Merve Tezel hosted the “Shopping Futures” session at our flagship client event “Visa Futures 2016” in June. Read her thoughts about the exciting developments in the world of retail, and catch up on some of our other Shopping Futures articles here.
There’s never been a more exciting time in retail, with the shopping experience so rapidly evolving. The multitude of new channels and the changing habits of consumers requires a new set of skills to manage the omni-channel experience. Concurrently, the twin forces of digitalisation and globalisation are spurring a change in almost every spending category.
The moment of truth for payments takes place at the point of sale – making partnerships with retailers is a critical success factor in creating the desired frictionless experience for the consumer.
At Visa, we feel very strongly that this kind of partnership, powered by technology, should be nurtured, because we need retailers to offer up Visa as their preferred payment choice. To do that we must understand how retail is evolving and the consumer’s developing needs.
Some very recent qualitative research conducted by Visa in April 2016 indicates that operational efficiency and achieving a single view of the customer are at the top of retailers’ agendas. Additionally, it showed they were concerned with knowing what aspects of the increasingly complex world of payments to invest in, while keeping up with innovation. Mobile investment, with a heavy focus on developing in-app payments, dominates the innovation agenda in retail.
It’s relevant to our clients
Visa remains committed to the four party model, which respects the roles of both Visa and the acquirer in adding value to retailers. However, Visa is engaging directly with retail clients in order to better serve their needs and develop new solutions. For many of our global clients, Visa also plays a pivotal role as the common point of contact across multiple geographies and multiple acquirers.
Across the globe, Visa is responding to retailers’ evolving needs and delivering solutions to their new user interface and customer experience propositions.
Needless to say, the world moves at a different pace depending on the market, with some regions still focussed on developing the basics of payment and acceptance, while others are fast moving to new futuristic models powering next-generation experiences. Even in Europe, 60% of retail payments are still settled in cash, presenting a massive opportunity for all of us in the industry, merchant or not. Everywhere, e-comm, m-comm and omni-channel are racing ahead of the traditional channels. And globally, there is a growing frequency of “commerce moments” powered by mobile and innovative services.
Three themes of innovation
The innovations our merchants are undertaking revolve broadly around three themes, with some examples giving us a glimpse of the opportunities and challenges around them:
- The Physical Reinvention of Retail: Simple point-of-sale changes like less hardware have the ability to fundamentally change the payment experience. Geolocation and store services on mobile will enhance the shopping experience. “Order ahead” has knock-on effects to in-store layout while augmented reality or virtual reality have the potential to turn everything on its head.
- The Power of Data: The ability to personalise the consumer experience is now possible on a whole new scale. There is ample opportunity to harness data in meaningful ways to truly enhance the retail experience, but this will no doubt have impacts on the POS experience, the in-store layout and more that retailers need to consider and design.
- Mobile Everything: A BI Intelligence report states that, by 2020, US consumers are expected to spend $284 billion on mobile transactions, comprising about 45% of total US e-commerce that year. Mobile has implications for practically all aspects of commerce, from m-commerce, in-store experience, showrooming, loyalty…
Then there are drones, robots, biometrics and more…
The challenge is determining which innovations to focus on, and we’re helping our merchants do that. Success in retail will always boil down to knowing your customers, and being able to meet or exceed their needs and expectations.
Visa is committed to helping merchants thrive and increase sales, leveraging data and analytics, reducing complexity and making it easier to do business with Visa, ultimately becoming a strategic partner. This sometimes comes in the form of helping change basic consumer behaviour – from cash to cards – and in other times helping our clients and merchants power the innovations in retail and digital delivery. The new generation of shopping requires a seamless experience delivered in a personalised fashion across channels, and the role of Visa in ensuring an embedded, secure and frictionless experience is paramount.