For retailers and consumers alike, Black Friday is one of the busiest times of the year - and it’s only getting more widespread. Analysing Ingenico transaction data over Black Friday weekend last year showed that not only did overall sales volumes rise by 25%, but the millionth transaction for the day was hit at a staggeringly early 6:33am. To most businesses, it will come as no surprise that online sales continue to trend upwards, but what most don’t realise is that – contrary to popular belief – the Highstreet isn’t dead. In-store remains a powerful tool that retailers can wield to boost sales and improve customer experience – especially on peak sales days.
As technology and payments systems become increasingly sophisticated, shoppers are becoming more accustomed to seamless and efficient retail experiences. If businesses don’t cater to these expectations, shoppers will turn to familiar and easy alternatives, such as online marketplaces. As the peak sales season approaches, it is more important than ever for merchants to provide a hassle-free payments process to avoid losing out on sales and frustrating customers – both online and in-store.
Shopping in is in
Last year Ingenico gathered key data from its large retail customers in Europe over the Black Friday weekend, which found that in-store gave ecommerce a run for its money when it came to transaction volumes. Although online shopping was certainly on the rise over Black Friday 2018, with sales reaching €573.21 million – a 12% increase on last year – and transaction volumes reaching an impressive 6 million, in-store grossly outperformed online. Over Black Friday 2018, in-store sales rose an impressive 27% to €2.17 billion, with in-store transaction volumes trumping online seven-fold - totalling 42 million.
The opportunity is evident for in-store, though online is growing for a reason – consumers increasingly crave convenience and simplicity. Retailers need to offer customers the same efficiency in-store to keep them coming in.
Invest in in-store
In-store has a whole host of unique value-adds – customers can try before they buy; get bespoke advice from shop-floor staff; receive the product instantly. However, with such high competition, retailers need to maximise in-store’s potential further to maintain footfall.
Consumers are so tech-savvy these days that it’s a no-brainer to use these methods to upgrade the in-store experience. Providing mobile tablets, for example, can help upgrade shop floor staff’s capabilities by not only giving consumers wider access to product information but, if the tablets have integrated payment software, it can cut queues thereby reducing customer wait-times. Reducing in-store friction in this way is a simple method to improve customer satisfaction.
This sort of customer support is especially important during peak sales moments. If shoppers are met with long wait times and can’t get their questions answered in a timely manner, it could put them off shopping in-store indefinitely. Conversely, if their Highstreet experience is more positive than expected, their trips in-store will likely become more frequent.
Put your eggs in multiple baskets
Investing in in-store is important, but online shouldn’t be neglected. Although in-store transaction volumes outperformed online, the average online basket was still worth nearly double more – €92.60 versus €50.95 in-store. By supplying an omnichannel experience that provides a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints, it will maximise your opportunities and improve the consumer offering.
Last year’s Black Friday profits raked in an impressive £7 billion for the British retail sector. Processing this level of traffic is no easy task, and getting it wrong on one of the biggest shopping days of the year will likely hinder sales and damage customer confidence. With more options than ever before, consumers have a whole host of other alternatives to turn to should they be put off by the experience you offer, so it’s essential to prevent this at all costs.
To avoid any major issues, a focus on customer UX and conversion is crucial. Optimising across all channels, for example configuring your mobile website to meet the growing demand for mCommerce, and ensuring your payments systems run smoothly and consistently across both digital and in-store platforms, will not only keep customers happy, but reduce declines and any other system failures which may turn shoppers away.
For merchants partnered with Ingenico, they have a reliable payment processor on their side. Between the peak sales hours of 11am and 12pm on Black Friday 2018, Ingenico’s systems processed over 933 transactions per second, with plenty of capacity to spare. This level of processing power helps merchants meet their sales volumes and customer demands problem-free.
If last year’s statistics are anything to go by, this Black Friday will prove to be another overwhelming success for retailers both in-store and online. Make sure your business reaps the benefits by equipping it with a seamless payments system which is consistent across all channels, meets transaction volumes and provides a good customer experience.
To learn more about how Ingenico’s services support retailers during peak sales, visit: www.ingenico.co.uk
Lee Jones – Director of Sales and Business Development, Ingenico Enterprise Retail
Lee is the commercial leader for Ingenico Enterprise Retail in Northern Europe. Lee and his team have an unparalleled track record of helping organisations deliver a reliable, secure and fuss free checkout experience.
Having held a variety of leadership roles with market leading technology companies over a 20-year period, Lee is passionate about driving solutions that deliver real value to his customers.
Leading Ingenico into new markets, where the introduction of cashless payments is just starting to emerge, while supporting existing customers in their ambition to meet and exceed shopper expectations is something which highly interests Lee. Lee is proud of the trust customers have placed with Ingenico and his team. Being able to help organisations reduce the cost, complexity and burden of PCI while assuring their revenues and enabling them to increase their customer satisfaction scores is at the heart of the Ingenico Enterprise Retail strategy.