Retail Report 2024

Balancing customer experience and business efficiency

Person opening the door to a store

This report combines insights from consumer and business research and industry experts to uncover how retailers can find the perfect balance between customer experience and business efficiency.







Tipping point

“Retailers are, more than ever, looking to maintain differentiation while ensuring efficiency,” said Alex Rhodes, Global Head of Unified Commerce at Adyen. “They must juggle this in an increasingly complex environment of changing regulations, new payment methods, new technologies like AI, new global competitors, and new business models. On top of that, the surface area they need to manage is expanding, from stores to ecommerce, mobile, and social. Retailers are challenged with connecting and integrating these channels while ensuring a consistent customer experience across each one. All this is within an increasingly global context with quickly evolving consumer demands.”

Retailers have a lot on their plates. But, challenging times often provide the richest growth opportunities. New technology and rising customer expectations are helping to raise the bar across the industry. And the retailers that stay ahead of the curve, will reap the rewards. The key to success is staying on top of customer demands without adding unnecessary complexity to your business, which poses the question:

How can retailers balance amazing customer experience with operational efficiency?


of consumers will abandon a purchase if they can’t pay how they want


higher revenue growth is predicted by businesses that know the majority of their shoppers


of businesses that connect their backend systems reported increased sales


of consumers feel more unsafe shopping today than they did 10 years ago because of payment fraud

Make buying easy

How do you offer a variety of great payment experiences without adding complexity?

The moment of payment, whether in-person or online, perfectly illustrates the line retailers must walk between efficiency and customer experience. 

“When it comes to speed vs customer experience, finding the right balance is crucial. On the one hand, you want to get your customers through the checkout as fast as possible with minimal friction, and on the other hand, you want to sign them up to a loyalty program or have them engage with you in some way.” Holly Worst, Vice President of Retail, Adyen.

Payment technology can help, both in terms of ensuring a smooth experience and fostering further customer engagement. But, the payment landscape is evolving fast, with new methods and channels being added all the time. The challenge is to provide the best payment method and channel mix for your customers without weighing yourself down with too many complex integrations.

Mobile checkout with loyalty

Payment methods, speedy checkouts, new channels

55% of consumers will abandon a purchase if they can’t pay how they want. But, with payment preferences evolving fast, it can be hard to keep up. For example, nowadays, it’s not just cash that’s being cast aside in some markets; physical cards are phasing out too. 27% of consumers don’t even carry wallets any more, relying on the ability to tap their phone to pay.  QR code payments are also on the rise, growing in popularity by 11% year-on-year. 

Given the speed of customer adoption, it’s not surprising that businesses continue to play catch-up. Only 28% accept digital wallets and just 17% support Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) both online and in-store.

Popular ways to pay in 2024


Digital wallets


QR codes


Tap to Pay



Buy Now Pay Later

BNPL has had some tough press. But a wave of new regulations is helping to build trust among businesses and consumers. 75% of shoppers that use BNPL do so once a month and the average spend is $294.72 per person, globally. In the US, the average spend is $120.61 per person, equating to approximately $31bn spent in the country every year.

BNPL is also growing in importance for business-to-business transactions. It’s increasingly being used as a means of managing cash flow, eliminating payment defaults and fraud risks, and simplifying dunning and collection processes.

Shoppers expect fast and easy checkout experiences, both online and in person. For example, 28% want retailers to use technology to make in-store shopping faster and 39% want to see more self-checkout options for the same reason. 

But once again, businesses are falling behind. Only 15% enable self-checkout and just 20% have mobile point of sale (mPOS) solutions to serve customers more efficiently. Online payment experiences are also falling short, with just 19% of retailers supporting one-click checkouts.

Social commerce is taking off


of retailers reported revenue growth after enabling social commerce


of consumers used social media to buy in the last 12 months


would be more loyal if they could buy products after viewing them on social media

4 x

month is the average number of times people shop on social media


is the average amount spent

Consumers who shopped on social media in 2023


Gen Z - 15% first time buyers


Millennials - 12% first time buyers


Gen X - 9% first time buyers


Boomers - 6% first time buyers

Adding a touch of ‘wow’ to your checkout

Before you consider adding new bells and whistles to your checkout experience, your payments need to run smoothly. To achieve this, you need to ask yourself:

  • Are we offering the right payment methods? Are we catering to the right age groups and nationalities?

  • Is our online checkout optimized for conversion? Do we use encrypted embedded payment fields or are we still redirecting to a third-party-hosted payment page?

  • Are our in-person terminals integrated with our POS system?

Different ways to pay

Once you’ve got the basics right, you can turn your attention to adding the ‘wow’ to your customer experience. Critically, these are also important efficiency drivers.

  • Introduce mPOS and take payment from anywhere on the shop floor. Help reduce long lines and empower staff to sell proactively. Example: high-end clothing brand, R.M. Williams, is moving away from the countertop checkout experience and embracing mobile. This is an important trend for luxury brands where up to 75% of transactions are processed via Tap to Pay on iPhone.

  • Use network tokenization to improve card authorization rates for return shoppers. Note: If you get this right, you’ll be ahead of the game; currently only 16% of businesses do this.

  • Use smart optimization tools to intelligently route payments via the network that delivers the lowest cost and the highest approval rates. 

  • Use payment data to reward online shoppers for their in-store purchasing behavior.

  • Transform the self-checkout experience with next-gen in-store kiosks (see Uniqlo’s gold standard self-checkout, powered by Adyen).

Person using VR goggles

An eye on the future

Of course, the real wow factor comes from checkout experiences that are so efficient they feel futuristic. Our VP of Retail, Holly Worst, provided some insight into the innovations taking customer experience and efficiency to the next level.

“AmazonGo's "just walk out" grocery experience was one of the pioneers, but we are witnessing expansion into new categories beyond groceries. Sports stadiums are adopting the technology for soft goods like t-shirts and foam fingers. It's still magical when done well, as evidenced by these happy football fans.

“Social commerce remains one to watch. Its conversion rates in some regions, like Asia, are high. Whereas, in Western markets, social media is still predominantly a traffic driver rather than a sales channel. That said, the launch of TikTok shop at the end of 2023 might change this. 

“Another trend to keep an eye on is metaverse payments. Already, 13% of consumers want more purchases to be made possible in the metaverse. We expect this to become more prevalent as innovations like the Apple Vision Pro become more mainstream.”

"In Adyen, we have a partner that has helped us innovate our customer experience in-store and improve the payments journey. Adyen helps us in this journey by providing us a single view of our payments data across channels and in the way we interact with the customer in the last part of the journey through POS solutions.”

Cristiano Agostini Chief Information Officer, Prada Group

How we help deliver amazing payment experiences

Adyen allows you to deliver frictionless payment experiences to your customers in an efficient way. Just one integration gives you end-to-end processing and global acquiring that deliver the highest possible authorization rates. New payment methods can be added with the flick of a switch and our unified commerce platform makes it simple to connect new channels as needed. Critically, our customers are always ahead of the curve. We were an Apple Pay launch partner back in 2015 and today, we’re leading the way with our Tap to Pay integration.

Get connected

How do you achieve unified commerce in practice?

Unified commerce is the next step beyond omnichannel. Where omnichannel uses different systems to connect various business components, unified commerce uses a single, integrated platform to connect everything in one place. In the context of retail payments, that means all your payments, from all your channels and regions, feeding into the same, unified system. 

This has some natural advantages, as Holly Worst explained: “The future success of retail will be driven by those who use data the best. A unified commerce offering can help accomplish that with a streamlined and connected system.”

This is simple (at least in theory). Connected sales channels lead to connected data, which in turn unlocks unified commerce allowing for greater operational efficiency and amazing customer experiences. But, in reality, our research shows that many retailers are still struggling to achieve this.

Unified Commerce in action

Customer demand outstrips retail readiness - Consumers


want to buy things online and return in store


want to start shopping in store and finish online, or vice versa

Customer demand outstrips retail readiness - Businesses


don’t enable customers to shop easily across channels


treat online sales channels and physical stores as separate entities


support cross-channel returns


have a different payment provider for online transactions and in-store transactions

Unlocking unified commerce

“Retail is a complex space. It’s often multi-channel and multi-regional. Many systems need to work in harmony to deliver on customer experiences. And, as the rate of change accelerates, retailers are in a constant race to modernize their systems to stay ahead of consumer expectations.” Alex Rhodes, Global Head of Unified Commerce, Adyen

The breaking down of organizational and data silos can be a daunting prospect. But our research reveals that it’s well worth it.

Businesses that embraced unified commerce last year


more revenue growth was recorded in 2023, over the annual average


reported increased sales when they enable shoppers to complete transactions easily across online and offline channels


reported a better understanding of customer behavior for targeting and marketing


reported increased customer loyalty

Adyen Omnichannel shopper dashboard

Unified commerce can also help improve operational efficiency. Reconciliation, for example, is much faster since all payment data feeds into the same back office. 

Unified commerce is a marathon. It involves the bringing together of departments, and connecting systems, not to mention extensive change management. A good place to start is payments. By connecting all your payments across all channels and regions into a single back office you’ll not only make things easier for your finance team, but you’ll unlock data insights that will help you know your customers better.

"Customers of Brown Thomas Arnotts now have the opportunity to enjoy the best of both brands through our unified loyalty program, Encore. This program enables customers to access loyalty benefits, rewards, and exclusive experiences seamlessly across both Brown Thomas and Arnotts. Whether shopping in-store, online, or via our app, customers can accumulate and redeem points with ease."

Sarah Esler Digital Product Lead, Brown Thomas

How we can help you achieve unified commerce

Adyen’s platform was designed to enable unified commerce. All payments, whether online, in-app, in-person, via social, or even in the metaverse, are all connected in the same system. This not only improves your business efficiency, it also enables more shopper journeys, giving your customers the freedom to choose how, where, and when they buy from you.

Make everyone a VIP

How can you efficiently capture and leverage data to improve customer experience?

Highly personalized experiences used to be reserved for luxury retail. Long-serving sales assistants would keep a ‘black book’ of loyal customers, including personal details and preferences, tucked behind the counter. Now, thanks to technology, retailers can capture data and deliver tailored experiences efficiently and at scale. 

“Retailers are investing significantly in their customer data infrastructure, including tooling and loyalty programs, as well as strategies to capture more data in-store. The ultimate goal is to better understand customer behavior so they can deliver personalization and improve customer lifetime value.” Philip Ladiges, Unified Commerce Strategy Manager, Adyen

Of course, there are still plenty of challenges associated with using customer data in a meaningful way. Our research finds that retailers are still struggling to get it right. 

People shopping in store

The retail data vortex

25% of businesses say they lack customer data and the technology infrastructure to truly understand their customers. And just 28% of businesses know the majority of their customers well enough to personalize items. This blind spot is a missed opportunity. Businesses that know the majority of their customers well, enjoyed 9% higher revenue growth compared to the average last year.

When it comes to loyalty programs, retailers’ faith seems to be wavering, with 22% halting their investment in loyalty over the past 12 months. Given that the 72% of retailers that use loyalty programs also report revenue growth, cutting investment on loyalty might be a false economy. Plus, consumers are keen to see loyalty programs continue. But it has to be done well.

Customers on loyalty


want retailers to improve the ways they reward them


are happy to provide data to get discounts


download apps to get better rewards


want personalized discounts from their favorite retailers

Popular loyalty programs


Payment-linked loyalty (where rewards are linked to payment activity)


Loyalty app


Exclusive offers or events for high-value customers


Private label credit card

The power of payment data

“Payments are a source of high-quality first-party data, which can be used to fill the gaps within loyalty programs and better understand marketing attribution.” Philip Ladiges, Unified Commerce Strategy Manager, Adyen.

More and more retailers are waking up to the potential offered by payment data and using it to great effect. For example, one sporting goods retailer uses payment data to personalize its homepage for 50% of visitors. The result is a 10% increase in sales for those visitors, translating into a significant revenue boost for the business. 

Card payment on terminal

Payment-linked loyalty

Payment data can also be used to power your loyalty program. Instead of furnishing customers with yet another physical loyalty card, or prompting them to download your app, rewards are linked to your customer’s payment method. This method of loyalty is gaining in popularity. 44% of retailers said their loyalty program was enabled by their payments provider and 32% of customers prefer this form of loyalty.

“With Revenue Protect, we've been able to reduce our fraud from 3.5% to nearly 0%. We've been able to deploy 3DS2 across our websites and we've been seeing benefits of close to $1.4 million annually.”

Noel David General Manager of Finance, True Alliance

How we can help you get the best from your payments data

Each transaction contains information such as the time, date, location, and value of the payment, plus the chosen channel, payment method, and device used. This information helps you build a picture of your customers: where they shop, how much they spend, and how often. And, if the data is also linked to your inventory, you’ll see what they’re buying so you can trigger bespoke recommendations.

Reduce fraud and friction

How do you ensure watertight fraud defense without creating additional friction for your customers?

Fraud is the enemy of efficiency and customer experience, eating away at both profit margins and consumer confidence. Today, retailers are battling a surge in fraudulent returns while customers are losing hundreds of dollars to scammers every year.

Consumer/retailer trust is at a premium. Customers need to feel secure enough to share payment details; they need to trust a retailer not to inundate them with unsolicited emails; and no one wants to wake up to the headline that a retailer with whom they’ve shared details has just suffered a massive data breach. By creating a safe space for customers to interact with your brand, you’ll foster a relationship of trust.

Adyen's customer area in action

The specter at the feast

Fraud casts an unsettling shadow on what should be an enjoyable pastime. In 2023, consumers were scammed out of 234% more money than the previous year, losing an average of $808.42 each time. Not surprisingly, they are wary, especially when it comes to shopping online.

Consumer security concerns


regularly leave online stores without purchasing because of security concerns


feel more unsafe shopping today than they did 10 years ago because of payment fraud


choose to shop at stores with higher security measures


like it when retailers ask them to prove their identity

Meanwhile, analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) found that fraud cost the global retail industry $429 billion last year. To help combat this, retailers need to stay on top of security mandates and make use of strong customer authentication (SCA) methods. In doing so, they'll not only ensure a better, safer shopping experience, they'll protect their business from fraud liabilities.

The good news is that many businesses are succeeding in their fight against fraud. 64% believe their fraud prevention systems are effective, which is up by 4% from last year. The challenge, of course, is to ensure that fraud defense doesn’t come at the cost of conversion.


In an effort to improve online conversion rates, many retailers have opted for more lenient online returns policies. Unfortunately, this comes at a price, with many now battling high rates of chargeback fraud.

The impact of chargebacks to businesses


of fraud is attributed to chargebacks


of businesses said that fraudulent transactions and chargebacks are a significant cost to their business


are considering working with a payments provider that offers a chargeback liability guarantee


use chargeback management software (8% increase year-on-year)

Balancing fraud defense and customer experience

Fraud defense is another important frontier between business efficiency and customer experience. Ramping up your risk settings might be an efficient way of blocking bad actors, but it also creates additional friction for your customers. 

Despite security concerns, customers still expect the buying process to be easy; 22% want to complete a transaction within a few clicks and by entering as little information as possible. Retailers must find the sweet spot between security and conversion. Risk settings need to be optimized using smart tools and fraud trend data. In this way, it’s possible to spot and stop fraud before it occurs, while known customers can shop uninterrupted.

Strong customer authentication (SCA)

SCA has come a long way from the traditional redirect to Mastercard SecureCode or Visa Secure where a customer had to enter a password they’d probably forgotten. Mobile banking and biometrics make authentication much faster, easier, and more secure. Plus, smart risk management solutions will only trigger this authentication for ‘in-scope’ transactions. 

Authentication in-app

“It’s key for us to make sure that good customers can fly through the checkout. People who shop with us have certain expectations of a luxury British brand, so the last thing we want to do is lock down our risk settings. Adyen helps us manage risk without adding friction at the checkout. It also gives us the flexibility to easily adjust our profile, add rules, and manage authorizations.”

Antony Comyns Head of E-Commerce, Hawes & Curtis

How we can help you block fraudsters, not shoppers

Adyen’s built-in risk management solution allows you to respond to risks in real time with a great degree of flexibility. Additionally, teams of risk specialists help ensure your settings are always optimized for the best possible results.

Unlock your growth with Adyen

Where experience and efficiency can uncover new opportunities

Customer experience and business efficiency are often seen as opposing forces. However, our research finds that combining the two can unlock exciting growth opportunities. In the context of payments, this translates into more choice and flexibility for the customer and improved loyalty, connected data, and streamlined systems for the retailer.

We’re proud to work with leading retailers such as Levis, Superdry, LUSH, and L'Occitane.

Get started with payments

We’d love to set up a call and explore how we can help.