. But that’s not all. As digital payments systems have developed, so too have data regulations, adding another consideration to merchants’ plates – providing a seamless system without sacrificing security.
Many business owners are notoriously pushed for time, often taking on a multitude of tasks and duties. Dependant on size, this can include running the marketing department, organising logistics, and ensuring the best customer service is being delivered, all at the same time. Unsurprisingly, with so many different facets of a company to be managing, payments processing is not always at the forefront of merchants’ minds. But the fact is it should be, as optimising payments is an essential component in many aspects of the business journey and it should not be overlooked.
By optimising payments, you have the power to create a profoundly positive effect on the user experience (UX), transaction conversion, and provide merchants with crucial data to improve their operations. What’s more it can also enable merchants to monitor their costs efficiently, if they work with the most competitive acquirer for each payment method used by consumers.
Ignoring payments optimisation risks not only alienating and losing customers but also inefficient management of their costs by missing important savings on acquiring fees.