Love, Bonito & Adyen: Unified commerce for today’s empowered shoppers
How can brands succeed in a post-Covid world? We recap Priyanka’s session via key insights, merchant examples and the 3 trends retailers should consider to tackle challenges presented by today’s new retail environment.
Priyanka Gargav, Senior Vice President and Head of Sales, Adyen, Asia Pacific works closely with top retail brands in the region
2020 was a year of change for all of us as individuals, and also for businesses. Many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers across APAC had to do things like never before, as cities went into lockdown or imposed retail restrictions. Some launched an ecommerce website overnight; others have had to change their tech stack within a week.
But after 18 months, it isn’t about reacting out of need or implementing quick fixes anymore. Brands are evaluating the decisions they have made, and what their long term strategy could be.
Last April, when Singapore went into Circuit Breaker phase, a cordon sanitaire implemented by the government to prevent further spread of Covid-19, many of us may remember how our favorite shops or stores started offering new ways to order, new ways to accept payments, and even new ways to reach us. In short, they became a lot more flexible than we imagined.
Online shopping, online payments, buy-online-pick-up-in-store gained traction. New sales channels via WhatsApp and WeChat were popping up too. Though some of these may have started out patchy, you’d have noticed how things have become more organized and more refined since – and for good reason.
Cross-channel convenience has become the norm for shoppers. We uncovered this in our Adyen Agility Report late last year. Across markets like Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, up to 87% of shoppers want retailers to maintain the cross-channel flexibilities shown during lockdown or under restricted retail conditions.
You might be thinking the omni channels of your brick-and-mortar store, new ecommerce website, etc will do the trick. Here’s why that’s not enough:
Shoppers want cross-channel experiences offered during lockdowns and restricted retail conditions to continue as stores reopen
Your customers now expect you to just know. Let’s say, pre-Covid, I was a regular shopper at your physical store, but have switched to shopping on your ecommerce website recently. I’m expecting you to be able to recognize me as a regular, know my preferences and reward me for my loyalty no matter where I shop with you.
"Your customers now expect you to just know. As a shopper, I’m expecting the retailer to be able to recognize me as a regular, know my preferences and reward me for my loyalty no matter where I shop with you."
Your separate omni channels may not be able to connect transactions in-store with those online. Worse still, you may not even know I’m the same shopper who’s spent so much with you. And as many other brands are fast catching up, you could just lose a loyal customer to your competitors.
It’s why retailers need to think of unified commerce, so no matter where your customer shops from, you know how to offer the best experience – having online, in-store and in-app transactions all on one platform lets you deliver the cross-channel experiences your customers want.
Even as the spotlight is on ecommerce these days, we can’t deny that especially in markets with a strong shopping culture, like Hong Kong and Singapore, the store is key. Ask yourself: do you go to Marina Bay Sands, get in line to visit the Apple Store just to buy a laptop?
The role of the store has changed. Rather than a place to store inventory, or for shoppers to simply buy things, shoppers now want more from the store. The Apple Store is a great example of how stores have become places where we can experience the brand.
The store must value-add, giving shoppers what they cannot get online. After all, buying online in the comfort of your home, comparing product specifications while on the couch and having your item delivered to your doorstep is so convenient.
One thing that I’d like to share is the endless aisle, and why it could be a gamechanger. Endless aisle is the concept of enabling customers in your stores to browse online or order a wide range of products that are either sold out, or unavailable in-store, and have the items shipped to customers’ homes.
"Stores are doubling up as a showroom with sample items where shoppers can try before ordering, and an endless aisle can help with that."
Traditionally, retailers implement an endless aisle to make sure nothing is out of stock. For example, if I’m buying a dress in size M, and the store doesn’t have any available. When your physical store and ecommerce website are connected (unified commerce), then I’ll be able to access the online inventory, order and have the item delivered to my home.
Post-Covid, many retailers are finding it difficult to maintain stocks in-store, with issues surrounding supply chains, or retailers simply re-looking stocks required. So stores are doubling up as a showroom with sample items where shoppers can try before ordering, and an endless aisle can help with that.
The store can assume the role of brand experience space, brand showroom or even a fulfilment center
As many brands go through digital transformation, it’s also interesting to see how stores are being reimagined as well. Some retailers are now using their stores for fulfilment to quickly enable a shop-online-collect-in-store experience when customers shop on their ecommerce stores. Depending on your brand and customer needs, the store can assume various roles – it’s really about unifying commerce around your customers and connecting the experiences that matter.
Since we are on the topic of the store, I think it’d be appropriate to discuss something that has become such a big part of our lives: contactless payments.
Did you know Singapore ranks as the most hygiene-conscious among shoppers worldwide? We found that in our Adyen Agility Report survey: 72% of shoppers in Singapore say they are concerned about the cleanliness of payment terminals and prefer more hygienic payment methods. The global average is 54%.
On one hand, we have government initiatives to get brands to move towards cashless payments. On the other, consumers are also demanding safer, cleaner ways to pay. One of our F&B merchants in Singapore, Guzman y Gomez, saw cash usage drop by 90% following Circuit Breaker. So enabling cashless, contactless payments helped with quicker, more seamless dining experiences.
Shoppers are demanding more seamless shopping and payment experiences
Another part of Adyen’s payments solution that I want to share is Pay by Link, which are essentially unique payment links that shoppers can click and complete transactions at their own convenience.
One use case during the pandemic was by luxury jeweller Michael Hill that is based in New Zealand. As shops closed, Michael Hill pivoted to Zoom consultations to help their customers find the perfect gift. After a consultation, the shopper pays via Pay by Link, where a unique payment link is sent via email, SMS or WhatsApp. After paying, the shopper then arranges for the item to be delivered.
Even as shops reopen, we still see many applications for Pay by Link – whether it’s for personal shopping by luxury brands, hotel reservations and bookings or for retailers to offer another way for their shoppers to buy beyond their brick-and-mortar stores.
The takeaway here is not about Pay by Link or contactless payments, but how we can make shopping easier, how we can enable easier payments because consumers are demanding seamless experiences. That’s the goal retailers should keep in mind to prevail and thrive in 2021 and beyond.
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