Consumers are looking for seamless, personalised shopping experiences

July 17, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau

Consumers are looking for seamless, personalised shopping experiences

Content by Mastercard

A consistent theme across the Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (EEMEA) region is the sweeping shift to digital channels and a heightened demand for omnichannel offerings.While some countries are lagging, others like the UAE are global leaders in e-commerce. In Africa, Kenya has been a leader in mobile commerce, while e-commerce is strong in South Africa. Within other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the pace of digital transformation has also accelerated.

Today consumers expect retailers to invest in e-commerce and embrace their appetite for a seamless digital experience at their fingertips and on their phones. So, retailers must capitalise on an omnichannel approach that leverages the advantages of each channel, from retail stores to apps, to meet consumers wherever, whenever and however they prefer to shop.

E-commerce continues to grow

Retailers that saw an opportunity during the pandemic and launched or expanded their omnichannel offerings will continue to reap the benefits. For small businesses globally, the story is especially striking. The number of existing small businesses that started accepting online payments for the first time since the start of the pandemic has remained at least 28% above pre-pandemic levels for virtually every month, peaking at 256%, a Mastercard Data & Services study indicates.

While in-store shopping will regain momentum year-over-year, e-commerce sales growth will remain elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels. Retailers are expected to offer promotions across channels as they compete for consumer purchasing power while offering services including 60-minute delivery, click and collect option and more.

Regardless of their e-commerce development maturity curve, retailers must look to address any perceived inadequacies in their customer journey. Investments could include enhancing loyalty rewards or implementing cyber security measures to curtail online fraud.

Innovating brick-and-mortar

As omnichannel continues to evolve with the merging of virtual and in-store experiences, retailers in EEMEA are looking to leverage their physical store locations in new ways. Some retailers are creating experience centres at the intersection of media and technology. For example, a consumer electronics retailer that sells televisions might use it to show advertisements. It’s a new way to make money on a product the retailer is trying to sell by using it as an advertising platform too.

Several retailers are also investing to ramp up inventory management capabilities and fulfil orders from anywhere at optimal costs. In the fashion sector, many retailers are using their store networks as fulfilment centres. Retailers are also offering in-store ordering options so that customers shopping at a location where a certain item is out of stock, they can still place an order using the sales associate’s mobile device to be shipped to their preferred location or reserve it for pick up.

Retailers must go beyond seamless

It’s a reality that consumers are looking for personalised, digital access to their favourite brands, along with special offers and rewards for how they spend. Globally, 80% of consumers want promotions tailored to their needs and expect more from companies to retain their loyalty.

In the UAE, food delivery platform Talabat offers fast delivery over short distances for a monthly fee. Its app experience sets the standard for seamless shopping, payment delivery and more. This type of on-demand, hyperlocal delivery service is raising customer expectations from their other favourite brands.

Meanwhile, the subscription economy is also growing that sees consumers subscribing to retailers offering everything from fashion to pet supplies, diapers and even toilet paper. To compete with these rising e-commerce players, traditional retailers are beginning to offer free delivery and a mobile app experience, something that will continue growing. If anything, retailers across EEMEA will continue creating and enhancing personalised and engaging brand experience across omnichannel offerings.

To know more, download Top retail trends to watch in 2023 to learn what retailers should be watching and why or view “Mastercard’s EMEA Retail Trends 2023 webinar” with the latest insights from Mastercard Economic Institute on how the economy and consumers will continue to shape the retail industry.

About Mastercard: The company’s offerings go beyond just transactions. Mastercard delivers the technology and data capabilities to help retailers and manufacturers innovate, grow and stay ahead of the competition in today’s digital world. By harnessing the power of real-time, anonymized and aggregated transaction data, powerful software platforms such as Dynamic Yield, SessionM and Test & Learn, and wealth of expertise, Mastercard empowers retailers to discover new retail insights and opportunities, recommends targeted actions and predicts results, improves performance over time and executes programmes and campaigns at scale. With compelling offerings for apparel, restaurant, travel, telco, and more, Mastercard services drive efficiency and value and help customers make smarter decisions with better outcomes.

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