For many of us, the words “Black Friday” still conjure up images of wild hordes stampeding into department stores and unsavory fights over low-end televisions. Luckily, the seasonal shopping frenzy is starting to look a little different in the era of omnichannel retail.
While we can all agree that less mayhem and fewer shop floor horror stories are a good thing, the general decline in foot traffic to physical stores can be particularly worrying for retailers during the holiday season. But there is a silver lining: the transition from brick-and-mortar to online is not quite as one-sided as it may seem.
Case in point: during the 2018 Black Friday week, seven retailers outperformed Amazon in year-on-year growth. How did they do it? By fighting part of the battle outside Amazon’s playing field: in physical stores.
By leveraging innovative technologies that help customers connect their online and offline shopping experiences, retailers can turn omnichannel capabilities - click-and-collect, web-to-store, endless aisle and many more - into game-changing competitive advantages.
“Retailers’ investments in technology continued to pay off with consumers seamlessly shopping on all platforms throughout the weekend. The survey found more than 89 million people shopped both online and in stores, up nearly 40 percent from last year. The multichannel shopper outspent the single-channel shopper by up to $93 on average.” - The National Retail Federation
The majority of US consumers are now shopping both in-store and online over the holiday weekend, and omnichannel shoppers are bigger spenders than the single-channel ones. European research shows the same trends.
In Europe, the trend is similar. According to Criteo, both in-store and online sales surged on Black Friday across EMEA last year: in-store purchases grew 29% on Black Friday, and online purchases increased 97%, compared to the average daily sales volume earlier in the month.
So are you ready to embrace the world of omnichannel retail? Here are three winning strategies to consider, for Black Friday and beyond.
Streamline checkout with self-service technology
One example that can help tackle turmoil in physical stores during major events and eliminate frustrating checkout lines is self-service technology, which allows customers to skip the queue and pay for their items at unattended kiosks.
If you believe do-it-yourself checkout will convey the feel of an average supermarket to your store, think again. The most recent generations of checkout technologies offer ultra-slick customer interaction experiences, perfectly consistent with high-value brands.
For example, the iconic jeweler Tiffany & Co hosts a self-service vending machine for fragrances, built around the advanced VALINA payment terminal, in its London flagship store. In addition to lightning-fast transactions, the terminal also enables multimedia advertising, supports value-added payment applications such as wallets, and enables data collection for improved loyalty schemes and other omnichannel scenarios.
If your Black Friday bargains attract crazy crowds to your stores, self-service checkout can reduce the hullabaloo to acceptable and even enjoyable levels, both for buyers and for store associates.
Empower store associates with omnichannel data
Convenience and a streamlined shopping experience are key to keeping physical stores relevant. Today’s shoppers arrive in your stores expecting the frictionless convenience they are used to from digital channels. They want to be recognized instantly when they come for in-store pickup, they want efficient recommendations for companion products, and they expect to be rewarded for loyalty regardless of shopping channel.
To make sure your store associates always have answers and solutions to customers’ questions and problems, invest in a unified omnichannel platform for all your payment processing.
With easy access to consolidated data from all payment methods and transaction types, and from all your sales channels, you will be able to track buyers across all channels and ensure that your store associates always have the information they need at their fingertips.
Offer destinations, not just stores
Used right, physical stores can still be tremendous assets. By catering to shoppers in search of a variety of experiences, they can be destinations rather than just shops, key differentiators amid stiff competition.
But providing shoppers with more choices, enabling them to dictate the terms of their experience, and tailoring it to their needs is no easy feat. Elevating the retail experience with digitally enabled, personal and efficient journeys requires powerful omnichannel technology such as touchscreen terminals that efficiently blend online and offline processes.
For example, YUMI is a high-end terminal that can help you fully leverage the payment experience with an array of retail tools to create a more satisfying, interactive customer experience. Its large touchscreen allows shoppers to easily interact with a panel of apps, and it serves as a gateway for store associates to engage in a dialogue during checkout.
By enabling shoppers to browse in-store and choose or customize their products, by facilitating loyalty card scanning, cross-selling, store-to-web upselling and much more, the terminal can transform idle time in stores into value-added moments.
Take the next Black Friday to the next level
Over the last few years, Black Friday has extended its boundaries to include Thanksgiving Day, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, transforming from a single-day phenomenon into a week-long retail marathon. Black Friday itself is no longer the be-all and end-all in-store event, but can be part of a broader seasonal strategy that begins on Black Friday weekend.
Omnichannel retailers have an enormous opportunity to leverage the distinct perks of in-store shopping, in ways that digital pure players can only dream about. As Black Friday week continues to evolve, the winners will be those who successfully invite the digital world into their stores, maximizing technology investments to deliver convenient, delightful and memorable shopping experiences.
And if it is a little too late to fix the weaknesses of your 2019 Black Friday strategy by now, there is no better time to kick-start preparations for a great 2020 holiday shopping season. Reach out today to learn how Worldline can help you make the most of the possibilities that a true omnichannel payment platform has to offer.