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Why now is the time for retailers to accelerate digital transformation plans – Finextra

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Today’s operating environment for retailers is incredibly challenging. Covid cases are increasing, the cost of living is affecting shopper habits and experiences in the supply chain and impact on inflation continues to impact prices.   
Businesses that made digital transformation investments during the pandemic fared better when they were faced with navigating lockdowns. It’s now important to continue to build on these investments in today’s environment too. Technology could help retailers to find new efficiencies and shape new experiences for customers that actually increases transaction volumes, even today.  
Our global research – surveying more than 40,000 consumers and 11,000 businesses across 26 countries – shows how consumers’ habits have changed and highlights where businesses should look to invest. Here are some top-level findings:  
Shoppers are ready for tech-enabled experiences 
Most importantly, our research found that those that invest in technology to improve their businesses will outgrow and outperform the rest. This is particularly the case in the UK where less than half of consumers (49%) say they prefer to shop in store – one of the lowest markets of all countries surveyed, and well below the global average of 59%. 
That’s not to say physical stores are dead – that’s a long way off. But it needs a tech overhaul. For shoppers in the UK that doesn’t mean magic mirrors or VR. They want technology to create a frictionless, easy shopping experience on any channel. In fact, 41% said they are more likely to shop with retailers that use technology to improve the shopping experience. 
Indeed, the key to a great experience for UK shoppers is getting the basics right. It’s about building a seamless link between online and offline channels and having a choice of how to pay. One in four consumers have left a store because they haven’t been able to pay the way they want, with a fifth preferring to shop with Apple Pay or Google Pay. The numbers are similar when it comes to online shopping – 25% will abandon their basket if they can’t pay how they want. 
Retailers need to stay on top of this, and offer technology across the entire experience, in order to benefit from customer loyalty. This extends to making reward schemes easier and more effective. With the majority of shoppers (59%) encouraging more intelligent use of reward schemes, it’s clear they are receptive to the greater use of tech, whether in-store or online.  
Businesses now need to decide how to best build on these opportunities, namely where they should prioritise investment and therefore innovation. 
Simplifying systems helps improve shopping experiences 
And while we’ve seen that customers are keen for a smoother shopping experience, there is a slight disconnect. Only one in five (21%) of UK retailers connect their payments and CX systems across the business such as operations and inventory/supply chain management. Using technology to connect systems and break down silos throughout a retail business creates a virtuous circle, which has two very important benefits. 
First, it will help the flow of data and insights across the entire organisation to identify ways to improve operations, provide more data for decision-making, enhance productivity, and ultimately make the business more profitable. 
Secondly, customers say they are more loyal to retailers that enable a smooth, seamless experience. Unified commerce can help to create more opportunities to improve customer interactions, either through more efficient processes, or better data insights to deliver a better service. 
Digital transformation is vital for growth 
We’ve seen this in action. 47% of British retailers say unified commerce has improved their customer experience, 39% say it has increased sales and 41% say it has increased customer loyalty. This is so important for retailers.  
Experience and loyalty will be vital in the current climate where discretionary spend is completely under threat. Digital transformation is the key to enhancing customer experience, as well as finding efficiencies across the entire business. 
Taking full advantage of this opportunity requires a mindset shift. Data, intelligence and insights should be constantly fed across the business, from customer-facing elements, to marketing and operations, and vice versa.  
That’s why now is the time to focus on digital transformation. Those that do this will be in a good position to outperform their competitors and thrive in the next era of retail. 
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Managing Director Adyen U.K.
Member since
20 Sep 2021
Blog posts
05 Jul
23 Dec 2021
This post is from a series of posts in the group:
Fintech discussions and conversations around the development of fintech.
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29 Jul
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