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Shopping is changing – whether we like it or not

By Davor Kršul, Country Manager: Croatia • Visa Europe

May 03, 2016

We have been looking at how the evolving world of retail is characterised by new formats and models (both in-store and online),as well as the needs and wants of the consumer through local market events across Europe. In this series of #ShoppingFutures articles we explore retail innovation and what this means for payments.

Paying isn’t fun, but buying can be, so there’s a lot of room for making payments fast, easy and frictionless. This is as true in Croatia as in all markets.

That’s part of the reason why, when we invited stakeholders to discuss Shopping Futures, a great turnout didn’t surprise us. Croats love new technology, especially everything connected to mobile and social networks.

Since engaging with stakeholders and collecting information is very important for Visa Europe, we were very happy to organise an event for our stakeholders and discuss Shopping Futures. The event, held in March in Zagreb, gathered members, as well as representatives from the retail industry.

The discussion was very lively, with stakeholders agreeing that futuristic payment methods and shopping experiences are definitely things that consumers, especially younger people, want and fully embrace.

For the moment, one of the key trends, as a representative from the largest retailer in Croatia emphasised, is the desire to cut waiting times in the checkout line. This is an area where we already make a difference. Our technology allows self-checkout and self-scan, and, even more importantly, contactless payments and the option of paying by phone.

Retailers and Visa Europe members identified the need for in-store staff training, as many cashiers in Croatia still don’t recognise contactless payments as something that could make their job easier, so don’t promote their use to consumers. As a result, consumers are still predominantly using cash, especially for small value payments.

The attendees agreed that the key opportunity to change this habit has finally arrived.

In conclusion, one of the attendees said that the world of payment is changing, whether we like it or not. Millennials in Croatia are the same as the millennials all over the world – they expect more when shopping. Some of the expectations and trends may be scary for the older generation, but the pace of change in the payments industry is remarkable and everybody can expect further innovations very soon.

Whether in a physical store or through digital channels, customers are looking to be surprised and delighted by their retail experience. This is true for customers in Croatia, as it is in other markets.

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