LONDON, United Kingdom — Worldpay from FIS is well positioned to inform the fashion industry on shifting consumer behaviour. Processing over 31 million online, in-store and mobile transactions on any given day, for over 30 years the company has enabled card and non-card payments, online and omnichannel transactions, multi-currency processing and the shift to contactless for thousands of retailers.
Today, innovations in the payment space are emerging as rare opportunities for growth during this sustained period of uncertainty. From flexible payment methods to the rise of in-app purchasing, Worldpay regularly shares actionable insights on how retailers can tap into dramatic shifts in the retail sector, with its merchant partner-base and in-depth reports.
Now, BoF sits down with Maria Prados, vice president of global retail and B2B at Worldpay, to discover why social commerce is gaining traction due to increasing customer interactions, how new tactics such as "Pay by Link" where a sales assistant sends a QR code or URL to the customer’s mobile device for payment, and “a massive shift towards e-wallets” are increasing efficiency and what opportunity there is for growth due to fluid payment strategies.
What are the most significant shifts within the payment space since the Covid-19 outbreak?
The retail landscape has been impacted heavily, with 90 percent of shoppers now changing their purchase behaviour — not by choice, but rather lack of choice.
The first obvious shift is the move to online. While we’re anticipating retail sales to drop around 4 percent for 2020, most of that drop comes from within offline retail. E-commerce is growing at double its pre-pandemic speed. This period has given retailers the push to really invest in digitisation.
Offline purchases are still taking place, but shoppers are looking for different experiences and we're working closely with our retailers to define what those journeys look like. Fewer interactions is a priority, so we’re developing things like Pay by Link, where a sales assistant sends a QR code or URL to the customer’s mobile device for payment.
With a contactless world, we’re also seeing a massive shift towards e-wallets — in the last 12 months, over 40 percent of our retailers have started to offer that proposition.
How are customers engaging with omnichannel retail solutions?
It’s no longer enough to offer different channels. Innovation is now essential and retailers must offer a consolidated user experience — omnichannel should be at the core of every retailer.
Twenty percent of global shoppers now say if they cannot shop via their preferred channel, they will go to a different retailer.
While demand from this was driven by a younger, tech-savvy consumer, our recent research into omnichannel discerned that 20 percent of global shoppers now say if they cannot shop via their preferred channel, they would go to a different retailer. Your competition is now one click away.
A variety of fluid payment methods is crucial — in and out of the store. Our research suggests that 60 percent of shoppers are saying they want to pay with their preferred payment method no matter where they are. Consumers are already asking the retailer to consolidate — to unify the solution across all of the different channels.
How do you believe digital channels will evolve to reflect new consumer habits?
As channels evolve, it’s going to be about the experience and that’s where mobile plays a particularly important role — bridging the physical and digital.
It’s clear that there is no linear purchasing journey anymore and digital channels must evolve accordingly. We're starting to see some retailers redefine the whole online journey beyond a homepage, product page and checkout. It's becoming more experiential — some are putting games around the shopping experience. That’s how social commerce is gaining traction, as shoppers look to engage with others over product. Interaction should happen at every touchpoint.
What further innovation around contactless payments do you predict?
After Covid-19, I think everyone is part of the contactless payment demographic. Those who were more averse to paying with their mobile, making a contactless payment or even just buying online are now doing so out of necessity.
I am personally excited about not needing any payment hardware around contactless transactions. The next step is making the transaction happen between two devices — a salesperson with a tablet, which the shopper can tap with their phones. We can help the retailer transform this experience and lose existing hardware to make it more seamless and straightforward.
What new conversion touchpoints in the shopper journey should retailers consider?
Both social and voice commerce started as points of discovery in the shopper journey. Now, the opportunity for retailers is converting them from marketing channels into direct selling tools.
A shift from a product-centric to a customer-centric mindset is key.
Social commerce has had its fair share of difficulties, given the slow rollout of consistent shoppable features on social media platforms. The payment transaction was a particular issue. Did the shopper need to be redirected to the brand’s website? Are they sent to the specific product page? Is it already added to the basket?
While these pain points are still present, we’re seeing this payment channel grow. Combine this with social media as a powerful communication tool to reach the shopper directly and improve customer service, and this becomes a payment channel that retailers cannot afford to ignore.
Where do you see retail growth stemming from in the medium term?
Now is not the time to pause or stop. You have to be all in and retailers need to start with their culture. We talk about digital disruption and technological innovation, but a shift from a product-centric mindset to a customer-centric mindset is key. A lot of big brands are starting to create roles like chief customer officer, pushing for change at an exec level.
With regards to technology, the innovation is amazing. Augmented reality is a real growth opportunity within retail and we're seeing it more and more within the user experience — even online and at the moment of purchase. We now offer a one-click payment within augmented reality technology as a way of converting shoppers when they are emotionally engaged with the product.
Finally, biometrics is gaining traction within payments and is great for both identification and reducing fraud. Of course, there are questions around how much you can push the boundaries, but the role of fingerprint scans and facial recognition with smartphones mean the shoppers are feeling more comfortable with this technology. It offers real potential for growth.
This is a sponsored feature paid for by Worldpay as part of a BoF partnership.