How digital changed consumer shopping | Sponsored Content

This article was contributed and sponsored by PayPal.

Giving shoppers what they want, where and when they want it with minimal delay defines the ideal end-to-end shopping experience for today’s modern consumer. Retailers are expected to offer a variety of payment options, more diversity in offerings online, faster delivery times, and, if they truly want to compete, a seamless omnichannel experience that is convenient and hassle-free.

“[These are the] trends that will continue to grow as firms continue to put more investment into online and social media marketing,” says Frank Keller, senior vice president of enterprise solutions and digital commerce at PayPal.

However, if retailers truly want to drive loyalty within every step of the purchasing process going forward, Keller says integrating the online world of shopping with the in-person world is going to be critical.

Evolving beyond digital channels

The past year and a half has put a spotlight on the need for merchants to provide a seamless, cross-channel, and customized consumer journey. Shoppers are bouncing back and forth between online and in-person, across multiple touchpoints and devices. Merchants need to consider what this means for the experience they provide and how it directly impacts conversion.

Unfortunately, most strategies don’t consider the emotional factor of shopping. “People like to shop, see what’s new in-person, physically touch the item, and understand its color, size, etc.,” says Keller. “You can’t get this online.” The solution is to consider the store or in-person experience as another channel.

One way retailers are expanding the omnichannel experience is by including in-store shopping through the use of QR codes. Consumers can physically interact with a product, scanning the code to get answers to sizing, availability, and other frequently asked questions. Furthermore, retailers are extending the digital transaction option to in-store checkout as well by offering touchless checkout options like PayPal or Venmo.

"The benefit of this kind of technology is that if a consumer chooses not to purchase the item in store, they can add it to their online shopping cart or wish lists to be purchased at a later time," Kelly says, noting that this provides added convenience and choice as in-person shopping, dining, and entertainment experiences resume.

And it's gaining in popularity. According to a PYMNTS survey sponsored by PayPal, more than one-third of consumers who prefer QR codes would not even consider making purchases in a physical store without the technology.

Rethinking payments, again

The pandemic not only forced people to think differently about how they pay, but also when they pay. The uncertainty of the economy led consumers to want to spread payments out over time—helping manage their financial situation. By offering buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions, retailers are offering consumers the choice they are not only looking for, but are demanding.

Take Destination XL, for instance. PayPal’s pay later solution, Pay in 4, helped them discover new revenue, engage customers, and continue to be the go-to for big and tall men’s fashion. Pay in 4 accounted for 44% of their total 2020 pay later sales volume after implementation. Contributing to this success were millennial and Gen Z customers who embraced the new payment option. The use of Pay in 4 with these customers increased 25% between October and December 2020. Additionally, 55% of buyers used pay later for the first time at Destination XL during that same time frame. Destination XL also saw Pay in 4 average order values rise to $137.

In the end, merchants that possess a proactive mindset, embrace change, adapt to new consumer behaviors, and are enthusiastic about new practices and payment methods may end up on top.

To learn more about how PayPal can help your organization meet their goals, visit PayPal.com/Enterprise.