While the pandemic sped up the adoption of online shopping, it also created a renewed desire for in-store experiences after they were restricted for so long.
A 2022 survey found seven-in-ten (67%) Canadians are shopping less in stores nowadays than before the pandemic began back in March 2020. However, if given a choice between shopping in a brick-and-mortar store or online, two-thirds (65%) of Canadian consumers prefer to wander the aisles and purchase items off the shelf.
The conflicting preferences of today’s consumer calls for an integrated shopping experience that not only keeps consumers coming back, but also keeps up with the shifting demands of Canada’s retail landscape. This trend has given rise to a new era of retail – unified commerce.
Unified commerce, a relatively new term, is the concept of a seamless customer experience powered by the integration of online and in-store payments on the same platform. By having all data centralized in one system, retailers can build a comprehensive view of the customer’s behavior and shopping patterns, allowing them to provide personalized recommendations and promotions to drive customer loyalty and engagement.
Unified commerce provides retailers with both a fulsome picture of their overarching business as well as the unique trends and habits of returning shoppers. Through the use of data about an individual’s shopping experience, both in person and online, retailers can elevate the shopping experience on all platforms. The better the retail experience, the more loyal customers will be – 44% of businesses say a benefit of unified commerce is increased customer loyalty.
The challenge in today’s retail landscape is that many retailers have built their brick and mortar channels completely separate from their e-commerce platforms, especially those who were playing catch up as pandemic restrictions forced their businesses online.
Consumers are impacted by this disconnect in many ways, from difficulties getting a refund on items they bought online but returned in-person, to frequent online customers not receiving the same personalized experience when they shop in-store. In an industry where customer satisfaction and experience is key, brands must address this gap if they want to survive.
The key to transcending physical and digital boundaries is behind-the-scenes in a retailer’s payment technology. At Adyen, we have worked with global brands such as Levis’ and Crocs as well as with many Canadians brands, from winter outfitter Moose Knuckles to home décor retailer Bouclair, to integrate their payments on the backend in order to create a seamless customer experience.
The result is a win-win – on the customer side, shoppers can enjoy more flexibility and a tailored experience as you’re meeting them where they’re at. From a brand perspective, unified commerce allows retailers to track performance across channels and regions to make informed business decisions.
For example, if a retailer notices a growing demand in online orders from a city where they have no brick-and-mortar presence, they might trial a pop-up location in the city to see if it gains traction amongst their customer base there.
Through payment technology, unified commerce is enabling retailers to build deeper connections with their customers and differentiate themselves from competitors in an increasingly crowded market. It is no longer a question of ‘if’ retailers need to invest in payment technology, but instead ‘when.’