Since the start of the pandemic, shoppers have shifted to digital channels. Among U.S. consumers 41 percent now shop online—not far behind the 46 percent of UK consumers who do so.
The trend toward digital is revealed in the Global Digital Shopping Index reports, developed in collaboration with PYMNTS and Cybersource, and based on four regional surveys.
The reports show that, overall, consumers are finding digital commerce to be an upgrade, while the physical retail channel is becoming increasingly unsatisfying. In particular, consumers appreciate features that make shopping easy and convenient, or help them get more for their money.
The challenge for retailers is to direct their digital investment wisely to create the compelling commerce experiences consumers want. That includes looking for ways to boost the in-store experience with some of the digital features shoppers love.
Top performers offer the right digital features
Our research shows that top-performing retailers distinguish themselves by offering a wide range of digital features. On the whole, they're omnichannel businesses who offer digital features that meet the demand for convenient, frictionless experiences and the desire for value, while providing robust security.
Of the top-performing U.S. retailers in our survey:
- 98 percent offer the full spectrum of digital features that make shopping easy (middle performers offer around half of these features)
- 94 percent offer rewards, compared with 57 percent of middle performers
- 100 percent provide data protection, against 62 percent of middle performers
In physical stores, payments have become an important part of the digital feature mix, as consumers increasingly opt for the convenience and safety of contactless and touchless payment methods. These have been used by 55 percent of consumers in the U.K., and by nearly 47 percent of Australian shoppers.
Prioritizing investment for retail digital transformation
One thing that jumps out from our research: Top-performing merchants aren't resting on their laurels as they continue to innovate and invest in retail digital transformation.
In the U.K., for example, 48 percent of top performers plan to invest in click-and-collect options and 44 percent consider mobile order-ahead to be an investment priority.
In-store digital features
When it comes to in-store digital features, 28 percent of all U.K. businesses intend to expand their contactless payment options. But there's room for greater digital transformation of the in-store experience, as shoppers say they want it to incorporate some of their favorite online digital features. Among them: product recommendations, price comparisons, and the ability to use card-on-file.
According to our research, it seems unlikely that the shift towards digital shopping channels that's been accelerated by the pandemic will go into reverse. More consumers are doing more of their shopping online than ever before, and have come to appreciate the digital features that make their journeys easy and worthwhile.
And although in-store shopping remains popular, consumers aren't entirely satisfied by the experience—they're looking for it to offer more of the digital-first features available in online channels. With a sound retail digital transformation strategy underpinned by creative commerce solutions, retailers will be in a better position to meet consumers' digital expectations across all their shopping channels.
Learn more about the drivers behind retail digital transformation, and the digital-first investments top-performing businesses are planning.
Source: The Global Digital Shopping Index reports, Cybersource and PYMNTS, 2020.