Even in the face of immense disruption, some things never change. While we're all still adjusting to the fallout of COVID-19, businesses around the world are gearing up for the rush of holiday shopping, the peak of their sales year.
This will be a key moment of truth for many retailers. What lessons have been learned? What changes have been embraced?
Nicholas Kontopoulos, Regional Head of Growth Marketing at Adobe and Martine de Visscher, VP of Product Mid-Market at Adyen give their insights into the latest ecommerce trends, post-pandemic customer expectations, and the often underestimated link between payments and revenue optimization.
The new era of personalized, channel-less shopping
Consumer habits and attitudes are changing in ways many retailers weren't expecting. According to Adobe's 2021 Digital Trends report, half of retailers report existing customers are now demonstrating surprising new buying behaviors, from the amount purchased to new product interests.
Loyalty is fragile. Convenience reigns. Retailers are discovering whole swathes of customers previously unknown to them as locked-down shoppers move online at record-breaking rates.
But what's really changed is the death of the channel.
"Having an omnichannel strategy is becoming critical as consumer demand shifts," says Nicholas. "Customers no longer follow a linear customer journey, with linear touch points, but operate dynamically in how they go about discovering solutions to a problem they are looking to solve."
It's important to consider the cumulative experience you are offering customers across multiple touchpoints and channels over time to support a more dynamic customer journey. If the experience isn't seamless, personalized, and consistent, it's all too easy to switch to a competitor with a tap of a finger.
"Retailers need to prepare for anything and everything, both online and offline," says Nicholas. "If your stores are unable to open, your online channels must be ready to accept increased sales season volumes."
Staying agile during sales season: the overlooked role of payments
"From a consistent and speedy checkout experience for customers to shopper authentication and fraud prevention, the state of your payments setup can be incredibly influential during sales season."
Martine de VisscherVP of Product Mid-Market, Adyen
Payments play a key role in businesses' ability to adapt and scale, especially during the mad rush of sales season.
"Being able to offer frictionless shopping experiences such as Buy Online, Pick Up In Store or endless aisles will be necessary to provide convenience to the consumers that are entering this holiday period with a different mindset," says Martine.
Just as a single channel approach won't suffice, trying to apply the same strategy to a range of different markets will leave your customers jumping ship - or cart. Don't make the mistake of using identical campaigns across different markets, especially post-pandemic. The type of social activity, attitudes, and interests can vary wildly between regions.
Take APAC as an example: the top commerce goal for executives in Asia is enabling digital customer acquisition (35%), compared to Australia and New Zealand, where personalization is the focus (33%).
"Keep up with social shopping trends in each individual market," says Nicholas. "This will allow you to create targeted messages, amplify your campaigns and boost holiday sales. By using deep conversational insights, you can ensure your next holiday campaigns resonate with your audience."
This is another area where payments can help, says Martine. When done right, your payments setup has the potential to unlock a wealth of data insights, with which you can power an even stronger customer experience.
Thanks to the capabilities of Adobe Commerce and Adyen, French luxury brand Zadig&Voltaire has accelerated its international expansion through strengthening its ecommerce capabilities and localizing payment methods to suit target markets, from SOFORT in Germany, to WeChat Pay in China.
"What often gets overlooked are things like payments, things like shipping," says Nicholas, "and these areas are absolutely critical in terms of the customer experience."
"As a customer, maybe you're not consciously thinking 'This is an amazing payment gateway,' but the role payments plays is really critical. It all comes back to those key moments of truth for the customer and understanding what those are."
Nicholas KontopoulosRegional Head of Growth Marketing, Adobe
Powering your customer journey with consolidated insights
"Ensure the systems that power your commerce channels are integrated, so your company has visibility across multiple channels, over the entire consumer shopping journey," says Nicholas.
Having all your sales channels - online, in app, and in store - connected through a unified payments platform unlocks a range of benefits. Martine highlights two in particular:
"Unifying your payments across all channels creates a more seamless, consistent customer experience - think saved payments preferences and card authentication. But it also gives you a wealth of data insights and a holistic view of your customers' behaviors and preferences," she says.
You can leverage this data to inform your holiday sales preparation, from optimizing online promotions and loyalty programs to improving personalization and adapting to suit new markets.
With consolidated payments data, Zadig&Voltaire benefit from a 360° view of their customers. This allows the retailer to unify and personalize its customer journey, offer services such as buy online, return in store, and easily launch products at the same time across every channel.
Of course, any captured data must be protected, secure, and PCI compliant, which is where strategic partnerships can play a key role in your business.
"Security of information when making payments is absolutely critical to customers and businesses alike," says Nicholas. "Which is why having such great partners like Adyen in our ecosystem is such a critical component of our own go-to-market, and how we engage our customers."
"It's really important to make sure that the people you're partnering with, who form part of your customer experience ecosystem, are really considered in terms of the role that they're going to play."
When the unexpected brings new possibility
A new playing field means new opportunities. And what better time to capitalize on those opportunities than the holiday sales season? It's a chance to consolidate what you've learned, refine your strategy, and hit it out of the proverbial retail park.
This is your moment of truth: now is the time to prepare and optimize. To help you get started, Nicholas and Martine have provided an additional checkout optimization checklist to download, share, and implement:
Optimizing holiday sales: Your 6-point checklist
Give your customers the most stable, personalized experience possible this sales season.
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Adyen NV published this content on 30 September 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 30 September 2021 14:41:06 UTC.