As the 2020s just began, retail was rapidly set on the brink of dramatic changes in the face of new virus that gave a new tone to the entire world, changing everything around us.
Besides health and economic challenges, technological innovations are radically altering the Retail industry.
The future of retail is digital―and the future is now.
In the current situation provoked by the coronavirus pandemic, digital pioneers are clearly set to make it through the crisis while boosting their attractiveness in the fight to win and keep customers.
The findings of an exclusive survey performed by Wirecards Labs reveal that more and more people around the globe are open to radically new payment methods. They’re excited about approaches like mobile self-checkout and payment authorization by fingerprint or voice commands. While making shopping easier, these innovations turn it into a real experience.
“Retail will change more in the next 5 years than it has in the last 50” said Jörn Leogrande, EVP of Wirecard Labs.
The retail industry continues to evolve, with digital innovations offering brand new potential for businesses—online and in store. Four main areas will play a major role in the next era of retail: mobile tech, retail solutions, innovations for convenience, and new ways to use data.
1. Mobile Tech
Mobile is already becoming well established in the market. Customers are relying more and more on smartphones to shop online or as personal shop assistants in store. Mobile payment at the point of sale (POS) is rapidly growing in adoption.
As for in China customers are either already using or are interested in using their mobile phone to check out in store for large ticket items, the customers in the US declared they would be very interested to see it implemented and are waiting for this technology to come.
There is a lot of interest in new ways to use a mobile in store. For example the use of an app to purchase products without needing to go to the checkout and payment via QR code is already being used by over 20% of Chinese people.
Mobile wallets in a few numbers: 47% of consumers globally use mobile wallets as a payment method while 54% would like to see the technology or experience implemented or improved.
2. Experience-enhancing Retail Solutions
Experience-enhancing technologies for retail are on the rise, offering customers many more options to find product information, try before buying, and speed up the shopping process. Biometric payment that uses fingerprint, hand, or facial recognition is growing in interest, offering a way to pay online or in store with next-level cashless convenience.
3 Major Trends are driving increased customer experience:
a. Smart in-store tech
Customers are interested in experience-enhancing tech such as Smart Mirror to ask for extra items or information. Unmanned stores appear popular too, offering a high-tech, sensor-based answer to a faster purchasing experience.
b. At-home customer experience
Advanced tech enables customer experience to be extended to e-commerce such as with virtual reality for a try-before-you-buy approach. The majority of respondents to the survey declared to be “very interested” in using VR to try on clothing, especially in Brazil, China, and the US.
c. Biometric payment
There is significant willingness for biometric payment technology. Most countries are likely to use if not already using fingerprint or hand scans to confirm payment. Facial recognition for payment is less popular but still significant, especially in China.
3. Innovations for convenience
Convenience is still one of the main drivers in consumers’ interests. The survey performed by Wirecard found many respondents interested in, or already using retail technology that is integrated into their home, office spaces, or cars.
– Smart appliances. The idea of a smart device or appliance, such as a fridge reordering groceries that are low on stock, is popular all over. Automated commerce is likely to increase in popularity in homes all over the world.
– In-car purchases. Shopping while driving is even a plausible scenario according to results of the Wirecard survey. A large portion of respondents are “likely” to use the option to shop for goods or services safely while driving in their car (Chinese consumers in particular).
– Smart speakers: many customers are open to voice recognition to confirm payment such as with smart speakers on a home device.
4. Data Science
Data will remain decisive in attracting and retaining customers. Customers appear to be more open to sharing data if it means they can gain a convenient way to shop in return. An exciting innovative approach to retail, however, is data as a currency. Consumers could actually start to bargain personal data in exchange for goods, opening up new territory for retail.
• 47% are ready to use super-innovative solutions like brain scanning
• 36% is the declared willingness of consumers to offer photographs or chat conversations as payment
• 52% likeliness of consumers exchanging fitness/health data for goods and services
Customers appear to be more willing than ever to adopt tech into the retail experience. The results show that the road ahead for retail will involve smart tech, well integrated into a consumer’s daily life. Merchants and retailers can benefit from technologies in multiple ways. On the one hand, there are more options to satisfy customers with boosted convenience and a faster customer journey—much of this relying on innovative payment methods.
At the same time, labor resources can be minimized with the use of self-service technologies. Customers are ready to start taking advantage of technologies such as self-checkout, mobile payment, smart devices in the home, and some are even opening up to the idea of data as a currency.
Now is the time for retailers to use retail and payment solutions creatively to level up the customer experience and keep up with consumer demands!
The report, “Retail 2020: The Road Ahead”, Wirecard Labs presents key findings from a survey of consumers in seven global markets: Brazil, China, Germany, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, UK, and USA. Based on the answers of 5000 consumers between the ages of 18 and 44, the insights showed changing customer attitudes towards retail and technology—significant for merchants wanting
to keep pace with global consumers.