Connect with us

Business

Retail is dying, but not dead

Published

on

PSD2 GOES LIVE IN EUROPE ON JANUARY 13, MAY SIGNAL PROFOUND CHANGES IN RETAIL BANKING INDUSTRY

Peter Keenan, CEO of payments marketplace APEXX, explores the rapid decline of the high street, and payments’ role in saving it

  1. So what’s the problem?

Traditional retail is dying and it seems there’s no denying it.

Peter Keenan CEO APEXX – sitting at desk

Peter Keenan CEO APEXX – sitting at desk

In fact, the Doomsday Report from the Centre for Retail Research found that a staggering 61,000 stores have closed since 2012. Rather alarmingly, the report highlights 2018 as the worst year since the financial crash as it is predicted that 71,602 stores will have shut up shop by the end of December and a further 31,000 stores are predicted to close by the end of 2022.

But this isn’t all that surprising.

We live in a day where consumers can find and order products in minutes and get them delivered the next day – leading to the popularity and success of brands like Amazon and ASOS.

But many businesses haven’t made the leap from trusted shop around the corner to the slick ecommerce outfit that is required today. It’s businesses like these which fail to adapt and have outdated and inefficient processes that won’t just be left behind, but cease to exist.

Big brands that have defined the high street for years are disappearing at an alarming rate. We’ve already lost the likes of Toys R Us and JJB, while brands like New Look Mothercare and even Marks and Spencer are all closing masses of stores in an attempt to stay above water.

And while they may serve very different products, their problem is the same. They have failed to keep up with the rapidly developing digital economy.

  1. Why can’t businesses avoid the ecommerce revolution?

Ecommerce is not just something businesses ‘should have’ – it is an area of fierce competition and a vehicle to drive success.

As Blockbuster learnt the hard way when they turned down the opportunity to buy Netflix for only $50 million in 2000, businesses shouldn’t be simply online or offline. With so much competition out there, the differentiator is no longer the product, but the customer experience and the ease of making a purchase.

Businesses’ online payment offering should be an extension of their online stores. Purchasing a product should be as simple as the process of walking into a store, paying at the counter, and walking straight back out.

And while business strive to improve efficiencies and reduce costs in every area, what is one of the most important aspects – payments – is too often overlooked.

Whether you’re an independent on a multinational business, your online offering needs to equal or surpass the competition if you are to survive in the current climate.

In a globally connected world there are massive opportunities for businesses to thrive. But many businesses are failing to capitalise on this. Too often, international customers have their transactions declined or cancelled while they struggle to use ecommerce platforms that aren’t suited to their local markets.

Consumers expect the same seamless payments experience and processes wherever they are in the world and if they don’t receive this, they buy elsewhere and whether your goal is trying to survive locally or scale globally, losing customers is damaging.

If businesses fail to recognise the importance of their payments systems, we’ll only continue to see the retail sector crumble and high street choice fade.

  1. How is the retail arena evolving?

When streamlining operational costs is a focus for every business, online payments is rarely the first thing to come to mind, simply because the payments ecosystem has been too difficult to navigate.

Modern tech changes everything, merchants are able to explore the global payments market so they can integrate with multiple acquirers, automatically routing any payments through the best acquirer to fit their specific needs. In turn this allows retailers to increase sales, dramatically increase conversion rates, maximise payments performance, reduce the cost of accepting payments, and, as a result, increase sales by passing on lower costs to their customers.

By integrating with multiple acquirers, retailers can offer hassle-free payments to customers anywhere in the world. In fact, everyone wins. Not only are checkout processes faster and more efficient but retailers also access lower payments processing costs. These can be passed on to customers without affecting profit margins and make customers much more likely to return.

As the market continues to become increasingly globalised and competitive, businesses that embrace change will excel while those who don’t are likely to become an anecdote in a cautionary tale.

About APEXX (www.apexxfintech.com)

APEXX was founded by acquiring and payment-technology experts with a mission to simplify global commerce through technology. APEXX is agnostic to which members of the payments industry we work with, so our customers can benefit from the full capabilities of all their services collectively. We do not compete with our own suppliers.

The APEXX team aspires to always be on the leading edge of new payment technologies and products, so that our merchant partners are always able to accept the ways their customers want to spend. With an incomparable network of contacts in the payment space internationally, APEXX enables customers to expand with both the ease and comfort of experienced consulting.

APEXX has already won the support of a host of high profile international partners including Alipay, iZettle, NTT DATA, Visa iPay88, Payvision, Credorax, SIX payment services, Paysafe Group, Processing.Com, Transact Europe, CardStream and JetPay.

Business

Retailers need to deliver better rewards to ensure customer loyalty

Published

on

Retailers need to deliver better rewards to ensure customer loyalty 1
  • 62% feel retailers need to improve the ways they reward consumers for shopping with them
  • 55% believe that loyalty programmes rarely offer them the things they actually want or would use
  • 48% want retailers to focus on making the shopping experience better for them, rather than a loyalty programme

Rewards programmes are not delivering on their promise to drive customer loyalty for retailers, according to the latest research from Adyen, the payments platform of choice for many of the world’s leading companies. The majority of customers (55%) say that rewards programmes do not offer things they actually want and that customer experience holds almost equal influence when it comes to loyalty (48%). 

 

The findings come from a report conducted by Adyen exploring how agility will be key for the retail sector as it emerges from the Coronavirus pandemic. The research polled more than 2,000 consumers in the UK in 2020.

 

The results showed that, while rewards and loyalty schemes are still welcomed by many customers, the majority (62%) feel that retailers need to improve how they reward their shoppers.

 

“Every customer counts – especially in the context of the pandemic. Anything retailers can do to keep customers coming back for more is worth exploring. But it goes beyond a loyalty or rewards scheme. The customer experience, both online and in store really matters. Making it as easy as possible to shop is equally as important as other incentives. And, if you do go down the rewards route, a one-size-fits-all approach rarely delivers. You must make the effort to understand your customers and offer something they really want,” said Myles Dawson, UK Managing Director, Adyen.

 

Nearly half of the respondents (48%) want retailers to focus on making the shopping experience better for them, rather than delivering a loyalty programme.  When it comes to an experience that will drive loyalty, customers want a seamless link between online and physical stores. 60% of consumers said they would be more loyal to retailers that let them buy out of stock items in store and have them shipped directly to their home. And 53% said they would be more loyal to retailers that let people buy online and return in store.

 

“The high street is under increasing competition from online retailers who put convenience and usability at the centre of their customer experience. To succeed now, businesses must harness the best of their physical and digital worlds to create amazing experiences. This will increase conversions and also raise the prospects of customer loyalty.

 

“For those consumers that want loyalty schemes, it must be as seamless and easy as possible. 61% of respondents were more likely to shop with a retailer that linked their loyalty scheme to the payment card. By doing this, businesses can track customer buying behaviour and shopper data which lets them offer a more personalised shopping experience,” Dawson concluded.

Continue Reading

Business

The pandemic has changed consumer behaviour and retailers need to adapt

Published

on

The pandemic has changed consumer behaviour and retailers need to adapt 2

By Mary Keane-Dawson, Group CEO of TAKUMI

It’s no secret that the retail industry has been badly hit by the pandemic, with the recent collapse of Arcadia and Debenhams providing a harsh reality check as to what the future could hold for brick-and-mortar stores. With all non-essential shops being ordered to close last month, with no re-opening date confirmed, it is inevitable that a natural shift to online platforms would occur.

Online giants, ASOS and Boohoo, have established themselves as the new industry leaders. Both e-commerce giants bought failing Arcadia brands and Debenhams and ruthlessly closed all the retailers’ physical premises. The shift to online in the retail sector has never been more apparent.

Retail brands need to establish their digital presence to serve their consumers’ changing behaviour and to remain competitive in the retail industry.

Capitalising on changing consumer behaviour

The pandemic has meant consumer needs have adapted, which in turn has led to a shift in consumer behaviour. Retailers need to capitalise on changing consumer behaviour to remain relevant, but more importantly profitable.

The ‘stay at home’ message from the government, which has been almost constant throughout the past 12 months, has meant many consumers have started to become more reliant on online channels and platforms.

Supermarkets, such as Aldi and Co-Op, responded to this change in consumer behaviour by deciding to serve their customers on delivery apps, such as Deliveroo. As fewer people were ‘popping to the shops’ due to lockdown restrictions, supermarkets reacted by offering an instant delivery service, essentially where the ‘shop pops to you’.

The shift to online platforms and influencer marketing

Retail brands need to follow suit and adapt their ways of working to reflect this shift to e-commerce. Ted Baker, the premium fashion retailer, has admitted its disappointing online sales figures last quarter could be due to its slow response to the shift to ecommerce. The retailer is aiming to “significantly improve” its online shopping platform because of this.

As the shift to online platforms accelerates, retailers need to start investing in digital marketing, for example influencer marketing, to ensure their brand stays at the forefront of their consumers’ minds. Evan Horowitz, CEO of Movers+Shakers, a creative agency, explained in our whitepaper in August how the pandemic has led his company to increase its influencer marketing as “influencers are more influential than ever”.

As such, many traditional retailers have started exploring the benefits of influencer marketing. Wickes, in partnership with TAKUMI, launched the UK’s first ever home improvement industry TikTok campaign to reach a new audience with authentic and creative content and to drive awareness of its range of products. Our whitepaper, Into the Mainstream: Influencer Marketing in Society, which surveyed over 3,500 consumers, marketers, and influencers across the US, UK, and Germany, found that almost three-quarters of marketers (73%) upped spend on influencer marketing in the past 12 months, with spending significantly increasing in the retail (79%) sector.

It seems inevitable that more brands will continue to invest in influencer marketing with social media’s popularity increasing as we start to enter a post-pandemic world.

Using social media as a tool to respond to changing consumer behaviour

With marketers upping their influencer marketing spend, many social media platforms have also responded to the growing popularity of ecommerce.

Instagram redesigned its layout to ensure its Shopping and Reels tabs were given more prominence. The Instagram shopping feature allows brands to attach a virtual shopping tag to their ads on the platform. People can click on a tagged item and then be re-directed to the brands’ product webpage.

Similarly, TikTok’s rising popularity has led it to launch its own ecommerce offering. Last October, TikTok announced a partnership with Shopify. This partnership will enable Shopify merchants to create, run and optimise TikTok marketing campaigns that will attract consumers from TikTok’s growing user base.

Instagram and TikTok are slowly evolving from content platforms to ecommerce hubs. This transformation coincides with the rise in consumers shopping online following the pandemic.

What’s to come for retailers, post-pandemic?

Consumer behaviour is changing and the pandemic has accelerated the shift towards social media and ecommerce. Retail brands need to recognise that the shift to online is here to stay.

To remain relevant, brands need to allocate appropriate budgets to digital marketing channels. Interestingly, our whitepaper found it was marketers from traditional media channels that were increasing their influencer marketing spend the most, demonstrating that the shift to digital marketing has already begun. Retail brands need to start to prepare themselves for the post-pandemic retail environment to avoid ending up like Arcadia and Debenhams.

Continue Reading

Business

5 Trends Driving the Future of Customer Service in 2021 and Beyond

Published

on

5 Trends Driving the Future of Customer Service in 2021 and Beyond 3

By Matt McConnell, CEO of Intradiem

2020 ignited radical shifts for contact centre operations with the move to a remote work environment. Our customers say this trend is more of a permanent transformation – one that uncovers trends that include more flexible operations and greater efficiencies in leveraging contact centre data.

Trend 1: The Remote Agent Model is Here to Stay, Permanently

Historically, many IT teams discouraged remote working for customer service teams, but it was quickly proven virtual contact centres could work and offered a significant upside. The average annual cost to physically house a call centre agent is approximately $8,300 per agent in the United States. If a 200-person contact centre decided to move only half of its agents to home offices, that translates to $830,000 in annual real estate cost savings.

Working remotely also opened the doors to reach talent and hiring beyond a specific geography. For example, call centres based in rural locations who may have exhausted their local talent pool can bring in quality agents from anywhere in the world.

Trend 2: The Role of AI will be to Support Human Agents, Not Replace

Despite many years of buzz, it’s worth acknowledging that AI cannot entirely replace one-on-one human interaction in customer service (yet, or maybe ever). Many interactions with chatbots or other entirely automated CX tools only drive the escalation of customer issues rather than resolving them at the first touchpoint.

Instead, AI is best used to assist and manage agents to help them work more efficiently. For example, AI-powered technology can reduce handle time by auto-populating call notes or automatically log agents into or out of applications to further save time.

AI will provide an added layer of support as a management tool to keep agents on track in remote environments. AI also enables better connectivity for customer service teams and enables agents to receive consistent communications and Information they need to excel in their role in serving customers.

Trend 3: A Swift Migration to the Cloud

Call centres have been notoriously slow to move to the cloud. In the past, this has not been an issue when centres use on-premise technologies. With fully remote call centres, companies must reconsider their approach to the cloud.

Call centres can no longer rely on on-premise data with a decentralised workforce. Often their information is locked up in data centres, while operations remain outside of the office. Moving to the cloud offers more flexible operations, easier access to data and substantial cost saving, but only if call centres tap the right partners to make the most of the shift.

Trend 4: The Emergence of Predictive Analytics

Call centres generate an enormous amount of time-sensitive data that must be gathered and analysed in real-time to effectively manage their operations. Without real-time capabilities, Insights gathered on a Monday may only be contextualised later that day or week. This is not impactful as the time to act has passed and call centre conditions have already changed.

Looking beyond 2021, we will see call centres take their analytics a step further to go beyond real-time analytics, and into predictive analytics.  This will leverage real-time data at scale to offer preventive support to both agents and customers, moving call centres from reactive to proactive. Instead of waiting for a customer to call with an issue, centres can leverage historical data to reach out pre-emptively.

The same approach can be used to identify agents who struggle or may be experiencing burnout earlier in order to reduce attrition rates. A smarter mindset on data will revolutionise how call centres operate and in turn, companies will see higher customer and agent retention.

Trend 5: Real-Time Technologies Will Be Applied to the Back-Office

We will also see companies increasingly apply call centre technologies to their back-office operations. They will start to leverage back-office data in real-time to cut down on wasted hours and better track employee activities.

This part of the business has not been managed with the same technology investment as the call centre, leading to inefficiencies where back-office employees may struggle with certain tasks or spend time in non-work applications. Now, companies will be able to use AI-powered technologies to drive productivity gains in the back-office — leading to significant savings to the bottom line.

2020 served as the inflection point for call centre transformation. The shift to remote work unlocked new uses of technology and opportunities thought impossible before. We are now at the tip of the iceberg, as successful call centres will continue to innovate and think differently on how they can improve their operations in the new year and beyond.

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2021
2021 Awards now open. Click Here to Nominate

Latest Articles

Retailers need to deliver better rewards to ensure customer loyalty 4 Retailers need to deliver better rewards to ensure customer loyalty 5
Business1 hour ago

Retailers need to deliver better rewards to ensure customer loyalty

62% feel retailers need to improve the ways they reward consumers for shopping with them 55% believe that loyalty programmes...

Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears 6 Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears 7
Top Stories7 hours ago

Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears

By Colin Packham CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia will not alter legislation that would make Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google pay...

GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback 8 GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback 9
Top Stories7 hours ago

GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback

By Pushkala Aripaka and Matthias Blamont (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi on Monday said they had started a new clinical...

Optimising and Securing Device Management in a Corporate Environment 10 Optimising and Securing Device Management in a Corporate Environment 11
Technology7 hours ago

Optimising and Securing Device Management in a Corporate Environment

By Nadav Avni, Marketing Director at Radix Technologies The proliferation of digital devices used in every organisation has only grown...

Don't ignore "lockdown fatigue", UK watchdog tells finance bosses 12 Don't ignore "lockdown fatigue", UK watchdog tells finance bosses 13
Top Stories7 hours ago

Don’t ignore “lockdown fatigue”, UK watchdog tells finance bosses

By Huw Jones LONDON (Reuters) – Staff at financial firms in Britain are suffering from “lockdown fatigue” and their bosses...

The pandemic has changed consumer behaviour and retailers need to adapt 14 The pandemic has changed consumer behaviour and retailers need to adapt 15
Business8 hours ago

The pandemic has changed consumer behaviour and retailers need to adapt

By Mary Keane-Dawson, Group CEO of TAKUMI It’s no secret that the retail industry has been badly hit by the pandemic,...

2021: A year of digital enablement 16 2021: A year of digital enablement 17
Technology8 hours ago

2021: A year of digital enablement

By Peter O’Halloran, Vice President, Global Digital Commerce, Fiserv In 2021, digital innovation will continue to accelerate, allowing businesses to...

5 Trends Driving the Future of Customer Service in 2021 and Beyond 18 5 Trends Driving the Future of Customer Service in 2021 and Beyond 19
Business8 hours ago

5 Trends Driving the Future of Customer Service in 2021 and Beyond

By Matt McConnell, CEO of Intradiem 2020 ignited radical shifts for contact centre operations with the move to a remote...

World shares sink as bond yields, commodities surge 20 World shares sink as bond yields, commodities surge 21
Trading8 hours ago

World shares sink as bond yields, commodities surge

By Ritvik Carvalho LONDON (Reuters) – World shares sank on Monday as expectations for faster economic growth and inflation battered...

UK regulators need global 'competitiveness' remit, says UK Finance body 22 UK regulators need global 'competitiveness' remit, says UK Finance body 23
Top Stories8 hours ago

UK regulators need global ‘competitiveness’ remit, says UK Finance body

By Huw Jones LONDON (Reuters) – Keeping the City of London competitive should be an “across the board” objective for...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now