Director of Sales and Business Development at Ingenico Enterprise Retail, Lee Jones writes for Payment Expert on the importance of mobility when it comes to adapting to evolving consumer habits. 

Lee Jones

Shopping in-store is no longer a stand-alone experience. Indeed, for most retailers, online retail exists alongside it, creating an omnichannel environment that combines the digital and the physical. Now, customers can research the products they want online before they even step foot inside a store.

However, according to an Ingenico report, 88% of customers report that they are more likely to make a purchase in-store if sales associates are knowledgeable. 

As a result, by equipping sales staff with the tools to increase their insight, expertise, and mobility on the shop floor, retailers can make the omnichannel experience work seamlessly for them and their customers, and boost their sales as a result.

It’s critical that retailers understand the importance of providing a mobile, omnichannel experience for customers that speeds up the payments process, whilst still providing in-store familiarity. In a competitive retail market, it is this that will draw customers in and keep them returning, providing a differentiated experience to those retailers who do not combine the online and the in-store to give customers the best of both worlds. 

In-store has its own value

Digital has been high on retailers’ agendas for years now, as consumers choose the convenience of shopping from their own home. The digital experience and the speed of online shopping has created a consumer base that is used to a quick and easy payments process, to the point where customers are more impatient than ever – with 78% admitting to abandoning checkouts due to long queues.

Nevertheless, customers still want the option of in-store shopping – for example, some customers want to view particularly high-cost purchases before they buy, some like the immediacy of obtaining products on the spot. Many are still attracted by the on-hands advice of salespeople – a detail which retailers can really make use of if they approach it correctly.

The digital experience is evolving and so are consumer behaviours 80% of consumers reported using a mobile phone in-store to check product reviews, according to a recent report by OuterBox. This shows the way consumer behaviours have evolved over the years, as they now switch between digital and physical shopping platforms repeatedly throughout the buying cycle.

From previewing goods and services ahead of a store visit, to real-time product comparisons via their mobile phones while walking the aisles, consumers’ habits have adapted to utilise the wealth of resources available to them alongside various shopping platforms.

However, this means that a significant shift has taken place in the power dynamics between the consumer and the sales associate. By using smartphones and 4G internet connection, shoppers can access such a broad range of product data that it gives them the “insight advantage” when talking with sales staff.

The role of the sales advisor must evolve to stay current

As a result, sales advisors need to form a deeper relationship with the customer before the checkout, rather than at the checkout – improving in-store mobility will help achieve this.

By providing sales associates with smart connected handsets, it will enable them to better respond to sales queries and take payments anywhere in the store. 

If the device is connected to a single omnichannel system, it will also allow them to identify the consumer wherever they are in the sales journey, match their insight, and provide a gateway to loyalty programmes and their benefits.

To ensure they can provide all this for their sales associates and their customers, retailers need a smart, flexible, easy-to-use device that allows store associates to combine several payment services onto one system, with rich product and customer insight.

But how can retailers know which device is right for their stores and their customers?

Most importantly, today’s consumers require a frictionless experience. So, an omnichannel system which can access every touchpoint, accepts a range of payment methods to suit any preference, and is compatible on a range of devices is the key. 

With an omnichannel solution, every type of customer is catered for. So, tech-savvy, time-poor customers have the option of a quick mobile checkout with a sales associate, whilst allowing other customers to pay with the terminals they know and understand.

Ingenico has long been a pioneer of in-store mobility solutions. Its forthcoming generation of devices will enable retailers of all sizes and scale to create a smoother shopping experience for consumers and boost the revenue-generating potential of sales associates.

Furthermore, with over 20 years’ experience and a range of payment system offerings, Ingenico Enterprise Retail is perfectly placed to answer any questions you may have – retail, security, technical or otherwise – and help your business improve its in-store mobility with a bespoke payments system.