Retail Trends: Guillaume Arnal, Offer Manager for the Retail Segment at Worldline
What are the top retail trends to watch in 2023?
The biggest trends that all businesses can count on for 2023 are undoubtedly change and innovation and those in the retail industry are no exception. With e-commerce as well as in person retail moving faster than ever before, technological transformation and shifting consumer expectations are leading the charge. Embracing these changes will help retailers get ahead of the curve and thrive in 2023 and beyond but staying abreast of what to look out for can be challenging as a merchant. Guillaume Arnal, Marketing Manager/Retail Market, Merchant Services at Worldline rounds up some of the key trends to watch in this useful guide.
E-commerce is here to stay
E-commerce exploded in 2019 with the pandemic acting as the major accelerator and technology making it easier than ever to sell online. As a result, analysts expect the global ecommerce industry to grow to $8.1 trillion by 2026, increasing from $5.7 trillion in 2022. Even as consumers have, to some extent, returned to in-person shopping, they simply aren’t ready to give up the convenience that shopping online provided them in terms of making digital payments. Instead of returning to previous ways of paying, consumers are sticking with the same behaviours they picked up during COVID-19. They’re opting for digital payments over traditional cash and credit card options and it’s a trend we can expect to see continue. The checkout process is now one of the most important parts of the sales journey, but what does that mean for businesses? It means that it is time to focus on a strategic commitment to ecommerce, as we increasingly approach a retail economy in which online shopping is a non-negotiable consumer desire.
Self-service checkout options
Where consumers are selecting in-store experiences, they expect the fastest and most efficient journey, with self-service checkouts being a major driver of this demand. The global self-service checkout market was already worth $3.44 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at an annual compound growth rate of 13.3% between 2022 and 2023.
Driving the demand are factors such as the increasing costs of bricks and mortar retail space, longer consumer queue times, labour shortage and costs, rising labour costs and consumer desire for a more tailored, autonomous shopping experience. Simultaneously, retailers are trying to find ways to automate processes and save costs.
The rise of omnichannel retail
We are entering a “phygital” world where there aren’t solely physical or digital retail environments but rather completely connected ones. Enter the omnichannel experience.
Omnichannel retail is an approach to commerce that focuses on providing shoppers with a unified experience across digital and physical channels, from browsing to order fulfilment. This approach is based on the premise that integrating multiple touchpoints adds extra value and is greater than the sum of its individual parts.
When it comes to developing an omnichannel strategy there is no one-size-fits-all method. Each retailer should adjust the strategy to its customer base. But no matter which tactics companies use, the goal is to ensure consumers can seamlessly transition from one channel to another. And as they enjoy this experience, consumers become more engaged with the brand.
Delivering the best customer experience as part of omnichannel retail is all about being everywhere your consumers are. But seamlessly serving shoppers across a growing range of touchpoints is no mean feat. Fortunately, there is an abundance of new technologies making it easy to set up shops, connect with audiences, enhance customer experiences, and even deliver products. But arguably the most important part to get right is the checkout process. This is where omnichannel payment processing comes in. There are many benefits to a true end-to-end, omnichannel platform for payments and financing. One of the most notable advantages of omnichannel payment processing platforms in retail is the ability to seamlessly integrate financing products into the payment interface. This means that retailers can easily allow consumers to leverage the different types of consumer financing such as Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) through the same exact user interface that they use to simply make a purchase.
Digital wallets and alternative payments become the norm
It’s no secret that contactless payments have fuelled digitalisation in retail. This form of payment has increased dramatically over the past few years, to the point that contactless now represents over half of the total of transaction volumes in some areas. As of October 2021, the total number of transactions made using contactless cards in the UK amounted to over 1.3 billion. But besides contactless, other alternative payment methods are also gaining popularity.
Apple Pay, Google Pay, Shop Pay, and other digital wallet options are now a common fixture alongside other traditional payment options at the checkout counter. If, as a retailer, you don’t offer consumers the option to use a digital wallet, you’re limiting the ways they can pay you. Paying by phone has become a convenient way for shoppers to make purchases in an instant, whether they’re in-store or buying online. By 2023, it is estimated that more than four billion global consumers will shop using their digital wallets.
Meanwhile, BNPL has exploded over the past couple of years. Financial uncertainty during the pandemic led to an influx of apps that let consumers spread payments over time, and the trend created a win-win situation for both brands and shoppers. Retailers can convert more customers by promising lower initial payments and shoppers can invest in higher-priced products without finding themselves in financial difficulty.
And let us not forget the renaissance of the QR code. QR codes seemed to fizzle out prior to COVID-19, only to return as businesses attempted to limit cross-contamination through money, tickets, and receipts. Today, QR codes are prevalent in a range of environments and provide shoppers with many benefits such as new payment methods, loyalty enrolment, discounts, exclusive product access, queue skipping and delivery options.
More and more consumers now not only trust but rely on digital payments and see them as the most convenient way to make purchases. Buyers who once never considered using a digital app to pay for things are now using smartphones to pay without so much as a second thought. In 2023, consumers will expect businesses to give them options when it comes to making payments. They will also expect to see more of those payment methods as consumer needs continue to change and retailers adapt to meet those needs.
What’s for certain is that the coming years will demand retailers to be flexible and agile. The biggest challenge then, for business, will be finding ways to meet these demands through technology, innovation and by following the hottest retail trends.
For more information please visit: Worldline Retail Suite (worldline.com)
After 22 years of launching complex projects with different large groups in the technology sector, Guillaume Arnal is now Offer Manager for the Retail Segment at Worldline. With an engineering background and an MBA from Sorbonne University, Guillaume is passionate about product innovation, digitalisation, and payment services. He understands the new use cases and tries to adapt them into marketing offers, to help merchants with their new challenges.
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