Flexible retailers who adapt to meet the needs of each individual create a shopping experience that attracts, retains, and ultimately satisfies customers.

Safety, convenience, and flexibility are the “new trifecta in customer experience,” according to the 2020 Changes in Customer Habits survey of more than 2,000 North American shoppers. No doubt COVID-19 transformed the way consumers conduct business in the short-term, but long-term trends—like the convenience of curbside pickup and mobile self-checkout—are here to stay.

Flexible shopping experiences customers love

Interestingly, 48% of people prefer “the in-store experience” over the convenience of online shopping. They love interacting with products before buying, assessing the variety and quality of products available, viewing the displays, and touching the products directly. What’s more, the rising cost of shipping and the unpredictability of arrival times are significant factors driving consumers to brick-and-mortar stores.

Yes, lockdown orders, safety concerns, and busier schedules have increased use of personal shoppers to fill the gap when shoppers cannot come to the store themselves. However, 89% of shoppers say they’d rather retailers invest in BOPIS and curbside pickup improvements instead of home delivery services like Shipt or Instacart.

Fortunately, retailers have access to retail platforms designed exclusively for their brick-and-mortar stores that allow them to invite shoppers to their physical locations with customized ads and strategic offers personalized to the individual. Adding flexible shopping experiences has never been so easy as it is today, thanks to rapidly-developing technology.

With a Swiftly-powered mobile app, shoppers can choose the experience they prefer, whether it’s buying online at home and picking up later, arranging for curbside pickup, or using a mobile device in-store to build shopping lists, find deals, and mobile pay.

Shoppers prefer personalized options in-store

Though there is still a whole lot of love for physical retail stores, ecommerce giants like Amazon have had powerful effects on the shopping industry at large. Now, people are used to getting customized product recommendations, coupons, and more; in fact, 80% of customers have grown to expect and desire personalized experiences from retailers, according to McKinsey surveys.

McKinsey also noted that personalization efforts greatly pay off with:

● A 1-2% lift in total grocery sales (and an even higher boost for other retailers).

● 10-20% reduced marketing and sales costs.

● 20% higher customer satisfaction rates.

● 10-15% increase in sales conversion rates.

● 20-30% increased employee engagement.

● 3x higher returns for shareholders.

Therefore, retailers are shifting away from the consideration of metrics like browsing history or consumer profiling based on demographic information. Instead, they’re working toward greater individualized personalization efforts based on actual purchases using closed loop data.

Flexible payment options increase satisfaction and loyalty

Retailers lose an estimated $37.7 Billion in annual sales due to long checkout lines, according to data collected by 451 Research. Nearly half of the money ($15.8 Billion) is lost in sales to competitors, while another $21.9 Billion is lost to the industry as a whole when customers leave the store and decide not to make a purchase after all. Another $1.1 Billion in potential sales is lost to competitors who offer fast, flexible payment options like digital wallets and mobile self-service checkout.

Researchers found 34% of survey respondents, particularly younger Millennials and Gen Z, could be categorized as “Spendsetters” who embrace all next-generation shopping experiences and value a more personalized customer journey. Most shoppers (52%) were “Fence-sitters” who more slowly embrace new trends with a wait-and-see approach, while relatively few shoppers (20%) were “Resisters” who are less eager about shopping with new technology. The report concluded that “Digitally transforming to attract, win, retain, and support customers is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for retailers’ survival.”

While Pew Research suggests that gaining rewards and discounts remains the primary reasons shoppers use mobile checkout, many consumers like the convenience of avoiding overdraft fees, receiving a digital receipt they can keep and refer back to if necessary, and, of course, getting in-and-out of the grocery store quickly and efficiency.

How to offer greater flexibility in your shopping experience

A Swiftly-powered mobile app helps retailers quickly offer a smartphone self-checkout option in line with the customers’ evolving expectations. Retailers and brands can use Swiftly’s digital platform to track in-store purchases and tailor mobile advertising to the individual shopper. Built-in rewards can be automatically applied as shoppers scan item UPC codes with their phones.

Retailers crafting their mobile customer experience using Swiftly have seen 1 billion coupons clipped, a 40% increase in trips to their stores, and a 10% increase in overall store sales. Personalized service and ramping up flexible payment options are long-term strategies for sustainable growth, satisfaction, and loyalty.

Learn more about Swiftly by contacting us today!