More than two-thirds of consumers worldwide say Unified Commerce is a key factor when choosing where to shop
- Digital payments are now predominant in the purchasing process – with over 90% of UK and global consumers having used cashless payment methods both online and in-store
- Over three-quarters of consumers surveyed are willing to share personal data in return for incentives
- Physical stores remain relevant to the modern shopper, but how merchants interact with customers has changed and is inherent to their success
Despite the worldwide boom in online retail over the past years, shopping in physical stores is still key for consumers worldwide – but only if the purchasing experience integrates all sales channels, innovative technology and data-driven incentives. These findings are part of a Wirecard-commissioned global study of 4,500 consumers in eight countries, which the global innovation leader for digital financial technology has released in advance of Black Friday.
“Our research has revealed that consumers clearly desire choice when completing purchases. Consumers shop in many different ways nowadays and this is challenging merchants to meet a wide range of retail demands,” commented Markus Eichinger, EVP Group Strategy at Wirecard. “A lot of focus is put on pricing, but not necessarily on the flexibility customers seek. A unified commerce strategy, with a focus on a consistent and frictionless buying journey, is integral to offering consumers the experience they would expect from any modern retailer. In the future, brick and mortar stores will only exist if they are technologically advanced with the latest in-store innovations and a fully integrated e-commerce backend.”
- Consumers need consistent offerings across all sales channels:
While 70% of UK shoppers preferred to purchase in-store over the past 12 months, compared to buying online and picking up in store (BOPIS) (42%), on desktop sites (37%), and mobile apps and sites (27%), the research shows that consistent cross-channel experiences are vital to consumers. 9-in-10 either research the products they want to purchase online before buying in-store afterwards (93%) or vice versa (88%). Australians are most likely to shop in-store (81%), while mobile apps are especially popular in Hong Kong (59%) and Singapore (53%). Cross-channel product research is particularly important to Brazilians with almost 60% saying they do this for all or almost all purchases. The ultimate choice where to purchase depends on what is being bought: while 71% of UK consumers buy groceries in-store for example, when it comes to holidays, the majority (60%) are buying online.
- Merchants not offering Unified Commerce possibilities will lose out:
The rise in popularity of more advanced cross-channel purchasing options, such as BOPIS, further supports this finding. More than two-thirds (73%) of UK respondents say that if a brand or merchant doesn’t offer these kinds of options, it would influence their decision to shop there. In Hong Kong, this figure even exceeded 90%.
- Shoppers are “always on” so maintaining an up-to-date online shop is key:
While physical stores are the preferred buying location, how and when people find goods varies, with online browsing offering shoppers the most convenience. Consumers will shop online most often while they are relaxing (78%), watching TV (66%) – significantly higher than the global figure (48%) or in bed (37%). Especially the French like to shop online when on holiday (33%), considerably more than the global average of 22%.
- Consumers appreciate data-driven services and offerings:
The vast majority of consumers value data-driven, customer-centric value-added services with loyalty programs being used by 93% of those surveyed in the UK. Over three-quarters of UK consumers reported that they would be willing to give retailers personal information in exchange for incentives such as a larger discount. This is particularly true in Hong Kong, where this figure reached 85%, with 95% of consumers using loyalty programs.
- Cashless payments are omnipresent:
Nearly all (94%) of UK respondents are now using cashless payment methods when they shop in physical stores. When it comes to online shopping, 94% stated that they have chosen digital payment options. The main reasons for paying cashless in-store are speed (40%) and convenience (27%). When making an online purchase, security reasons were the main driver (37%) for paying digitally. For online purchases, security is the main driver behind cashless payments in the UK (46%). While card payments remain the most popular method for cashless payments worldwide, mobile wallets are significantly more popular in Asia with an average of 45% of consumers in Hong Kong and Singapore regularly choosing this payment method versus the global average of 25%.
“Retailers that want to engage with their customers via targeted offers, and improve their service across all channels need to leverage on customer data. Our report shows that if customers can see a concrete benefit when it comes to providing personal information, they are willing to share it with retailers, thus providing merchants critical data which they can analyze to optimize their offerings and improve customer loyalty,” continued Markus Eichinger.
The Wirecard digital financial commerce platform allows merchants worldwide to easily combine their distribution channels and meet the needs of today’s consumers. Wirecard offers a constantly expanding ecosystem of real-time value-added services built around innovative digital payments.
The Wirecard Global Shopping Report 2019 is based on the results of an independent survey carried out by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Wirecard in October and November 2019. A total of 4,500 consumers over the age of 18 in select countries like Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S. provided answers.