Four major payments strategies behind SHEIN's global expansion
Adyen’s APAC President, Warren Hayashi, shares his take on 2022 retail trends
Rising customer expectations means businesses have to work even harder to engage consumers and offer a smooth retail experience across all touch points. We look at how this is shaping Asia Pacific’s retail landscape and what you can do to stay one step ahead.
Consumers today have countless places to shop and ways to pay. They can browse in-store and finish their purchase online. They can also participate in live sales sessions as social commerce gains in popularity and promises to be a significant driver of new and repeat sales. Similarly, there’s a diverse range of mobile payment methods and e-wallets to choose from, besides card payments, and bank transfers.
The vast options are making it more difficult for businesses to define the start and end point of a customer’s journey, much less chart a predictable route. That’s on top of fiercer competition to deliver the best shopper experience in a bid to get consumers’ attention, win their loyalty, and ultimately, a bigger share of wallet.
"Making a payment is an important part of the overall customer experience and you can use that process as a means to differentiate your business."
Making a payment is an important part of the overall customer experience and you can use that process as a means to differentiate your business. Take for example our customer, R.M. Williams, an iconic Australian leather boot maker. Working with Adyen, it built a seamless payments experience across all its online and offline sales channels. R.M. Williams is now able to provide a smoother checkout process in-store with mobile checkout and endless aisle capabilities. This means in-store shoppers can browse the company’s full inventory – beyond what’s on the shelves – to select an item and pay using a mobile payment terminal without having to stand in line.
Because R.M. Williams process all their payments through a single platform, they get a better overview of their customers’ preferences and personalize their shopping experience.
Certainly, personalized customer experiences are now more important than ever. That’s why payment methods and the consumer intent they represent are increasingly important factors for attracting and retaining customers. Which brings me to the second trend:
When customers pay for an item, it affirms their interest in that product, and reflects their preferences. It also shows where, when and how they buy, and how much they are willing to pay. Simply put, it takes the mystery out of mapping out the consumer journey because you know with certainty when a particular shopping experience converts to a purchase. Having that level of detail enables you to hyper-personalize your customer’s experience, which is key to developing a closer relationship with them and in turn drive repeat purchases and loyalty.
Established Singapore department store brand BHG is using such insights to create a personable in-store experience for its customers. Even though consumers are returning to physical stores, BHG recognizes the role of its brick-and-mortar storefronts has changed with the rise of ecommerce. BHG’s strategy is to turn its outlets into places where people can experience the brand, and try on or learn about a new product. Part of that overall brand experience is personalization. When a customer walks into the store, BHG’s store assistants will know if they are a repeat customer, and if they previously bought an item at a specific price. All that is made possible by the backend system it built with Adyen’s expertise, which unifies data from its inventory, CRM system, ecommerce platforms and physical stores.
More than ever, customers are in control of the shopping and payment journey, so you want to be where your shoppers are and empower them to pay how they want to pay. And this is giving rise to the third trend we’re seeing:
Many businesses have sped up their digitalization efforts over the last two years to meet the pandemic-induced demand for ecommerce and contactless payments. As a result, some now find themselves stuck with a huge, disconnected network of payment channels, which prevents them from connecting the dots between all that data and expanding their payments infrastructure quickly. You can avoid these issues by investing in a strong and well-planned payments strategy. That equates to choosing solutions that allow you to respond quickly to shifts in shopper behavior.
A company that has benefited from building a coherent payments strategy is Asia’s leading online fashion retailer, Zalora. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Zalora quickly noticed that consumer spending had shifted to essential goods and home and lifestyle products. Leaning on its data insights and supply chain network, Zalora launched a new product category within three days to cater to the new demand for food, personal care and pharmaceutical products.
Besides giving you the data to make smarter business decisions, having an effective payments strategy makes it easier for you to scale your business across borders and adapt to changing needs, whether that’s new payment methods, channels or markets.
SHEIN’s success shows how a good payments strategy can help businesses expand quickly. Founded in 2008, SHEIN is now one of the largest ecommerce retailers worldwide. Central to that success is how the company made it easy and safe for global customers to pay for purchases. SHEIN uses Adyen’s integrated platform to quickly add local payment methods in various markets around the world as it expands, boosting its conversion rates.
As consumers become more comfortable with cashless payments, you need to consider the preferred local payment methods of each market and your target consumer segment. For example, it’s imperative that you offer Konbini payment if you operate in Japan while payment methods like iDEAL and Sofort are critical if you operate in European countries like The Netherlands and Germany.
Investing in a long-term payments strategy lets you become more adaptable and scalable, two important ingredients for operating in today’s dynamic retail environment.
To thrive in 2022, you need to put the shopper experience at heart of your strategy by taking full advantage of the customer insights available from payments insights and facilitating relevant payment methods. Whether it’s uncovering bottlenecks in the customer journey that act as a barrier to making a purchase or creating a hyper-personalized experience that meets an individual shopper’s preferences, data will help you create new opportunities for growth.
Of course, collecting and analyzing data, or adding new modes of payment, can be complicated, especially for retailers selling internationally across multiple borders. A strong payments partner can help you navigate this complexity and build a payments strategy that will improve customer experience and drive loyalty.
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