Navigating the 2022 Retail Experience

01.12.2022 Articles
By Sargena Narsa, PR & Communications Content Specialist; Maupo Chitsulo, Marketing Specialist

Looking forward to the return of pre-pandemic life, brands are preparing to entice consumers with new shopping experiences. With constantly changing consumer behaviors, brands must be flexible and ready to adapt to change in order to increase brand loyalty and drive sales.

From seamless cross-channel experiences, convenience, reassurance, and commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values, consumers and employees are demanding more. With the effects of lockdowns, supply chain challenges, and labor shortages, brands and retailers must navigate these issues by meeting the requirements of their customers’ and employees’ needs during their retail experiences.

How Sustainability Is Shaping The Future of Retail

Did you know that sustainable products see growth and adoption rates of at least 5.6 times greater than products that are not sustainable?

With the increasing awareness of the negative impacts that production and consumption have on the planet and population, consumers are leaning towards brands and products that practice sustainability and deliver sustainable products. Shoppers, especially Gen Zers (54%), are considering their carbon footprint before making a purchase.

88% of consumers prefer brands and products that contribute to sustainable living. Having said that, brands must shift gears to adhere to sustainable practices in order to retain brand loyalists.

Adapting to New and Flexible Payment Options

With the expansion of payment method options, brands must stay in line with innovative technological advancements. With contactless payments on the rise, consumers are turning towards payment methods that are the most safe and secure. In the first quarter of 2020, 63% of consumers lacked trust in contactless payment methods, while 73% only used contactless cards if they were perceived to be secure.

Now, the payment method has become much more about the experience. We saw a rise of contactless payments during the pandemic, which was presented through QR codes and mobile ordering. Consumers today expect greater accessibility and choice when it comes to how they pay. 74% of shoppers seek flexible payment options while shopping, whether they’re online or in store.

The growth of cryptocurrency is altering the retail industry as brands adjust their payment options to accommodate crypto. It is estimated that 46 million consumers would be likely to make a purchase with cryptocurrencies, with over half being Gen Zers.

Through blockchain payment providers, such as, BitPay and Flexa’s SPEDN app, brands, such as, Whole Foods, GameStop, and Nordstrom have already begun accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. 60% of cryptocurrency owners report that they are motivated to make online purchases with cryptocurrency for privacy or security purposes.

Personalization With Privacy Regulations

Brands and retailers must navigate the impact of privacy regulations within their marketing and communications with consumers. With these privacy regulations, brands will have access to less data about consumer behavior, causing customer retention to be challenging. 20% of consumers reported abandoning or reducing their use of a brand over its data practices. Nearly one-fifth of consumers have switched brands to competitors whose data policies align with their preferences.

Half of consumers claimed they would refrain from receiving personalized content and offers in exchange to keep their personal information private. In the U.S., 57% of consumers are rejecting personalization to protect their privacy. Brands must establish more trust and transparency with consumers in order to keep consumers engaged and interested with the brand, product, or service.

Prioritizing The Shopping Experience

The customer’s shopping experience is the ultimate driver in a purchase decision. With 77% of consumers considering their customer experience to be as important as the brand’s product or service, it’s crucial to provide them with exceptional service.

With consumers returning to in-store shopping, there’s another layer of interaction between the consumer and the purchase decision: store associates. 43% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product after interacting with a store associate. With that being said, brands must invest in their associates by training and educating them to effectively assist customers and close more sales.

We’re learning that brands are beginning to implement changes that completely remove store associates. Before making that change, it’s important to recognize that consumers are 43% more likely to make a purchase after engaging with a sales associate, while 81% find the interactions to be valuable.

An efficient alternative to in-store associates is live and on-demand brand representatives that customers can access at any point of the customer journey. With our video-powered sales solution, Tap-a-Tech™, consumers can access a representative for your brand at any given moment with the tap of a screen. Whether the customer is shopping online or in store, they can access reps on their mobile device to view live demonstrations and receive product information.

86% of consumers are willing to spend more money for in-store experiential experiences. With 66% of consumers interested in using AR and VR during their shopping journey, it’s important for brands and retailers to be creative and innovative. By incorporating technology into the shopping experience, brands will win over customers. Almost half (47%) of consumers are willing to spend extra if they can customize products with immersive technologies.

Looking ahead, innovation and adaptation will be the driving forces behind providing exceptional customer experiences, driving sales, and retaining customers in 2022.

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