Has this ever happened to you? You approach the till to pay for your items and notice a line stretching longer than your patience will allow. You set down your items, turn around and walk out of the shop, empty-handed.
If that sounds familiar, you’re one of the growing members of the zero-patience society.
Retailer, take note. Maybe you’re already aware that online purchases exceeded in-store purchase for the first time last year in the U.S. and that the average UK high-street footfall declined by nearly 5% from 2018 in 2019. But, did you know that, 62% of people who say they prefer shopping online, claim they do so to avoid in-store queues? In fact, queuing is so dreaded there are now professional queuers, whose sole job is to wait in line on a customer’s behalf.
Some of this lack of patience can probably be blamed on our constant access to online shopping. In fact, 37% of Gen Zs (16 – 24 year old’s) believe they’re not patient enough to shop in-store due to the rise of technology.
However, technology isn’t going away. It’s time to stop bemoaning the “death of the high street” and start embracing the zero-patience society. That means introducing new technologies that make the in-store experience as good, or even better, than on-line. Starting with removing those queues!
Recently, we asked more than 2,000 consumers from across the UK to share with us their in-store and online shopping preferences. They also told us what technology and processes they think retailers should introduce to entice consumers back to the high-street. The conclusions were clear – retailers need to embrace more technology, now.
Why make consumers queue when they can continue to shop?
With more than 60% of customers saying they avoid stores because of long queues, this seems like an obvious place to start. It is also one of the easiest issues to resolve, thanks to the payment solutions now on the market.
Supermarkets have taken the lead on this front, enhancing or sometimes completely replacing the traditional till. Self-service checkouts provide a quick, simple and cost-effective way to reduce waiting times. Some customers may grumble that these systems are difficult to use, but 49% of under 24s want them included across all retail stores.
However, self-service tills are just the beginning. Nowadays, retailers can remove the need for queues entirely.
One till, three card machines? This used to be unheard of, or if a business did try to set this up, it would have to ensure the other card machines weren’t in use at the same time – difficult to do in a store with many floors and staff. Thankfully, with the latest mobile solutions, businesses can connect a single EPOS system to multiple card machines and use them concurrently. With this system in place, employees can spend their time on the shop floor, assisting customers and customers can avoid queues entirely.
Why stop at removing queues? Can the in-store experience be as seamless as online?
Reducing waiting times by removing or shortening queues should be a top priority for businesses. But that’s just the one of the ways that retailers can enhance the in-store experience with new technology.
According to our research, over 60% of consumers who say they shop on-line rather than in-store, say they do so to have more choice and greater access to deals.
The solution? Provide customers with an online resource that helps them find products while in-store. Include in-store only deals and allow customer to buy products online through the app while in-store. Over a quarter of the consumers we asked said they would welcome this solution and it would entice them back to the high-street.
Over half of the Gen Z’s (16-24) say they choose to shop online due to a greater flexibility in payment options.
This includes both the ability to stagger payments across multiple weeks and the variety of payment methods available to them.
The solution? Ensure your business offers the most technologically-enabled payment device. When we asked what methods consumers are open to, nearly 10% of them stated they’d be willing to embed technology into themselves to make it a more efficient process. A further 16% would welcome retina scanning and 26% said they’d use their fingerprint to pay for products. It may sound like science fiction, but there are versions of these solutions already on the market.
A clear and consistent message has emerged through our consumer in this research. In-store retailers must embrace new technology to keep pace with online competitors. Shorten the queues. Invest in the latest technology to give your customers experiences worth coming in store for. Serve their ever-increasing impatient nature to ensure they remain loyal to your store. Fail to do so, and the trend of customers moving online to shop will continue.
As Europe’s largest merchant services provider, Paymentsense enables over 70,000 SMEs to process over GBP 10 billion worth of card payments per year. From card machines to semi-integrated solutions and payment gateways, Paymentsense supplies small businesses with low-cost card processing solutions that allow them to take payments in store, online, over the phone and on the move.