Interview: Myles Dawson, UK Country Manager, Adyen
Flawed customer experiences are costing British retailers dear, but many are adapting to rapidly changing times. RTIH discusses the journey to omnichannel with Myles Dawson, UK Country Manager, Adyen.
RTIH: Adyen has been doing a lot of work recently around the pounds lost due to poor in-store experience. What are the key areas that retailers need to address?
MD: Technology is constantly pushing the boundaries of how we shop, and customer expectations are changing fast. Successful retailers are adapting to meet these new demands, while those failing to evolve are suffering.
Price wars simply won’t cut it; there will always be a cheaper alternative somewhere else. The real battleground is customer experience. There are huge opportunities for retailers to differentiate themselves by addressing simple pain-points like queuing, running out of stock and enabling customers to pay using their preferred methods.
Our research showed that queues alone are costing UK retailers up to £11 billion a year in missed revenue. The customer experience bar is set high and retailers need to harness the combined strength of their online and offline channels to deliver the unified experience that shoppers desire.
By connecting different shopping channels seamlessly, customers are able to browse items ahead of visiting a physical store, or make a purchase online or by mobile, after seeing an item while browsing the High Street. When it comes to finally closing that sale, customers should be able to pay quickly and easily, using their preferred payment method.
RTIH: How can retailers best tackle these areas?
MD: Out-of-stock items are still one of the biggest frustrations for shoppers when visiting a physical store. By creating an endless aisle, through linking the stores with the e-commerce channels, retailers can help shoppers avoid disappointment by enabling them to access online stock when something might be out of their size, or desired colour.
A further option is to enable shoppers to check stock levels in-store before they head out on their journey. Our research revealed that over half (51%) of UK consumers would see this as an enhancement to their in-store experience.
This highlights the vital role that physical stores still have to play in retail, and how the experience can be further enhanced through integration with digital and online channels. For instance, the same research showed that after experiencing a long queue in store, only 22% of British consumers would consider returning at a later date or make a purchase on another channel. This demonstrates the importance of delivering a seamless in-store shopping experience that encourages customer loyalty, and helps drive revenue.
"Price wars simply won’t cut it; there will always be a cheaper alternative somewhere else. The real battleground is customer experience"
RTIH: In terms of payment options in-store, how is the retail sector as a whole performing? Is it keeping pace with shoppers’ expectations?
MD: Retailers of all shapes and sizes should deliver a payment experience that keeps pace or outpaces shopper expectations. Consumers expect a slick experience from the moment they walk into the store to the moment they walk out with their goods. They want to be offered the choice in how they shop and pay for goods.
By altering the experience in-store, retailers can deliver this freedom to their customers. For example, Adyen’s own research has shown that 48% of UK consumers would like retailers to save their payment details on file to speed up the checkout process. What’s more, if all payment data feeds into the same system, it can provide rich insights into shopping behaviours and identify trends to help further tailor customer experiences.
For example, domestic vs international payment methods are a strong indicator of whether shoppers are indeed local or if they are tourists from overseas. Knowing this will ensure retailers cater to the tastes of their most loyal shoppers. If in-store shoppers are Chinese tourists, for example, retailers should consider supporting Alipay, UnionPay and WeChat Pay in-store.
Not only does this boost the chances of a completed transaction, it also helps to deliver on that personalised customer experience.
RTIH: What’s next for omnichannel payment tech?
MD: There's been a lot written about omnichannel retail strategies and how to serve omnichannel shoppers. But for many retailers, the journey to omnichannel feels like a huge task. A good first step to connecting their online and offline channels is to implement a payment platform that can manage all customer payments seamlessly.
Establishing a single payment platform means that customers can refund ecommerce orders in-store, or in-store purchases can be linked to a customer’s digital account automatically. Customers can also use saved cards on their devices to enhance mobility in the checkout. This creates an experience that meets the demands of today’s customer and increases the likelihood of repeat business; encouraging more loyal shoppers.
After all, poor in-store retail experiences can influence a customer’s decision to return or shop on other channels. As our latest research showed, only 22% of UK consumers would return to a store later or make a purchase on another channel after experiencing long queues in-store.
Download Adyen’s 2019 Retail Report here.