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The 2020 pandemic has accelerated consumers’ adoption of digital channels. Technically-timid grandparents embraced video conferencing. We now browse groceries from our sofas. And, when we want a cup of coffee, we’re just as likely to reach for our phones as head to a café.
Joe & The Juice was well placed to respond to this dramatic shift. It launched its pre-order app back in 2019. So, when the pandemic forced doors to close, it was able to pivot quickly and serve customers via this established digital channel. To learn more, we sat down with VP of Strategy & Business Development, Thomas Evald. We explored how the company’s digital-readiness kept the coffee flowing from a safe distance. And we learned how payments technology is used to deliver better customer experiences now, and into the future.
To quote Warren Buffet: “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked.” And this was certainly true when the pandemic hit in March 2020. For many businesses, digital transformation was an item halfway down a busy to-do list. They were poorly placed to respond quickly and had to work fast to set up digital distribution channels. Joe & The Juice, on the other hand, was ready. It quickly mobilised its pre-pay app, which rapidly became its primary sales channel.
"Since we already had an established app, we were able to move quickly."
“Initially in the UK, you couldn’t even allow contactless card payments in stores,” explained Thomas. “The only way someone could make a purchase was via the app. They’d place an order which would be prepared, labelled, and left on a table outside the door. Since we already had an established app, we were able to move quickly. Consequently, we were one of the only UK chains to remain open in March 2020.”
For many customers, the increased flexibility offered during the pandemic was a welcome development. According to our recent research report, 73% of global consumers feel that brands should continue to sell across multiple channels once the crisis is over. In adapting to serve customers remotely, brands have inadvertently set a new standard of service. And consumers expect this to be maintained, as Thomas explained:
“Safety concerns have accelerated the adoption of digital channels. But, once customers see how convenient they are, they stick with them."
“Safety concerns have accelerated the adoption of digital channels. But, once customers see how convenient they are, they stick with them. For example, with the Joe & The Juice app, you only have to enter your card details once making future orders really easy.”
This greater flexibility gives the customer the power to choose how, when, and where they buy. This is a big focus for Joe & The Juice. The brand wants to keep the customer in the driving seat of their experience. Payments technology is helping them do so by letting them connect their online and in-store channels in one system. By centralising their payments, they can provide a consistent experience across both channels.
“We’re unifying the ecommerce and physical store experiences,” explained Thomas. “You can pre-order from your home or you can order in store. You can pay via the terminal or in-app. It doesn't matter. We’ve created this flexibility by connecting our payment data in the back-end. It lets us connect the best of both worlds to deliver an even better service. It also lets us see the whole picture in one place and evaluate our performance. That’s amazing for us.”
As the world moves online, transaction safety becomes a bigger issue. It requires a careful balance between constant transaction monitoring and using risk settings to block suspicious transactions. And it becomes even more complicated when different regions have different levels of risk. For Joe & The Juice, the solution lies in a centralised overview.
“Enhanced transaction safety is a lot easier with a fully integrated payments system.”
“Enhanced transaction safety is a lot easier with a fully integrated payments system,” said Thomas. “Having a single global interface is very unique. Usually, even if you’re using one provider, they’ll have different interfaces in different markets. Using just one interface helped us roll-out a global safety system, which helps us quickly identify and block any suspicious activity. Having it all in one dashboard makes management easier and more efficient."
The pandemic has caused a huge upheaval in people’s living, working, and buying habits. You’re less likely to walk past the same café every day on your way to work, but you’re more likely to want lunch delivered to your door. Joe & The Juice is keeping an eye on these emerging trends and exploring new ways to serve customers through initiatives like delivery and subscriptions.
"You have to be more digital and more data-driven.”
Now, more than ever, agility is critical. Technology helps businesses like Joe & The Juice streamline their operations so they can act quickly as circumstances demand. As we move forwards into a new and increasingly uncertain world, Joe & The Juice will continue to succeed by adapting to the needs of its customers. As Thomas concluded: “A convenience brand fits seamlessly into the lives of its customers, however they like to consume. To achieve this nowadays, you have to be more digital and more data-driven.”