Q&A with Adyen: Navigating beyond peak season

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By Published On: December 15, 20220 Comments

Adyen AUNZ Country Manager Hayley Fisher talks through Adyen’s latest report to help retailers be prepared for the busy shopping season and beyond.

It seems like there’s no definitive period for peak season with it spanning right through the last quarter of the year. How can retailers ensure they’re prepared for when consumers are ready to spend?

Success in peak season, or indeed at any time of year, is about adaptability. While most retailers have a fair idea of their true peak period – from previous years’ performance
metrics, subvertical trends, customer preferences, and their own promotion plans – consumers don’t make purchase decisions like they used to. Their journey to checkout is no longer this predictable, linear thing, and brands need to have the right setup to be able to adjust to this reality. The past few years in particular have given consumers a taste for a new level of retail flexibility. Our 2022 Retail Report found that 61% of consumers think retailers should continue to deliver the same cross-channel flexibility they experienced during the pandemic. And if they don’t, an even higher percentage of shoppers will drop off and not return, regardless of the channel.

Brands have to be prepared to deliver a seamless and flexible purchase experience whenever and wherever their customers are ready to buy. Can you quickly add a buy, now,
pay later option to your checkout? Can you cater to different currencies? Can you sell via social media? Having the right payments setup in place can expand retailers’ access to new sales channels, varied payment methods, and more convenient purchase, return, and exchange offerings.

Consumer data indicates omnichannel strategy is increasingly vital. How can retailers keep consumer experiences seamless while managing multiple channels?

Our research shows that Australian shoppers favour brands that link online, in-store, and in-app payments in a single system. Retailers leveraging unified commerce – a single platform connecting a company’s physical and digital channels via its backend systems – proved more resilient during the pandemic, with nearly half of businesses surveyed reporting unified commerce improved customer experience and loyalty, and increased sales. All too often, conversions can be lost in the cracks of legacy systems, clunky UX, or disruptive authentication. Having all your channels connected via a single platform ensures you can maintain the level of control, security, and flexibility required to tap into that non- linear customer journey and deliver a seamless experience every time.

How can retailers determine what payment methods can work for them across multiple channels?

Deciding what multichannel payment methods to integrate is a matter of asking 1. Does this method actually work across multiple channels? 2. What methods do my customers want and expect and 3. Does my current payments setup support it?

Retailers should always look to their customers, their region, and their business model to determine what payment methods will work best. Cards dominate the Australian payments landscape, both in-store and online, but the majority of in-store transactions are contactless these days. Alternative payment methods are also growing in popularity. Digital wallets including Apple Pay and Google Pay ™ are growing. Aussies are also very much aboard the ‘buy now, pay later’ train, with the likes of Afterpay, Klarna, and Zip seeing increasing uptake.

Should retailers focus on refining existing payment systems or is following trends better for customer experience?

Following trends for the sake of following trends is never a good idea when it comes to tech investment. It’s of course important for retailers to deliver the most modern, convenient experience possible, and that can include offering the latest popular payment experiences, but only if they make sense for their customers, staff, and business ambitions.
It’s best to get the foundation right before adding all the bells and whistles. Cut out cumbersome legacy tech, consolidate your sales channels into one payment system, and keep things simple for yourself.

How can retailers best make use of unified commerce?

Unified commerce can help retailers to track purchases across channels using payment information, making it seamless. An obvious example of this is offering easy buy-online, return in-store services, but there’s also click and collect, pay-by-link, and endless aisle offerings. And things start to get really interesting for retailers utilising cross-channel data. Think payment-linked loyalty programs, intelligent authentication, and personalised offers based on data-driven insights.
When you have a full and connected view of your payments you can make better business decisions, improve operations, and predict and exceed customer expectations in whole new ways. These are the things that not only optimise your checkout in peak season – they help build long-lasting loyalty.

Building customer loyalty early is key, is peak season too late for customer acquisition, or is this the time to double down on it?

Peak season is a great opportunity for retailers to show customers what makes them unique, whether that’s through quality products, a seamless checkout, an awesome loyalty program, or a dedication to ESG. This is your chance to recognise and reward returning customers, while showcasing your brand to a whole array of new ones. Think about how to give your customers a personalised experience regardless of where they may begin or end their purchase journey. Leveraging sales data can inform peak season preparation, ensuring your’e able to optimise promotions both instore and online, streamline loyalty programs, welcome a new demographic of shoppers, acquire new customers, and retain existing ones..

To get your copy of a guide to peak season growth in Australia click here.

About the Author: Rosalea Catterson

Rosalea is the Editor of Power Retail. With a keen interest in consumer behaviour and tech, she covers everything ecommerce and hosts the Power Retail Power Talks Podcast.

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