As we head into the busiest time of year for retail, now is the time to start prepping for 2023. These customer trends could help you have a ‘happy new year’ on the horizon.
Small retail businesses have a lot to think about right now. There’s increasing global inflation, ongoing supply chain delays and talent shortages to contend with – and a lot of playing cashflow catchup after COVID interruptions.
However, ANZ Worldline Payment Solutions‘ business payments and innovation expert Anne McDonnell doesn’t want you to put the champagne away just yet. She believes that while the challenges into next year are many, the opportunities for small business are also strong.
“There are a lot of things that small businesses can do in the current environment with all the challenges they have, to really lean on technology to help them solve some of those issues,” Anne says.
Together with David Koch from Kochie’s Business Builders and Sunrise, Anne will be sharing her insights at the upcoming Preparing your business for 2023 webinar on November 3. From strengthening customer relationships and optimising in-store experiences, to adopting tech that builds loyalty and stability, this is your chance to get expert insights that could help your business – sign up here.
To give you a taste of what they’ll discuss, Anne shares three key retail trends and her tips for how you could respond to your customers’ needs in 2023 below.
1. Consumers want a multi-channel experience
Online business is booming as consumers who found eCommerce during COVID have kept clicking. Pre-COVID, around 68 per cent of Australian shoppers used bricks-and-mortar stores as their main channel for non-grocery retail purchases. Now, 50 per cent prefer online channels.
“We do see post-COVID that eCommerce is still growing quite significantly year-on-year,” says Anne. “Though we are starting to see it level out a bit.”
It’s important to note that this is not heralding the death of physical stores. Rather, consumers are making it clear that they don’t want one or the other, they want the convenience of both.
“In the past they would have gone into a grocery store to buy groceries – a lot of people have converted to getting them delivered because they realise the convenience of it,” Anne says. “COVID really put the fast-forward on that.”
To keep up with consumers, a multi-channel experience will be an important retail offering in 2023. Multi-channels can also mean multi-challenges as consumers expect a seamless experience, no matter how they choose to shop. This can particularly impact the way customer service is managed.
“That can be a challenge for retailers, particularly smaller businesses,” notes Anne. “They need to now manage people talking to them via an app, online, text, phone calls and also in-store. Being able to keep up with the technology needed and the expectations consumers have can be difficult.”
2. Removal of distinction between in-store and online
Another emerging retail trend is customers shopping both online and in-store.
“What you would have seen in the past more predominantly is that shoppers would shop online or shoppers would shop in-store,” Anne explains. “Now people are clicking and collecting, so they’re ordering online and then going in store to pick up their purchases. Or they’re going into the store and using a self-service kiosk to find something that’s currently not available in-store and they’re ordering it to be delivered to their home.”
The clear message is that customers want to shop both in-person and online. Another example is using an app to order your coffee, then just picking it up when you arrive at the café then walking away. This new system of delivery removes a lot of the old face-to-face customer service opportunities, making the online experience so important for a business to get right.
The use of mobile devices is also blurring the experience of shopping online and in-store. The most notable way is via the use of credit and debit cards, and in particular cards on mobile. Consumers using their devices to pay is increasing, while use of cash declines.
The ‘tap and go’ payments allowed by devices means paying in-store could be as simple as when making a purchase online. This could be enhanced even more when your customer service team carry mobile payment terminals, like those offered by ANZ Worldline Payment Solutions, which let your customer pay anywhere with 4G connectivity. Queues are ditched, payment can be taken right where your customer is most interested and the experience is pleasingly efficient and personalised.
In fact, getting this kind of personalised service right could allow smaller businesses to differentiate their offering and make customers feel seen and rewarded.
3. Personalisation is on the rise
Which brings us to the final big retail trend to keep an eye on as we move into 2023: personalisation.
“The connected experiences that [customers] are having between in-store, online and on mobile allow for personalisation [that will help you] maintain your relationship with your customer and interact with them in a condensed period of time, over lots of different media,” says Anne. “So how do you keep that experience going and make sure that you get that personalisation so you have return customers based on customer advocacy and relationships?”
A compelling in-store experience will help with this. For many customers, the more you can recognise them and personalise their experience of shopping with you, the more you’ll build the kind of relationship they’ll rave about. Focusing on helping customers choose their purchases could really help with this, especially if floor staff members carry devices that can showcase more stock than you can carry in the store. “They can [offer alternatives to the] customer there and then, rather than have to wait; plus they can check them out using their device,” says Anne. “This could allow the staff in the retail store to be a lot more efficient and focus more on the consumer, rather than focusing on how they put a sale through.”
Loyalty programs are another way to convert casual customers in to ‘regulars’. There’s more on this topic coming in the webinar – sign up to watch this free conversation live on November 3.
This article is brought to you by Kochie’s Business Builders, sponsored by ANZ Worldline Payment Solutions.
Feature image: AdobeStock.
ANZ Worldline Payment Solutions means Worldline Australia Pty Ltd ACN 645 073 034 (“Worldline”), a provider of merchant solutions. Worldline is not an authorised deposit taking institution (ADI) and entry into any agreement with Worldline is neither a deposit nor liability of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited ACN 005 357 522 (“ANZ”) or any of its related bodies corporate (together “ANZ Group”). Neither ANZ nor any other member of the ANZ Group stands behind or guarantees Worldline.
This publication is intended to provide general information only and should not be relied on in substitution for professional legal or financial advice. Any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held, based on the information available at the time of publication, but are subject to change without notice and Worldline Australia Pty Ltd makes no representation as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information. Any projections, forecasts or forward-looking statements contained in this publication are based on a number of assumptions and estimates, are subject to contingencies and uncertainties and may not eventuate. To the extent permitted by law, Worldline Australia Pty Ltd will not be liable to any person for any error or omission contained in the webinar or for any loss or damage suffered by any person relying on the information contained in the publication.