In the past few years, innovation, speed and agility have increasingly become the watchwords for merchants. During this time they have seen consumers’ purchasing behaviour change as the lines between in-store, online and mobile shopping have blurred. And at the same time they have gone through their own digital transformation, upgrading the front office to enable these new customer experiences and also updating the back office, to manage inventory, accounting and other business services on a daily basis.
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.
For decades, research and industry voices have been drawing attention to the inevitable move towards a cashless society. Even before COVID-19 hit, cash transactions in the UK accounted for only 23% of all payments in 2019. However, no one could have predicted the mass adoption of digital technologies spurred on by the pandemic last year.
Payments are essential to every business, but they are not all that meets the eye on a day-to-day basis. Behind every transaction there are multiple players working tirelessly to ensure payments are being made quickly, correctly, and securely. However, as is often the case with so many moving parts, there remains the possibility of error and/or additional time added to the transaction, leaving the customer with a poor experience and make them potentially less likely to return. Additionally, multiple failed transactions can ultimately prove costly for retailers over time.
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.