Retailers must wear a “digital first hat”


Anyone who has ordered groceries online knows the frustration of not receiving the ingredients they need for a dinner recipe – or, worse yet, getting inadequate substitutions that need to be returned (or left in custody. -eat for eternity).

Ben Laluc, vice president of digital commerce solutions at Cybersource, said it demonstrates the need for merchants to better synchronize their in-store inventory with their online presence rather than relying on warehouse data to populate the digital market. In an interview with Karen Webster, Laluc said consumers also want to be able to check online whether an item will be available in a physical store before taking a trip.

“It used to be ‘better that I dwell on it’ [to go to a store], ”he said.“ Now you better be extremely efficient. ”Otherwise, it’s just frustrating.

Related news: Data Summary: 51% of US Consumers Expect ‘Value Me’ and ‘Make It Easy for Me’ Digital Shopping Features

According to the US edition of the Global Digital Shopping Index, a collaboration between PYMNTS and Cybersource published last year, the use of digital shopping channels by consumers has increased by 60% since March 2020. The share of native shoppers in online has increased 17% since the pandemic began, while the share of consumers who prefer to pay for and receive products in-store has declined by 10%.

Go from digital to physical

Gone are the days when e-commerce could be totally isolated from the store or an omnichannel strategy could be led by brick and mortar, Laluc said; retailers now have to put on a “digital first hat, even for things that need to happen in the store”.

An example is finding things in the store: are customers looking for locations on their phones, or is this an assisted experience of an employee who can order something if it is out of stock? ?

Many traders are still experimenting with the best way to create a digital experience in the physical environment, which Laluc says is tricky and very dependent on a trader’s environment. “There is no one answer on how to make this experience seamless. “

One big gap in the United States, however, is the acceptance of contactless cards. Visa has seen tap-to-pay reach 70% of all face-to-face transactions worldwide except the United States, with more than 70 countries having more than 50% contactless penetration. In the United States, the penetration rate is just over 15%, more than double a year ago, with 400 million cards, or quadruple that of two years ago. At the height of the pandemic, the Shopping Index found that consumers have increased the share of purchases made through digital devices by 60% since March 2020.

“I think it’s starting to get pretty penalizing for traders,” Laluc said. “[Contactless] was a “nice to have” four years ago. At this point, I think it’s more like “you have to fill these gaps”.

One key to creating a digital first experience is making sure that commerce software is compatible and integrated between online locations and stores. “This is where we see the delta between traders who can implement it today,” Laluc added. “They can create these integrations. They are sufficiently facing forward.

Update of infrastructures

Currently, Laluc said, corporate marketers mainly fall into two camps when it comes to their omnichannel integrations. There are those who have a solid infrastructure in place and are simply striving to refine experiences “at the edge”, like ensuring the accuracy of BOPIS orders, adding payment options like buy now, pay later ( BNPL) and add in-store contactless payment options.

Then there are those who implemented “point solutions” during the pandemic and have yet to identify more permanent technology.

“It’s really about putting themselves in place with the right kind of solutions that will be sustainable in the future and will work fully in their system,” Laluc said. “Not the hodge-podge of one-off options they had to incorporate during COVID in a rush to carry out their daily activities [functions]. “

Many in this latter group of traders, he said, have a list of 35 to 40 company-wide items that need to be updated, but they can probably only process eight or nine this year. The main items that are currently gaining attention, Laluc told Webster, are items that have the biggest impact on revenue; Pre-COVID, the priorities included a greater share of results-oriented elements, such as using automation and eliminating waste by connecting inventory systems.

Small business priorities

For small businesses, however, it’s less about making the omnichannel experience holistic across the company’s various channels, markets and regions – and more about focusing on the integrations that have helped them the most during COVID. SMEs that did not have the right digital solutions at the start of the pandemic faced a particularly difficult task in trying to implement them after the fact. Not only did they have to balance the health and safety of employees and consumers, but they also had to assess their business model overnight in order to survive. Laluc said the pandemic has caused a big shift in the logic behind small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) providing a more digital experience for consumers.

“Before COVID, it was to grow, and during COVID, it was to survive,” he said. “Now it’s a bit of both.”

See more : Digital capabilities drive the digital shift for global SMEs

Small businesses may even have an advantage over large merchants in some cases, as they are able to use well-developed e-commerce platforms like Shopify, which is “very comprehensive for the needs of SMEs compared to what a big business has to do for their complex infrastructure. , which requires the integration of several systems to deliver.

According to a PYMNTS study conducted in conjunction with Cybersource, 35% of small business merchants in the United States see acceptance of contactless cards as a top priority over the next three years, as do 34% of large merchants. But while 38% and 43% of large merchants prioritize mobile ordering in advance and BOPIS or curbside pickup, respectively, only 31% of SMEs say mobile ordering is a top priority, and 34% give priority to BOPIS and curbside pickup.



On: It’s almost time for the holiday shopping season, and nearly 90% of US consumers plan to do at least some of their purchases online, 13% more than in 2020. The 2021 Holiday Shopping Outlook, PYMNTS surveyed over 3,600 consumers to find out more about what drives online sales this holiday season and the impact of product availability and personalized rewards on merchant preferences.


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