Engaging commerce experiences from around the world
The world of payments and commerce is changing at a rapid pace as consumer expectations evolve and new technology facilitates unprecedented change. Drawing on best practice case studies from a range of industries around the world, here are some top tips for businesses to meet, or even exceed customer demands.
1. Put the customer in control: Klarna
Central to keeping customers happy is giving them more control than they have ever had before. Klarna gained fame and success by recognising the challenge that their target customers had when ordering clothes online. Klarna has made life easier by decoupling payments from the shopping experience. This means that consumers can walk out of the store or wait for an online order to arrive before they pay from the comfort of their own home – and pay for what they want.
The company has developed this around its core proposition with the recent launch of Smoooth, which gives customers even more power. They can now choose not only how, but also when to pay off the balance of their shopping.
2. Design for blended spheres: Hema
It is clear that the point of sale in retail has now transformed beyond recognition as retailers blend the online and physical spheres. A great example comes from China where Alibaba has rolled out a cutting-edge format in its 160 Hema stores. These outlets serve three purposes in one – it is a place to shop, a distribution centre and a restaurant. Every product label has a barcode that you can scan with an app, allowing you to see the online price, reviews and even when that item was delivered to the store.
If you don’t want to carry your shopping home, the app also allows you to see delivery options. Alongside shoppers, sales assistants in the store fulfil delivery orders and use belts to transport goods above shoppers’ heads, through a route in the ceiling to a delivery area. If you live within 3km of a Hema store you can get your shopping in this way within just 30 minutes.
And there are robot waiters at one of Hema’s Shanghai locations, where you can secure a table and order your food through the app, before a robot brings the food directly to you, and even cleans up afterwards.
3. Satisfy higher objectives: Avis Car Rental
Often consumers want something that is very functional – but the best-in-class providers go further and give you something you didn’t realise you wanted. Avis is in the process of digitising its entire business, including mobile apps and connected cars. What this means is that they have taken a functional product – a vehicle to take you from A to B – and enriched the overall experience.
Today, Avis customers can control the entire experience – finding the car, extending the reservation – even unlocking the doors (in select markets) with a mobile phone. In the future, these cars may even “remember” your preferred seat settings, favourite radio stations and other customised settings. Connected cars bypass the wait at the checkout counter, the exit gate, and the return is automatic.
With these innovations, Avis allows you to achieve a higher objective, a convenient and efficient trip, not just the functional objective of reaching your hotel.
Find out more on Avis’ connected car fleet.
4. Be effortless: Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield shopping centres
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield shopping centres in the UK have really thought about the customer’s entire journey – starting before they even enter stores, making the whole experience effortless.
Shoppers can create a profile on a parking app and enter the mall so they don’t have to think about a ticket – they simply park and go. The app can be used to validate parking and skip queues – and they even email a receipt. This level of effortlessness is something that consumers appreciate and will continue to demand.
At the same time, a merchant’s priority is to convert people visiting their site into business – which often requires seamless authentication.
Check out this video about the smart parking app.
5. Leave nothing to chance: Rent the Runway
Attention to detail is a critical factor in modern business, but in the sharing economy it is even more important. Rent the Runway is a US business that rents designer women’s clothing, kids’ clothing, accessories and home decor to consumers who want a luxury product, without the luxury price tag.
Behind the high-end fashion, the company is powered by a complex technology and logistics operation. Fuelling Rent the Runway’s eco-system are two enormous operations known internally as ‘Dream Fulfilment Centers’ one in Secaucus, New Jersey, and a brand new 300,000 square foot facility in Arlington, TX.
Products go through a meticulous process of receiving, cleaning, and repairs to ensure each garment is in perfect condition before sending out again. It is a sophisticated operation that is pivotal to Rent the Runway’s unique business model.
Find out more about the Rent the Runway’s operations here.
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