How Consumers Browse And Pay With Digital Technology

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With an array of options at their fingertips, consumers find and pay for retail purchases ranging from clothing to cosmetics through a variety of channels. Consumers might seek the help of an employee in a brick-and-mortar store, or they may shop outside the four walls of a physical store with their smartphones and computers.

But there is an apparent connection between how consumers browse or shop for goods and services and how they end up paying for them in the digital age: According to the PYMNTS Remote Payments Study, More than half — or 54.7 percent — of those who discovered their last retail purchases using their mobile phones ended up paying with those same devices.

From IKEA to Walgreens, brick-and-mortar retailers are tapping into technology to help consumers browse and shop merchandise. These are just some of the ways that consumers are finding and buying merchandise through multiple channels — and how brick-and-mortar retailers are tapping into digital devices to serve these consumers:

Approximately half — or 42.1 percent — of consumers who already knew what they wanted found and paid for their latest purchases with an employee in the store. And retailers are bringing new technologies into their physical stores to help employees serve customers. Walgreens, for instance, is tapping into mobile technology as it bridges the digital and brick-and-mortar store experiences. The pharmacy chain chose a mobile computer and a tablet from Zebra to use in its stores. Zebra said the technology can help workers with their daily tasks and helping customers. Workers can, for instance, set up orders for home or direct-to-store delivery in addition to looking up product data or checking planograms. They then have time to help more shoppers.

Roughly two in 10 consumers — or 21.1 percent — who already knew what they wanted found and paid for their latest purchases online through a computer. With this interest, retailers that have a brick-and-mortar presence are also taking the plunge into eCommerce: According to a report in February, TJX-owned Marshalls is launching an eCommerce business later this year. At the time, news surfaced that the retailer’s website showcased a store locator, gift cards and some photos and other features — but it doesn’t have merchandise for sale. TJX’s chains Marshalls and T.J. Maxx have stayed popular with shoppers who enjoy the experience of “hunting” for a good bargain even though most retailers have seen sales suffer due to the rise of Amazon.

About the same share — or 19.9 percent — of consumers who already knew what they wanted found and paid for their latest purchases online through a smartphone. And retailers are rolling out new mobile programs, with IKEA getting ready to launch an app that would let consumers shop online for products they can use in their homes. The move marks a change for the retailer, which had long driven customers into its stores. “It is a completely new experience,” IKEA Chief Digital Officer Barbara Martin Coppola said, according to reports. “The app is combined with the store experience, with the online experience.” According to reports, the mobile app will roll out first in France, followed by the Netherlands. The technology will eventually come to eight leading retail markets for IKEA such as the U.S., China and Germany.

And just under 15 percent — or 14.9 percent — of consumers who already knew what they wanted found and paid for their latest purchases with a kiosk in store. At some quick-service (QSR) restaurants, customers can place their orders and pay through kiosks: Taco Bell, for instance, is deploying self-service kiosks. Through the devices, customers can customize their meals by, say, swapping out beef for beans in the Crunchwrap Supreme to make the dish vegetarian. After diners make those decisions, they can pay with their credit cards or the restaurant’s gift cards at the kiosks. The diners, however, don’t have to pay with the devices if they so choose: Taco Bell allows these consumers to use the devices to place their orders and then pay with cash at the counter.

Two percent of consumers who already knew what they wanted found and paid for their latest purchases through another channel. To tap into channels beyond the screens of smartphones and computers, retailers are working with voice assistants to make it easier for customers to shop for groceries amid stiff competition. In one instance, Walmart has rolled out an offering called Walmart Voice Order by working with partners such as Google. The feature lets consumers shop for groceries by using voice command. With the functionality, shoppers will be able to say “Google, talk to Walmart” and Google Assistant will add products directly to their Walmart grocery carts, per reports in April. At the same time, shoppers can manage their shopping carts on the go. The technology is available on a host of devices like Android phones.

From Walmart to IKEA, brick-and-mortar retailers are letting consumers shop and pay for their purchases through a variety of channels. And that is for a good reason: The mobile-driven economy of this year can be described as a competitive market where only the most technologically versatile retailers survive.



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