To meet the needs of their customers, it is essential for merchants to be supported by partners such as retailers and payment players.
Now 8 out of 10 French people use an e-commerce site to buy a product or service. This corresponds to 40 million French people and represents an increase of more than 800,000 e-buyers in one year. The stakes are high and merchants are redoubling their efforts to engage consumers with ever-changing needs. Because while the rise of e-commerce has made shopping more accessible than ever, it has also sometimes created unnecessary friction along the purchase journey, at a time when consumers expect more simplicity, fluidity and intuition, proof of their loyalty. So how do you support merchants in their retail strategy?
From inspiration to delivery: digital at the service of reality
Digital now occupies a central place in consumers’ lives, even as the return to real experiences is slowly increasing. Unlike the physical store purchase, the online experience does not always allow the consumer to see, touch or try a product, making the purchase decision difficult. That’s why new shopping paths bridge the previous gap between online and in-store experiences. While consumers are using their cell phones to research products before or even during in-store purchases, the act of purchase is no longer limited to checkout.
In 2021, while 68% of French people made purchases on their mobile phone, 42% continue to go to the store at least once a month, demonstrating that online and in-store shopping experiences are closely linked. Additionally, retailers are discovering growing consumer interest in augmented and virtual reality, with live and social shopping services, for example. These technologies, which the vast majority of French shoppers (74%) believe retailers should invest in, enable immersive shopping experiences – such as “try before you buy”, through which people participate in the human in-store experience from from the comfort of their own home – which bring enormous added value to both the consumer and the merchant.
To meet this real challenge, brands are stepping up their innovation to deliver the smoothest customer experience possible through different channels. Its aim is to move towards a “zero friction” purchasing process, from inspiration to after-sales service, including the transaction.
Maintain control and provide visibility
Given the physiognomy of e-commerce (new merchants, receipt of goods after purchase, risk of fraud, etc.), tools have been developed adapted to the benefit of consumers, with the main priority being to offer the necessary flexibility, guaranteeing Trust in. This translates into increasingly fluid payment solutions, such as immediate, multi-day, or multi-instance payments, always at no cost to consumers. Solutions that allow responding to different acts of purchase – 57% of French people want to use flexible payment options that allow them to decide how to pay for their purchase while keeping track of their expenses – but also through the use of smart data, helping consumers to shop online more securely. Thus, merchants can offer their customers real visibility into their activities, obtain granular information about their purchases, their spending or their carbon emissions, to make informed and safe choices.
Helping retailers understand consumer behavior will improve the shopping experience – from discovery to receipt to purchase – and therefore build trust and loyalty.
No matter the industry, when it comes to retail sales, the end consumer must be at the heart of the strategy. And the key to helping retailers succeed will be, unlike traditional markets, to play a role as a connector between merchants and their consumers, ensuring that brands maintain their unique identity. The most important innovations, therefore, will be those that allow merchants to connect with their customers and potential shoppers, and that on any channel, to offer them an immersive experience that seamlessly converges their physical stores and their stores.
Going further, it will also mean providing comprehensive support to the entire online and offline value chain. For example, providing marketing and media solutions that help merchants inspire new customers, grow their business and expand into new markets and thus stand out from the competition: e-shopping, price comparison service, influencer marketing…
Today, e-commerce is no longer just offering items for sale, but offering an enhanced user experience. Consumers are looking for integrated experiences that span all stages of their buying journey. To respond to this, shopkeepers have the support of purchasing and payment players, true growth partners, bringing together all these services in the same universe. Thus, together, brands will be able to meet all the needs of their consumers and win the battle of e-commerce.