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Adyen: The future of retail will be “dictated by the customer”


busy shopping centre

Modern payment systems are changing the way we shop, says Michel van Aalten.

With competition as fierce as ever, and the demands of consumers continuing to grow, the retail sector faces an era of dramatic evolution.

We spoke to Michel van Aalten, the ANZ country manager for leading payments technology company Adyen, about the changing face of retail and what businesses need to do to adapt.

How do you see the retail experience and retail store changing in the next decade?

"In Australia, we are seeing a gradual transition towards hyper-convenient and independent in-store retail. This is being fuelled by the nation's rapid adoption of tap and go payments. The uptake in digital wallets shows no sign of slowing down and is being supported by emerging technologies like 'shop and go' that are creating entirely new ways of making transactions.

The recent trial of this technology at Woolworths in Double Bay highlights a retail future dictated by the customer and the speed and ease in which they can experience a transaction.

In the near future, the need for bricks and mortar shops to store inventory will be removed for many retailers. The traditional store will be replaced by digital showrooms with a firm focus on customer experience where tablets, digital interfaces and sample items replace inventory and a single salesperson is present to field questions.

An example of this can be seen at Warringah Mall in Sydney's Northern Beaches, where Ikea has launched its first Australian home-planning studio. The new studio does not offer physical products or even room displays. Instead, Ikea staff provide one-on-one planning consultations to help design and plan a customer's dream bathroom. The customer then selects and orders the items to be delivered straight to his or her home."

What do retailers need to do to keep up with online shopping and the changing retail market?

"If we use the example of the Ikea digital showroom, we can see this distinction between online and in-store shopping is outdated. The path to purchase is no longer steered by a preference of in-store or online.

The shopper journey doesn't start and end in either medium. A shopper's journey can begin as they browse social media and then a check of the retailer's website with the actual transaction completed in-store.

With this in mind, retailers shouldn't rely solely on just online or in-store as the only mode of purchase, instead they should look to craft an innovative offline-online retail experience that accommodates the entire shopping journey. When a shopper browses an item in-store, they are comparing it against an entire world of items available at their fingertips. It's important businesses think from the shopper's viewpoint by looking at managing every single customer touch point under a single unified platform to create the consistent and convenient experiences customers have come to expect."

How can payment systems help retailers keep up?

"The Reserve Bank of Australia annual payment methods survey recently suggested that cash payments in the country have plummeted across the board and went so far as to proclaim Australia will be cashless by as soon as 2026. Regardless if you think this is the case or not, payments systems that can accommodate everything from credit cards to wearable devices are fast becoming a business necessity as less and less customers actually carry physical currency.

One in five Australians have encountered retailers who could not offer their preferred payment method. A store's capacity to accept preferred payment methods seems insignificant, but an inability to do so has cost Australian retailers $218.5m in potential sales in the past 12 months.

Having an agile payment platform in place ensures you don't have to turn away a tourist using Alipay or a morning jogger who wants to pay for their coffee with their smartwatch.

As a global leader in tap and go payments, Aussie consumers have already demonstrated their interest in technology that can offer fast, seamless payments at the tap of a card. It's important retailers recognise this and support it."

What does Adyen's platform do to help retailers in the changing market?

"Adyen gives retailers a single view of the shopper across all channels. It makes it easy to shop both online and in-store, while gathering rich shopper data insights into buyer behaviour on a global scale. Adyen unshackles retailers from the complexity of managing multiple solutions.

We help businesses realise the benefits of an omnichannel retail strategy and the power of unified commerce. By utilising one payment platform to link channels, unified commerce allows retailers to recognise their customers across multiple channels.

Adyen helps retailers create frictionless payment links between online, in-app and in-store channels. These links enable retailers to offer shoppers new experiences like click and collect, return an online purchase in-store or have items purchased in-store delivered direct to their home. Ultimately, increasing the number of these shopper journeys leads to more purchases and a higher spend. 

Although the retail environment is getting tougher, there are clear ways to reach your targets. Unified commerce helps you recognise customers and their preferences in profound ways. With its potential to increase revenue and reduce costs, the return on investment is clear."

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