A new global survey from BigCommerce and Paypal suggests retailers must develop omnichannel strategies to support customer choices. The majority of the 3,000 consumers surveyed from the US, UK and Australia said they still prefer in-person shopping. 62.5% of respondents reported doing most of their purchasing online. Close to half said they’re discovering new products on social media at least once a month. 66.7% of respondents said they’ve made a purchase directly through their phone at least once in the past month.
The findings highlight a growing need for retailers to invest in an omnichannel sales and marketing strategy. Digital investment that provides convenient and consistent shopping experiences in-store, online and on social media.
“For years, we’ve seen eCommerce continue to gain ground on traditional shopping. Online and digitised experiences have required retailers to quickly adapt to changing consumer shopping behaviours. This was expedited in the pandemic,” said Greg Lisiewski, vice president of Global Pay Later Products at PayPal. “Now more than ever, consumers want to be in control of how they pay. They have a desire for friction-free, seamless digital shopping experiences regardless of which channel they are shopping in.”
Changing nature of payment
How people pay for purchases is also changing. More consumers are using digital wallets both in-store and online. Prior to March 2020, digital wallets were the preferred payment option for 28.3% of online shoppers globally. That jumped to 35.2% after March 2020. The increase for using digital wallets in-store was even greater, going from 12.1% to 22.8%.
“The data tells us that 70% of consumers are more likely to spend more at a retailer that offers their preferred payment method,” said Mark Rosales, vice president of Business Development, Payments/Banking/Fintech at BigCommerce. “By leveraging this behavioural data, merchants have better means and ability to implement the payment options their customers prefer. Ultimately enabling those brands to realise significant sales growth.”
Other key findings:
- 95.2% of respondents reported making at least one online purchase since March 2020. A slight majority across all regions reported a preference for in-person shopping. Despite that, 32.6% of US respondents, 29.9% of UK respondents and 29.7% of Australian respondents said the convenience of online shopping still trumps any drawbacks, and new options like buy online, pick-up in store (BOPIS) are making it even more attractive.
- As a preferred way to buy, BOPIS has grown substantially since March 2020, with a 373% increase in the US. BOPIS has been slower to catch on in the US compared to other countries.
- The use of digital wallets rose in popularity during the pandemic. There was a global increase of 24.5% online and 88.7% for in-store purchases since March 2020. Respondents overwhelmingly commented that they’d prefer retailers make digital payment options more available.
- Mid-market merchants are increasingly adopting buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions for their eCommerce stores with Australia leading the way. 48% of Australian merchants, 20% of U.S. merchants and 11% of UK merchants currently offer BNPL options to customers.
Power users and slow adopters
Consumers seem to fall into two main categories when it comes to using these types of solutions. Power users and slow adopters. Globally, 46% say they’ve used a BNPL option at least once in the past three months. However, just 10.1% globally say they’ve used it five or more times in that same time period. In Australia, that number jumps to 15.5%. 54% of global respondents — and 60.6% of U.S. respondents — have never used BNPL. Most said they were deterred by incurring fees or debt, or that they simply were not familiar with the option.
- Merchants would be wise to educate consumers on the benefits of buy now, pay later solutions, especially interest-free payment options. Young consumers especially are now accustomed to subscription-based payment models. BNPL financing options fall into this same category.
- Consumers are shopping mainly at large retailers or branded eCommerce stores. Of those polled, 58.2% said they shop at department stores, hypermarkets or big-box retailers. 31.9% said they purchase directly from the eCommerce stores of their favourite name brands.
Enterprise Times: What this means for business?
COVID-19 fundamentally changed consumer behaviour – how and where people bought their goods and services. Customers have continued to move away from brick-and-mortar stores to digital commerce and increasingly use their phones to make purchases. As a result, new opportunities were created for retailers to use new channels, fulfilment strategies and payment options. Never before has getting the customer experience right been so vital for business success.
Smart retailers know that adapting to this new commerce landscape is about more than simply moving an offline business online. It’s about meeting your customers where they shop. An omnichannel strategy opens up the opportunity for retailers to re-evaluate their sales and marketing strategies. To ensure they’re meeting customers where they are the most likely to spend. Retailers must provide a consistent, yet convenient, shopping experience across every touchpoint — social media, digital marketplaces, in-store, or more. Furthermore, these experiences have to be consistent, coherent and co-ordinated. Likely, a combination of all these channels.
However, in order to succeed with an omnichannel strategy, retailers need a fully integrated tech stack. From the eCommerce platform, payment service providers to an effective inventory management and more. Because once you have a unified system, you can easily meet customers wherever they are — social media, mobile, marketplaces, etc. And provide them with the convenient options they need to convert from visitors to customers.