Winning at the Checkout
By Pranav Patel

Originally from MN Tech Mag

Retail—and how people have shopped—has changed. The winners are those who can harness technology to create an intuitive, frictionless hybrid user experience.

While digital has been part of the shopping experience for decades, the pandemic accelerated the adoption and, in some cases, the preference for digital-first options. In 2022, mobile retail ecommerce sales in the United States are expected to double to $430 billion, indicating the changing nature of purchasing behaviors. In fact, nearly one-third of U.S. internet users buy something online each week via a mobile phone and experts state that 80% of B2B sales will occur in digital channels by 2025.  

As digital becomes integral to the buyer’s journey, retailers must reinvent themselves to benefit from the always-on consumer, prioritize user experience, increase engagement, build loyalty, and improve organizational efficiencies.

But where should a retail business start when looking to develop a successful digital strategy? There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and there are many ways to win at the checkout. But success is easier if you have technology on your side.  

Changing the Retail Experience

The pace and expectations of retail shopping have changed. Today’s consumers want the flexibility to shop how, when, and where they want. Increasingly, consumers are using digital channels as part of their shopping experience.  


Most consumers now use a combination of online and in-person channels throughout their shopping journey based on what makes the most sense for them at the time. For example, they may learn about a pair of shoes on social media, go to the store to try them on, and buy them online. Because the shopping journey is so fractured, you’re missing out on crucial touchpoints if you’re not selling across digital and in-person channels.  


But it’s not enough to sell through numerous channels. Customers want all touchpoints in their shopping journey to feel like parts of a cohesive whole. They expect a brand’s personality, messaging, and product offers will be consistent across the mobile app, in-store displays, and online store. They want to seamlessly pick up where they left off when switching between channels. Consumers also expect retailers to cater to their unique needs – for example, providing quick checkout in some situations and a richer experience in others.  


Not only do customers want it all, but they also want it right now. The pandemic created an increased demand for restaurant and grocery delivery services. Despite the slow return to normal in some areas, many people have retained a preference for rapid delivery services that can quickly deliver orders – sometimes in mere minutes.  

If consumers are willing to head to the store, they don’t always want the burden of doing their own shopping. Instead, they choose to buy online for in-store for curbside pickup. When customers shop on their own, they still look to technology to streamline their checkout experience with self-checkout, contactless payments, and other payment innovations.

Digital Opportunities Provide More Places to Win

The changing customer journey means more opportunities for retailers of all sizes to compete at the checkout. After all, even small brands can be big online. The following are trending opportunities for companies, both big and small.  


Mobile applications have been around for twenty years. But it’s become increasingly important that companies of all sizes have a robust mobile presence.  

“Companies in the past, specifically smaller companies, believed building a custom mobile application may not be worth the investment. But now, users expect brands of all sizes to have their own applications. Fortunately, small to mid-size retailers are usually pleasantly surprised to learn how affordable and valuable a custom mobile app can be for their business,” said Kaustubh Goswami, Retail Product Manager at Concord.

But there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution for every retail business. What works for your business depends on your customer needs and business goals. Popular types of retail apps include discount and deal givers, loyalty programs, digital wallets, price comparison helpers, and vendor portals.


With connected commerce, all your channels are integrated from a sales, marketing and operational standpoint – so your customers can discover, purchase, and receive their items based on their personal preferences.  

With seamless and personalized integration, customers will have a consistent experience with your brand wherever they interact with you – for example, through online marketplaces, your website, social media, and brick-and-mortar stores.  


Using live commerce, you can sell products through live video while shoppers interact with your brand in real-time. By 2024, livestream shopping in the United States is expected to triple to $35 billion.

Live commerce accelerates the buying process, increases audience size, and boosts conversions. According to McKinsey Digital, companies using live commerce report the following results:  

  • 20% growth in younger audiences
  • 30% conversion rates – compared to the 1-2% that’s typical for traditional ecommerce  
  • 10-20% of their total ecommerce sales come from live commerce


The metaverse combines physical, augmented, and virtual reality to create a digital environment where consumers can interact and make purchases. Because the metaverse provides a deep and rich customer experience, it has the potential to drive customer engagement and loyalty.  

Don’t worry if joining the metaverse seems too lofty a goal for your organization – you have time. While you can expect that hybrid technology innovation will begin to reshape the retail experience within the next twenty years, it’s unlikely that fully-immersive experiences will be in widespread use for many years. Still, it’s worth considering the future implications of the metaverse when optimizing the current customer experience.

How Technology Can Help

How can retailers meet the higher needs and expectations of customers? Technology helps connect with customers and create operational efficiency.


Personalization across channels enhances customer experience, builds loyalty, and drives growth. The average consumer now uses stores, online, and mobile devices throughout their shopping journey – and they expect you to be aware of their behaviors across channels. This makes the process more complex for retailers. Success necessitates collecting and combining data from across channels and using the insights to create a cohesive omnichannel shopping experience.  

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can provide greater insights into buyer behaviors and preferences. Based on the collected information, you’ll be able to understand what your customers are viewing, buying together, and other vital pieces of information. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system with built-in AI can be an easy entry point into hyper-personalization, helping you to achieve one-to-one connections at scale and engaging mobile-first customers in a cookie-less world.


People are looking for flexibility in the purchasing process. The pandemic accelerated preferences for different ways to shop and get their goods. Technology is fueling change in order fulfillment. Click-and-collect, curbside, and other delivery technologies that optimize the last mile are helping retailers keep up with increasing consumer expectations for fast and easy pickup.  


Payment innovations, like buy-now-pay-later systems and contactless payments, makes the buying process more convenient for shoppers. Flexible and frictionless payments are enticing to consumers as prices continue to rise. By providing unique payment strategies, retailers can deliver increased basket sizes, more shopping visits, stronger brand loyalty, and help to alleviate cart abandonment.  


If you’re a retailer looking to cut costs, look no further than process automation. Companies can reduce human effort, operational costs, manual mistakes, and processing times by automating processes. Opportunities include automating product categorization, supply chain and inventory management, billing, pricing, and other operations.

Chatbots with conversational intelligence can improve the quality of your customer service while reducing the burden on your team members. The chatbots can answer routine questions and escalate inquiries that require human assistance. Plus, chatbots can be available to help customers 24/7 across numerous channels.


Find out the importance of data and learn how to develop your digital strategy by reading the full eBook here.  

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