During the FN CEO Summit, Frank Keller, SVP of consumer in-store and digital commerce at PayPal, and Scott Compton, senior analyst at Forrester Research, hosted a session on the main stage to discuss what the shopping experience of the future will look like and the role of payments as a strategic partner.
Acknowledging that the pandemic accelerated innovation and consumer behavior by five years in just three to six months, Keller said a topic on many retailers’ minds right now is how consumers will look to shop once the pandemic is lifted: Is the way consumers shop permanently altered or will people look to go back to old habits? The simple answer is “yes.”
According to data from Forrester Research, while consumers are eager to get back in stores, they will be coming back with higher expectations fueled by digital acumen, research and learned behavior for convenience.
“Polishing the omnichannel journey with your customer is a really worthwhile endeavor,” said Compton. “In fact, 97% of shoppers have backed out of a purchase because it was inconvenient for them. We’ve been doing this now for about a year and the customer has become used to interacting with us this way and having fulfillment [options] that they choose. And we’re also seeing consumers look for more choice and flexibility, especially related to payments.”
Things like digital wallets, contactless payments, cashier-less checkout, ensuring last-mile delivery demands and curbside pickup will persist, Compton said. Buy now, pay later (BNPL) is one key example of how providing multiple financing options can be critical in meeting consumer expectations for choice and flexibility.
According to PayPal, its research payment platforms can help bridge the gap between online and in-store with an omnichannel crossover. Notably, the company reports more than 70 million new users coming online during the pandemic, with most saying they had never used online shopping before.
Further, PayPal’s BNPL services show an average order volume goes up by 39% compared with standard transactions, with 65% repeat use — thus driving overall loyalty. Customers of the company’s BNPL service largely fall in the age range below 30 years old, hitting both the millennial and Gen Z demographic.
“We really just don’t want to get left behind as retailers. We want to be adaptive, we’ve got all kinds of things going on in the mix nowadays, related to predictive supply networks, store associate toolsets,” said Compton. “And now the customer literally has more information than a lot of your associates do when they try to interact with the brand. So those are the pieces that we want to bring together, and your competitors will be doing it, and they’re literally just one click away, so staying in front of the pack means staying in touch with the customer. Overall, we have to be thinking about our customers and our data in new ways.”
Summit sponsors include presenting sponsor PayPal and event sponsors Aetrex, Caleres, FDRA, K-Swiss, Riskified, SkyPad, Sperry, Two Ten and Zappos.