Episode 4

Standing out

Hear from the town that’s bulldozing its shopping center to make space for parkland. Learn the secrets of world-class customer experience from Harrods and Fortnum & Mason. And discover how to dazzle your customers online with digital agency Red Badger.

 

Episode 5 →

Featuring

Nigel Cooke – Stockton Town Council

Hear about Stockton's "bold new vision" for the high street which involves bulldozing a shopping centre.

David Wynne – Red Badger

Discover what makes a stand-out ecommerce experience and learn the one thing every online shopper wants.

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This podcast series was underpinned by the findings from our latest research report. We surveyed over 25,000 consumers worldwide to understand how attitudes have changed in the past 18 months. Complete the form to get your copy of the UK findings

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Episode transcript

Colin: After being shut in for nearly a year with only streaming services, and an allowance of one outdoor workout per day; the one thing people are craving is experience.

Travel, dining, shopping. People want to get back into the world and start having positive and meaningful interactions again.

But we’re not out of the woods yet. And some people remain hesitant about visiting shops and restaurants.. So how can brands ensure their store is a journey worth making? And how can they stand out online as well? 

Adyen's research showed that 71% of customers won't return to a shop or online store they've had a bad experience with. So first impressions matter.

Jon Weg: Luxury have always been about experience. Customers need a reason to make the effort to come into store. So it's really important that the store provides magic and a reason for making that effort. I think the customer already, for a few years, was starting to want to get more from a store than just simply going and buying. They wanted an experience. They wanted storytelling. They want you to understand why  should they place that loyalty with the brand.

Colin: This is Retail Reawakened; the show that explores how retail and hospitality businesses can rise again in the aftermath of the pandemic.
And I’m your host, Colin Neil Head of Commercial at Adyen UK.

Adyen is a global payments provider for retailers like Hunter, SuperDry and Fortnum & Mason, and food and beverage businesses like LEON, Joe & The Juice, and Hakkasan.

Before working at Adyen, I spent 30 years in the retail industry, including working as Retail Operations Director at Burberry.

In our penultimate episode, we'll be exploring what it is that creates a positive experience for shoppers both online and in-store.

We'll examine what businesses do right to keep their customers coming back for more, and we'll take a look at some of the pitfalls to avoid when it comes to curating the online checkout journey.

Colin: A lot goes into a customer’s in-store experience. Everything including location, layout, price and stock availability all impact the way they views brand.
And one of the biggest experience-drivers a business has is its staff.

This is something that Jon Weg of Fortnum and Mason knows all too well.Not only are great staff a benefit on the shop floor; but they can play an integral role online too.

Jon Weg: I think good sales associates have always had the best knowledge of their customers. And people always remember going into a store and having a magical experience with a sales associate. And I think that's become more true than ever during the pandemic when it was much harder to be able to get to stores, to be able to have that interaction. And I think some of the brands that did best were the ones that were able to still enable their sales associates to engage with their customers. We saw a number of companies start to use digital technology so that the sales associates could continue to have dialogue, sometimes even video chats and consultations remotely. And I think that's the journey now that many brands are on to create that experience so that sales associate, who's always is the best at knowing the customer and explaining products can continue to engage with customers wherever they are, even if they're now at home, rather than in store.

Colin: Jon isn't alone in valuing customer service so highly.

Tony Longhurst, with experience at both Fortnum and Mason and Harrods, also knows that great staff play a key part in a customer's perception of a brand.

Tony Longhurst: It's really about customer experience and you instantly have an expectation that as you walked through the doors of two very grandiose locations, you're going to get the products that you're looking for - potentially that you can't get in other locations. And you're going to get an exemplary level of customer service. The surroundings kind of speak for themselves and they add to the ambience and the experience of being a customer in both locations. It's a bit classic kind of retail. It's the right product in the right place and promoted in the right way. Price, probably less of an issue for both of those, but certainly the customer experience and what you'd expect to find and how you'd expect to be treated as a customer. When you walk through the doors is probably what sets them apart.

Colin: But, for luxury brands in particular, it isn't enough to have excellent teams supporting your shoppers; brands need to look the part too.

Because according to 52% of shoppers, the layout of a store is critical.

Tony Longhurst: So Harrods, simply because of the fact that it's vast, means that there's a great opportunity for dedicated spaces and dedicated areas across the floors. Product placing and promotion is driven significantly by Harrods, but because of the volume of brands that exist within Harrods as well, they have a say around the locations that they exist in and how their product is presented. The fact that the store is in, Harrods case, certainly in Knightsbridge, is ever changing and is constantly evolving, is the bit that enables them to kind of set it apart. So they've got such a space that they can play with and such an opportunity to sort of regenerate and reinvigorate the brand presence across the store. For Fortnums it's a little bit more challenging, just because of the size of the space that's available. But by God, do they do it well. So there are some kind of stall stalwarts of what you expect to see in certain places. So if you've gone there for afternoon tea, you know where it will be. That doesn't move. If you go looking for fine foods, you know, that's probably going to be on the ground floor or lower ground. There's only so many different permutations but I think the key is, particularly with Fortnums, because of the uniqueness of their products, they kind of leap off the shelves themselves because they're so beautifully packaged and because everything is presented in such a fantastic way, that it's very easy to kind of let those products shine. So regardless of where they are, obviously there's a natural flow to where things sit across the building, but with Fortnums, if you want biscuits, you'll go to a certain location. If you want jam, you'll go to a certain location. If you're there for afternoon tea, you'll go to a certain location.

Colin: Stores that are aesthetically pleasing with a natural flow and attractive packaging all contribute to a great visit. 

So what about when it comes to staff?

It turns out that great service isn't just about welcoming smiles and a willingness to 'check out the back' to see if they've got something in your  size. Staff need to have a passion for and a knowledge of their products.

And they need to communicate that to the customer.

Tony Longhurst: I think the consistent thing that will flow across either retail or in the restaurant space will be that kind of attention to detail. Obviously the products itself, but also sense of an understanding around what customers are looking for. I think that the benefit that both brands have is the knowledge and understanding of those products. You know, there's a real, genuine understanding of all of the aspects of provenance around a product. And it just gives customers comfort and confidence that it's not just what's being sold, but how it's being sold and a genuine passion for the things that have been sold in the way that they're being sold. So I think the attention to detail element. The understanding of typically what customers are there to buy more often than not, and then navigating them around both experiences of leading people to different locations and different opportunities for, for experience in the brand. You know, more often than not if you've walked in just for biscuits, you walk out with significantly more than you intended to. And that scale is something that I think certainly Fortnums staff, but also Harrods, have in abundance.

Colin: Tony makes another excellent point about customer service.
It's not about giving them what you think they want. It's about knowing what they want. So before you can serve them, you have to understand them.

Tony Longhurst: There's no rocket science. It's a genuine understanding of your customer and how they want to experience you and your products. So. Getting a sense of the market and realising that all of your customers are going to be different. There are kind of typical customers, but the diversity is enormous. The expectation certainly across the international customers is significant because certainly for Far East customers, their expectation is different to Middle East customers is different to domestic customers in the UK is different to European customers is different than North America. They all want different things. So there's a level of expectation of what they will see if they went into a similar establishment in their own countries and they expect to see that and they expect the differences and the nuances that are quintessentially British. You want that product to be clear and understandable. You want the pricing to be clear and understandable. You want to have that attention to detail and understanding whoever you are, I think. But the variation and the difference is around expectation, I think payment is a big part of that as well, because it's so different in different locations. So again, there's the expectation of, I want to pay for a product in the way that I want to pay for it, with the card that I want to use or the digital wallet that I want to use. You know, my expectation is that you've made that available to me. And if you haven't, potentially I'll go elsewhere.

Colin: Clearly, it’s not enough to know  your products, you have to know your customers too. Only then can you be sure you’re communicating the right messaging at the right times. 

And, if you get it right, your customers will thank you. 48% of them prefer businesses that can provide tailored shopping experiences.

But experience goes beyond individual stores. Customers today expect better things from their high streets overall. 

Vox pop: If I was to design a high street, it would sort of be a little bit more traditional, you know, I grew up where  greengrocers have, you know, the outside bit and they're all stood there in their aprons and I love that! That sort of back to basics would be really nice, but at the same time, we're in a technological world, so having things like interactive maps and green spaces to sit.. I think that's important for a sense of community.

Colin: Community, technology and space were all top of mind for the consumers we interviewed. 

And for towns such as Stockton-on-Tees, this is something the local authorities have been working on for over ten years. And they’ve been thinking big.
Here’s cabinet member for regeneration, Nigel Cooke:

Nigel Cooke: At the beginning of the last decade, the high street, it was mostly reliant on retail and it was the usual high street stuff - the big chain stores. Your Debenhams, your Marks and Spencer, et cetera. It was about 2009, I think, Woolworths closed and the council began to think about, is this the start of things to come or is it just a flash in the pan? Because people were thinkin, hang on if something as big as Woolworth's closes, what else can close? So the journey for Stockton in terms of repurposing its high street, making it less reliant on retail, actually started 10 years ago. And the plans that have hit the press recently on our bold new vision for Stockton high street, they're, just the lates phase in that. So that there's been a lot of work going on in the last 10 years. And a lot of that involved digging the high street up and, and creating a new new foundations with a new market square, wonderful fountain, and lots of event space and lots of space for not just outside events, but for markets and things like that. If you're looking at it from the sky, it's quite a big old space, it's a very wide high street. And then there's like streets running, running off it. At the south end we have a typical ,1960s/70s, a brick and concrete shopping center called Castlegate. And then towards the north end of the hight street you've got a new space, a fountain area, you've got another shopping centre, which is more of an open street shopping centre. Castl gate, which we, which we purchased last year. We're now going to demolish that. It's roughly three Trafalgar Squares. So it's a big space and probably two thirds of that space is going to be open grassland and the park and the place where we can have events. The other exciting thing is this currently a dul carriageway between the shopping centre and the wonderful River Tees. So we're going to create a land bridge and you'll be able to walk all the way down to the river.

Colin: This notion of repurposing town and city centres as public spaces isn't that unusual.

Referred to as the 'polo mint economy', this migration of retailers away from high streets seems to be driven by businesses turning their backs on expensive central locations and meeting their customers closer to home.

And this, as Nigel explains, leaves a lot of inner city and town areas primed for other developments, such as parks and open spaces.

Nigel Cooke: I think London is a good example. London, it doesn't have a lot in common with Stockton-on-Tees,, you know, but one of the things I like to do when I go to London is I like to walk. And, uh, if, if I walk up to the, to the city quarter, you'll know this, that place was dead on the weekend anyhow, because nobody was working there. Well it's become that ghost town. But the other thing that I like about London, it doesn't matter whether it's your Hyde park or just one of your little squares, like Soho Square or something like that. Wherever there's greenery in London, people use it and they use it all year round. Everybody knows how packed Hyde Park is in the summer and they have major festivals. But, then you look at that winter festival, you know, cold, wet December and early January and the place is packed out. So. I actually think that green space has always been popular, but you've got to get it right. You know, if you've got, some, if you've got some cold wet park with no security and very few people around on the outskirts of a town, that can be a pretty dangerous unattractive place and I think when you're bringing them to town and city center is there's more people around, it's easy at a light them, you can put with the things in that as well. And, uh, and I think that that actually. Reduces people's anxieties and, and they'll go, they'll go to these spaces.

Colin: But Stockton isn't totally abandoning retail in favour of parks.
Nigel wants to create a centre with a balance of public spaces, housing, and workplaces.

Nigel Cooke: Hopefully, we're going to have a new high street at the end of this, which still has a lot of shopping in it. We have a really strong, independent sector as well. The sort of shops that you won't find it in any other high streets, but the, the big, interesting thing as well is we want a mixture of living, so just on the edge of the high street, we're building it as we speak, a brand new housing development, literally two minutes walk away from the north end of the high street. So we're bringing living space in, we're bringing workspace in as well. We've already successfully converted a few old businesses. McDonald's, they moved out and Stockton high street so we converted that building, restored it to its former glory, and there's now a solicitor's practice in there with 30 people.

Colin: Parks and green spaces are high on the agenda for Stockton Town Council, but they're by no means the sole focus.
Commerce will still be an important part of the high street, though the type of brands present will change - making room for independent and boutique businesses as well.

Nigel Cooke: So we have a smaller theatre which puts on a lot of shores for like local and upcoming bands. It's sort of less than 300 capacity called The Georgian Theatre. We have another wonderful event space called Ark, which, you know, that puts on workshops. It puts on comedy. So I think a strong sector like that is important. We're also quite, we're ok for restaurants. I think when the Globe opens, we'll see a lot more people wanting to convert, maybe ex-retail into restaurants and eateries. So we, we have to see what happens the other side of the COVID obviously, you know, what the world looks like once furlough's not there anymore, we are sort of prepared for that. On um, on pubs. That's quite interesting. We have some traditional pubs in Stockton that literally do only sell beer and crisps, but there's been quite an interesting thing going on in the pub sector in Stockton in recent years. And that is the growth of these micro pubs, they sell more expensive products, you know, I think a pint of beer in a micropub might cost you the thick end of five quid but there's a big cry out for these and the people are beginning to come back into town just to do the micropub circuit. And we've got some local breweries as well. So they're getting a foothold and it's really interesting that. So I'm quite confident that we will have quite a flourishing and leisure and hospitality sector going forward.

Colin: Boutique brands often win out because they offer consumers something special. As Nigel explains: 

Nigel Cooke: I think where we've seen some shops succeed is those that offer an experience. So one of the independent shops we have, it's a shop called Drake's book shop. It's won national awards. Now about three or four years ago, an ex school teacher called Richard Drake, decided at the height of Kindles and the height of Amazon, to open a bookshop. Other book shops were closing and people said to him, are you mad? But he was saying, no, this is a bookshop where you can come in here and talk to me about books. I'll be bringing authors in and they can read the books. We'll be running events for children. You can come in and you can actually get a book off the shelf. It's a bit like a library, have a flick through it and buy your coffee off me at the same time and do that. It's been really successful, this sort of experiential shopping, where, where you don't just go and get something off the shelf and go to the till. You're actually talking to people who were passionate about it. 

Colin: Nigel and Stockton town council have a clear vision for their own town centre moving forward, prioritising outdoor spaces and local businesses.
So what does he feel other towns should do when it comes to reopening or even regenerating their high streets as the country moves past the pandemic?

Nigel Cooke: If you are totally reliant on retail then you haven't really got the best of futures. You'll need to diversify. You need to bring people into your town centre, either to live, either to work or to come to events or to come to wonderful parks. And that's my message.

Colin: Of course, customer experience isn't just important in store. It matters online too.

Adyen's research found that 72% of shoppers believe the online shopping experience is as important as the product they're shopping for.

Vox pop: The user interface of the website…. if it's too complicated and I have to go to too many pages, I get put off, I'd just rather like click and I'm done.

Colin: So by not giving customers a positive e-commerce journey, retailers risk losing sales to competitors, offering the same items with a superior service. 
And this is why David Wynn, CEO of digital transformation specialists, Red Badger, believes that, when it comes to a brand's digital strategy, it should never be an afterthought.

David Wynne: I think the key question is whether the digital strategy sits to the side of the business or at the heart of your business. I think a lot of strategies today for, especially around ecommerce are still bolted on to the side of an existing business. I think businesses that traditionally have operated in physical retail space still see their ecommerce as something they do in addition to the shop, as opposed to ecommerce being the center of their digital strategy. I think what we see quite a lot still is that product lines that companies have set up are designed around floor space still, and that doesn't translate necessarily to a great online strategy. So that's my kind of go-to question to see whether they're really thinking hard enough about their digital strategy.

Colin: A good digital strategy can now serve not just as another sales channel. 
It can provide a practical way to enhance the customer experience through features such as pre-ordering products or even reserving tables and ordering food in a restaurant.

However it’s used, brands need to ensure that their digital offerings actually serve a purpose. For David, there’s a lot to learn from the travel industry: 

David Wynne: If you think about boarding cards, they are just absolutely perfect execution actually of that online check-in, get your boarding card on your phone, straight through the airport is a fabulous journey that it is quite, you know, first time you do it, it's quite exciting actually. I think other brands now are just starting to put loyalty into digital wallet as well. So we've done a lot of work with Nando's building out that digital loyalty card, which operates in your apple wallet or your mobile wallet, and exactly the same way that your payment card does. So that's a great example where you've got one device that you can be paying and get your loyalty card in one place and all of your chili points. In that case, getting a push notifications, telling you when your next free mail is coming is a great seamless experience.

Colin: So how do businesses create useful and valuable online products?
Once again, the key lies in understanding the customer.

Digital products are able to provide detailed insights into the wants and habits of shoppers if brands are prepared to invest in and embrace the enormous amounts of data these services can generate.

David Wynne: I think for years there has been the problem that everyone's had lots of data and really they haven't had the capacity to use it properly. If you're going to own a digital product, you need to have the capability within house to own that properly. You need to invest in running that digital product and a large part of running that digital product is the correct use of that customer data to drive how you take that digital product forward. If you're not willing to make those sorts of investments, you're far better to take something off the shelf and just make sure that you've got a smooth online experience that works properly. But the opportunity you have to take that customer data and they really enhance those touch points and experiences and crucially really kind of weld yourself to your customers so that they genuinely felt like they're having a brand experience with you, and therefore they're much, much more likely to come back to you.

Colin: Digital products present something of a win-win then.
By offering a good online service, brands are able to solve real problems for their customers.

And by customers using digital products, brands are able to collect relevant data to enhance their experiences to attract and hold on to customers.

What’s not to love about that?

And whether they already offer a digital product or want to develop one, David has a checklist of important considerations to ensure businesses build something mutually beneficial to their brand and customer.

David Wynne: I think you've got to think about who owns the customer data. Absolutely key. I think you've got to think about what is it that is at the heart of your brand? And how does that relate to the experience I get online? And then thirdly, I think you've got to think about after-service. So we all think about getting you through checkout, but actually you need to think beyond that, both in terms of what happens when it goes wrong, but also what happens when it goes right. And how do you continue that relationship?

Colin: David's advice centres around keeping things simple and focusing on providing digital products that create real value for the customer.
And nine times out of ten, what customers really want is to not make the wrong choice - a concern that can be solved with the most basic of solutions.

David Wynne: To try and recreate the physical experience online is a mistake. I think you'll spend a lot of money doing things that are probably a bit too difficult and the result will not translate to that checkout. I think that often, it's not about complex technology at that stage, it's just about doing it really well. So I'm amazed at product photography often, especially in luxury that it's not invested in more. Product videos - so those things that allow you to really get a sense of the actual product that you're buying. There's nothing worse than spending, you know, a lot of money on something when you actually open the box, you're slightly deflated. So I think you, the online experience is fantastic for browsing, comparing, looking at ranges and understanding what it is you really want, and whether that really fits what you need in a way that you can't do, you know, especially if you're buying something technical or something, mildly technical, the amount of data that you can process online is far higher than when you're physically in a store. And the ability to augment that with external data as well, be that customer reviews or press reviews or whatever it is as well. It's also just all of those things that are reinforcing factors to help you make a good decision with the product. When you're buying something, the biggest thing people to try and to do is to avoid making a mistake. So online is a great way to empower the users to make a good purchase, such that when they receive that product, they feel confident that they made a good buying decision.

Colin: David brings up an excellent point - customers want to be reassured they've made the right choice once they've received their purchase.

That's important because what many forget is that a customer's online experience doesn't end once they've received a confirmation email.

In fact, it doesn't end until after their purchase has arrived, which means that brands need to focus on everything within their control such as packaging, delivery options and customer support when considering their online experience.

David Wynne: I think there is so much work to do on packaging because everyone has such a heightened awareness of environmental impact today as well. I really judge a brand based on how environmentally friendly their packaging is. So if I receive a tiny product wrapped in bubble wrap and plastic in a big box covered in polystyrene, I'm going to really judge that brand that does not speak to the brand values I thought I was buying from. So there is an awful lot of post-purchase experience to online that a lot of retailers don't consider, and I think there's a lot of work to do in that warehouse department in order to make sure that brand experience is delivered after I've purchased it.

Colin: Packaging is a relatively low tech, but hugely important factor in providing a great online experience.

But what are some emerging technologies that will help businesses to enhance their online products in the future?

David Wynne: The basics matter. And the basics are well solved. I think cardless payment, specifically mobile phone cardless payments, digital wallets, was the last big shift and obviously the pandemic has massively accelerated the use of that. And long may that continue. I think the card is loyalty, so the ability to use that digital wallet for something other than payments is another really exciting shift that's only really just be made up, um, possible by Apple in the last year or so. And there's still very few brands that are taking advantage of that. I think that's really interesting, both from a consumer point of view, but also from a retailers point of view as well. So if we take that example of the Nando's loyalty card, think about the data that you can derive from that. So previously, you had a classic kind of, you know, cardboard stamp, 10th stamp. You get a free meal. Now with the digital loyalty card, Nando's could put a price on the liability of free meals, which is quite fascinating, right? So Previously you would have no idea what that value was. And I think that also gives you a huge pool of customers to reactivate. So if you've got thousands of customers sat there with nine stamps and they need their 10th stamp to get a free chicken, that's a fantastic reactivation tool. So I think again, those little digital touch points that are actually seem quite small result in huge leaps of things you can then do to build on top of those.

Colin: David has demonstrated that developing digital products to enhance customer experience is mutually beneficial.

Customers are more easily reminded of offers they're eligible for and businesses can accurately target and reactivate shoppers to return to stores or restaurants.

Reactivating customers is important - both instore and online. But before you get there, you need to close the sale in the first place! 

Cart abandonment can be a real issue for brands. The Adyen retail report found that 29% of shoppers will abandon their purchase if the checkout process is too long and complicated.

Sam Allan, conversion expert  at Adyen, explains  what he believes to  be the key factors of a user-friendly online checkout process.

Sam Allan: I think, first of all, when you put that item into your basket, you will look at the options of the products because often that can be quite frustrating when you look at an item and then you go onto and see actually your size isn't in stock. And what I do like as well is I think if you look at websites like JD sports and Schuh, they have lots of reviews on the product. So see what other consumers are saying about that product. You know, Amazon have done an incredible job of that. And often we'll go on Amazon and we look at what other people are saying on the products. And now we see retailers also doing those reviews. Uh, it's all really about speed. So making that whole sort of process as slick as possible. Um, you want it as few steps to get to that conversion. What I like to always see is a progress indicator on the checkout. So keeping it three or four steps.

Sam Allan: When the first lockdown happened, I was going on American Golf's website. And what they do really well is they show that when you put something into your basket, they say someone who bought this item also bought this item, and then you start looking and then before you know, it, you've put quite a few, um, items in your basket. So really trying to up-sale I think is key. I think when you then start filling out your address details, you'll notice now that. A lot of brands ask for your postcode straight away, and then immediately pre-populates your address. Whereas previously you'd have to really fill all of that out. I'd also want to see a persistence or basket summary as well. So often you'll see when you add items into your basket, on the right hand side, they'll give you an update of what it totals, and then you may start adding things into your basket and think actually I haven't finished the purchase, I'd actually like to look at some more items. So a few years ago, this used to happen where you'd put something into your basket and think I haven't finished, and then there would be no option to continue. So often you'll select the back button and then you go onto the main page again, and it's removed the items from your basket and all these things can, can just sort of lose your patience really. And I think with some brands as well, I still see today where they were immediately asking for your email address so if they do drop off, they will then email you saying, oh, we noticed that you, uh, abandoned the car. And I think stats show that about 15% of people who get that email. Do you actually go back onto the site, but myself, I would be that person that would always select the guest checkout. So if you can have the guest checkout option as well, I think that's really important.

Colin: Providing a valuable and positive online experience encourages people to come back for more. But before you can convert them into loyal customers, you have to get them through the checkout.

We're all too aware of the feeling of mistrust we experience when an online checkout just doesn't look quite right. That’s  why businesses need to practice good security measures and demonstrate them  throughout the purchasing process.

Sam Allan: I think there's just so many fraudsters out there and they're getting cleverer and cleverer about that, the way that they do things. So it's very important from a very early stage on your journey with the consumer, as soon as they hit that website, that you really demonstrate that they should feel comfortable and secure. So having those trusted seals, those security badges or Norton badge, or a McAfee or a geo trust, like a third party security validation really should help give that consumer the peace of mind that, yep, this is a secure website. Having terms and conditions as well. Um, clear processes on returns. Um, I think chatbox is a really good. And I think having early on as well, like I said before, those, those payment options, you know, seeing that visa, MasterCard, American express Klarna, et cetera, those badges earlier on, and even sometimes, you know, you might want to state who you're using for payments, you know? And so then that consumer can search and if they, you know, happens to be Adyen or Worldpay or whoever they can see, okay, yeah, they're a recognizable company. I'm comfortable with them taking my cardholder details.

Colin: So, as we’ve learned, experience is everything. But it's important to know your customers and remove the guess-work so you can deliver the experiences your customers actually want, whether online or in store. 

And, as we explored in previous episodes, there are plenty of opportunities for learning more about your customers through digital interactions.

Throughout the series we've explored how retail has changed over the last decade and during the pandemic.

Consumer habits have evolved. Shoppers, in the face of national lockdowns  , pivoted to online channels, although many still crave the physical experience of shopping or dining out. 

Digital payments technology has seen year’s worth of adoption driven partly by convenience and partly by the need for social distancing.  

Omnichannel shopping, or unified commerce, as we like to call it, is becoming the norm as customers increasingly expect seamless cross-channel  transactions - whether that's returning online purchases in store or collecting loyalty points easily online.

Customers are more willing to stick with brands that meet their expectations. And thanks to technology such as payment-linked loyalty, brands are able to capture  more data to elevate customer experiences, wherever they are.

So, what’s next? Join us next time as we explore what the future has in store.

Rory Sutherland: One of the things I'd recommend that businesses could now do is they could adopt just a much more collaborative approach with other businesses to say, what are the problems which are effectively collective problems, sector problems, category problems that we can solve together rather than always operating in direct competition.

Colin: That’s next time on Retail Reawakened

You’ve been listening to Retail Reawakened, I’m your host Colin Neil.
If you want to find out more about delivering great customer experiences , head over to adyen.com/ukretailreport and download our  latest research.

A big thanks to Jon Weg, Tony Longhurst, Nigel Cooke, David Wynne and Sam Allan for their contributions today.

And join us next time for the final episode in the series as we look to the future of the UK high street. 

I’ll see you then!
 

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