The way people shop for goods and services has morphed and evolved massively over the past few years, as global consumers slowly transition from omnichannel shopping to hybrid shopping. These days, consumers are moving in droves towards ‘zero tolerance’ when it comes to their shopping expectations, whether that be online, offline, or a combination of both.
According to numerous experts, the future of shopping is a hybrid model that needs to be understood well for any company wanting to compete in today’s competitive and rapidly changing market. For today’s savvy shoppers, online and offline are more or less the same; the perfect blend of ultimate convenience and interconnected shopping. As the Covid-19 pandemic slowly transforms from breaking news into history, the way people worldwide consume products has changed forever. We may reminisce about the era before lockdown, where a day on the high street or shopping for winter clothes at a mall was normal. Nowadays, many customers want to order online and receive their items by mail or courier.
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While traditional retail shopping in its original format may be on its way to becoming extinct, the truth is that retail is evolving and finding its place within the post-pandemic reality. This reality also applies worldwide and includes the West and continents with massive population swathes, such as Africa and Latin America. Retailers are rising to the challenge robustly and without complaint, adjusting their business models in the present to ensure that everyone benefits in the future. The increased use of digital tools in retail outlets is crucial to the changes. Whether that’s touch screen checkouts, other applications that reduce friction, or gimmicks that stimulate shoppers to spend more, the opportunities are endless.
Interconnected shopping experiences
As shoppers demand the best service from start to finish, compromises like long waiting times are not high on their priorities. Many wish to commence their shopping experience online so they can browse at their leisure and compare products and prices. According to research, around 66% of shoppers across most markets do their due diligence online before venturing out to hit the stores. This gives consumers confidence as they feel empowered and not pressured to make a purchase, as so many often do when faced with a sweet-tongued sales assistant in-store. Those same shoppers may also check rating stars and reviews before they take their journey further and buy. The fact that the same survey found that 84% of shoppers made an in-store purchase after seeing an item on social media speaks volumes about the current state of shopping.
Hybrid purchasing applies to different scenarios. These include hybrid shopping models such as buying online and picking up in-store, which is growing in popularity. Buying items in-store and having them delivered is another shopping approach that’s becoming more popular. The inescapable fact is that accessing products, stock numbers, and sizes is easier online than offline. Many consumers find one of the most annoying aspects of offline shopping to be the frustration associated with finding the perfect item in-store but not being able to find it in the preferred size or color or finding it out of stock. Similarly, around 67% of shoppers say they would return to retail outlets that feature QR-code technology in-store that checks product availability.
Leveraging digital solutions
For many consumers, in-store browsing is the number one factor that leads to spontaneous purchases that weren’t planned in advance. We’ve all been there, looking around shops in the mall and saying we’re just browsing, only to then be drawn in by the new season’s shoe collection and unable to resist the temptation. One increasingly popular way to leverage digital payment solutions in-store is the techno-marriage between QR-code scanning and social media. One example is for large brand stores that want to promote their new collection to do so by placing QR codes around retail outlets. When the codes are scanned by shoppers, they are taken to a fancy Instagram page where sneak peeks of the new items are featured. The possibilities for amazing in-store experiences for the best shopping journeys through QR codes and other technology is the future for retail, in one form or another.
Zotapay (Zota) helps global companies with our gold-standard online payment solutions, enabling them to pivot and adjust to any situation. Contact us for more information about our range of payment services.