Omnichannel & Personalisation: Appealing to Consumers With no Clear Shopping Pattern

Retail has seen growth spurts and growing pains.

No one has felt this more than high street retailers under constant pressure to innovate and remain relevant while the world moves to clicks. 

In the online retail space, conglomerates like Amazon are building their retail empires in ways we’ve never seen before, mounting pressure for businesses everywhere, and posing questions for those who operate over multiple points of sale.

However, this isn’t a tech or payments revolution that we’re witnessing, but a shopping revolution.

Consumers are consistently blurring the lines between online and offline shopping while also looking for a consistent brand experience. Salesforce’s State of the Connected Consumer reports that 70% of shoppers say that new technology (read: the smartphone) has made it easier for them to switch from one brand to another - over different channels - until they find an experience that matches their expectations.

The same report tells us that 72% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. These expectations include being heard, understood and remembered.

We live in an age of Big Data. But tracking, predicting and understanding buyer behaviour to meet these expectations can feel like an uphill struggle for many businesses.

With shoppers jumping from one channel to another, how do you appeal to customers with no clear shopping pattern? It comes down to two points: personalisation and omnichannel.

Cross-channel personalisation: Let’s not forget brick-and-mortar

Brick-and-mortar stores are finding their new place in the world. The instore experience has been given new life through the multichannel and omnichannel shopping models, and smart businesses are harnessing it.

At the moment, our favourite stores aren’t going anywhere. But you’ve only to look further afield in other markets to see that even the most popular high street brands can take an untimely bow. Many UK shoppers, for example, are mourning the loss of their local House of Fraser - a historic and popular brand that has had a turbulent relationship with high street and online consumption.

Appealing to today’s shopper means appealing to them offline and online.

While 65% of Australians shop online, the cross-channel numbers are interesting: figures from KPMG’s 2017 Global Online Consumer Report indicate that 44% of Australian’s made their last online purchase from a traditional retailer’s online store while only 35% purchased from an online-only retailer. This is way below the global average of 50%, indicating that many Australians still value the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. In Australia and especially across the sea in the US, it’s long live the brick-and-mortar store. Good news!

Personalised payments for the connected customer

Personalisation in the retail industry is mot du jour.

Personalised shopping tactics have dramatically changed the way consumers engage with retailers but many brands are really only scratching the surface, or are just focusing on creating personalised user experiences across one channel, and not another.

According to Gartner Research, by 2018, businesses that have fully invested in all types of online personalisation will outsell companies that have not engaged in personalisation by more than 30%.

As the shopping revolution continues to evolve, it means that retailers will need to look at ways they can offer shoppers something a little different – something individualised.

Why? Because individualised experiences encourage purchase. Brands like Adidas are leading the charge: they recently developed a mobile app that customises content, products and interactions based on customer preferences. Preference data is collated through the brand’s various digital engagement points. The app features unique product recommendations as well as colour preferences, personalised articles and real-time sport updates. It also integrates with Apple Pay and Android Pay to enable fingerprint payments.

Joseph Godsey, Head of Adidas’ Digital Brand Commerce comments: “The new app helps us connect and create direct relationships with our consumers…while also offering the products and services they really want and need, when and where they want them."

You’ll need personalised marketing data – but you’re likely to get it

Data helps businesses deliver a human touch and opens up a wealth of possibilities.

Consumers want more personalised marketing. And by now, they understand that this means parting with some of their data. Salesforce’s State of the Connected Consumer report found that 63% of Millennial consumers and 58% of GenX consumers are willing to share data with companies in exchange for personalised offers and discounts. If personal data results in a better shopping experience – saving time and money – then it might seem like a small price to pay.

Personalising the omnichannel shopping experience

About personalisation and the shopping experience Sheryl Kingstone, Research Director of Business Applications at 451 Research comments: “Price and products are no longer enough. Organizations can digitally transform their businesses to best attract, win, retain and support customers by leveraging the latest applications, analytics and infrastructure to deliver a differentiated experience that is not a luxury, but a necessity to survive.”

Consumers don’t live in one channel, and retailers don’t either. Although many businesses will see their different payment channels as individual silos that need managing separately – even as different business units – consumers just see the one brand experience. Creating brand consistency over your channels is encouraged: that’s everything from the messaging, to the look and feel over web, mobile and tablet and of course the shopping experience itself.

In an omnichannel world, your channels are seamlessly connected, offering your customer a single, unique experience across multiple touchpoints.

Offering a personalised shopping across multiple channels is about meeting those customer expectations:

  • Offer a service that improves customer experience across your channels. This involves understanding your customer’s story, as well as their purchasing history and is a data-driven approach.
  • Tailor your approach – and pay attention to what device your customer is using. Many brands and retailers rely on adapting existing content to alter their messages by different device. But devices are used in different ways and what renders perfectly on desktop might be truncated on mobile.
  • Omnichannel personalisation isn’t just about path to purchase. When it comes to payment, it’s important to ensure that each channel offers a wide variety of payment options. This can span from traditional card payments to digital wallets.

Meeting customer expectations also solves a lot of customer pain points and when implemented correctly can help attract customers, drive sales and foster loyalty.

The ability to empower the customer

51% of consumers expect that by 2020 companies will anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before they make contact.

2020 isn’t so far away! Data-driven payments led by personalisation, under the omnichannel umbrella, will enable businesses to offer customers exactly what they want, wherever they want and however they want. If you’re keen to learn more about omnichannel payments, or personalisation, get in touch with one of the Bambora team today.

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About the author: Victoria Galloway is Bambora APAC's Technical Copywriter, and has been writing and producing in the payments and eCommerce space for a number of years, both in the UK and Australia

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