No other time in retail history may have been as challenging as what retailers faced in 2020. While the retail world is now pivoting to a “new normal,” it’s also clear new challenges are emerging. This is especially true for retail stores that are trying to lure the shoppers back in.
Retailers must focus on creating the right in-store experience to build greater loyalty. But to do so, a retailer can’t rely solely on tactics used pre-pandemic.
During the pandemic, shoppers had little choice but to embrace a primarily digital experience. Whether ordering an item through an app or online and picking it up either curbside or at their mailbox, ease of use became a top priority.
However, the needs of shoppers look a little different today. Now it’s time to focus on what shoppers want in today’s world and what retailers need to face the current challenges head-on.
Create Value for the Shoppers
To transition customers from online-only to brick and mortar, retailers must focus on what value they bring to the shoppers. Sure, this was true before the pandemic, but the need for a retailer to differentiate itself seems only to have grown.
Creating value means showcasing what sets your store apart from the competition. Now shoppers have greater opportunities to purchase online, through an app, or in-person, which means the retailer must work even harder to be unique.
During COVID-19, the retailers who were able to create value — whether from offering two-day shipping, curbside pickup, or free delivery, for example — were the ones shoppers began to rely on the most.
Fast forward to today, the demand to find what differentiates a store is still there, although it may look slightly different than a year ago. For instance, retailers may create additional value by offering more payment options, seamless online and in-store checkout experiences, or focusing on the omnichannel approach.
Whatever your business does to make a shopper’s life a little bit easier is the value you bring. Focusing on this value sets you apart from other retailers and creates greater loyalty from your shoppers.
The Need for Greater Flexibility
Flexibility was one of the biggest challenges in 2020, and the need continues as we move forward. The ability to adapt quickly comes in many forms. Whether adjusting store hours to meet demand or hiring more store associates to create a better in-store experience – the list is long for retailers to show how flexible they are.
Perhaps one of the best examples of retailers quickly adding flexible shopping solutions in 2020 was centered around how shoppers picked up purchases from retail locations. Whether a shopper chose to buy online and pick up in-store (BIPOS), curbside pickup, shipping, or a complete in-store experience, the need for multiple pickup solutions became obvious.
Whereas curbside pickup was barely a blip on the radar before the pandemic, the virus forced retailers to at least offer the convenience. Over 50% of large retailers now use curbside pickup regularly, emphasizing how many have adapted to customer demands. What started as a challenge to retailers has now become a regular part of the retail experience and customers’ expectations.
The creative solutions retailers generated to face the ongoing challenges from the pandemic are examples of flexibility and adaptability. Now retailers must continue to adopt these solutions going forward.
Expanded Payment Offerings
Just as retailers were challenged with adaptations and flexing in 2020, payment solutions also faced challenges.
There is no doubt COVID-19 wreaked havoc on consumer confidence and their wallets, with consequences that continue to linger even today. Whether shoppers are rebounding from job loss, smaller paychecks, or depleted savings, the economic effects are real.
Retailers needed to adapt to more flexible payment solution offerings, which is one reason why Buy Now Pay Later offerings grew by 50% last year, according to some estimates.
Introducing Splitit InStore
Our latest offering — SplitIt InStore — is a prime example of payment solutions adapting to the needs of shoppers post-pandemic. It’s a smart answer to not only the payment concerns shoppers have when purchasing large items, but also the time it takes for a retailer to implement an easy payment installment solution.
Splitit InStore offers the payment installment solution instantly at checkout when a shopper is physically in the store. Once the sales associate offers this payment option to the customer, the checkout process is quick and seamless.
Not only does Splitit use the customer’s existing credit card, now shoppers have the option to use Apple Pay or Google Pay for an even faster payment experience. The sales associate doesn’t even need to gather sensitive financial information from the customer since the shopper enters the payment details.
Apple Pay and Google Pay are prime examples of payment flexibility, creating value for both the retailers and shoppers while adapting to new trends in the market. The shoppers can afford higher value items and choose an installment plan in seconds, while the sales associate can spend more time talking about the products versus the payments.
How much value and added flexibility does Splitit InStore bring to brick and mortars? David Hilst, the owner of five La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries stores in Illinois and Indiana, sums it up the best. After partnering with Splitit InStore, he quickly saw the advantage of offering this payment option.
“Splitit delivers a seamless in-store experience. We can meet the shopper in the store and offer an installment option instantly – it’s the best online experience in an offline environment. You don’t get this with other financing options.”
Moving Forward in the Retail World
One of the many lessons learned from the pandemic was how to adapt. The retailers who did this well were able to continue. However, the ones who struggled the most, unfortunately, were not able to compete.
Whether a retailer needs an entire in-store makeover or a few simple tweaks to thrive, it will no longer be business as usual. While this may be intimidating to many retailers, it’s a fantastic opportunity to adapt and build. The best part is that there are many resources available to retailers, including ones like Splitit InStore.
Splitit InStore is a brand new tool available to retailers to offer payment flexibility while enhancing the customer’s checkout experience- allowing shoppers instant access to installments. It’s the ultimate tool for creating flexible payment solutions and optimizing the in-store checkout experience.
Are you ready to face these challenges but not sure where to start? Splitit can help! Schedule your call today to learn more.