Have you ever made a purchase at your own store so you can experience the transaction from your customers’ perspective?
The final transaction is a crucial point of exchange between the customer and merchant, so it could be a worthwhile thought experiment. More is going on in that moment than the exchange of funds to finalize a sale: This face-to-face interaction can be important for making a long-term connection with a customer.
A positive conclusion to the shopping experience encourages repeat business. In one recent survey, Canadians were asked why they had chosen a particular store to make a purchase. They cited good customer service — helpful, knowledgeable and friendly — as their number one reason. In other words, they based their decision on memories of a previous shopping experience at that store.
On the other hand, people who experience friction during their visit become less loyal to the same retailer going forward. A recent survey commissioned by Interac found 75% of Canadians have stepped away from a purchase because of a long checkout line, and 60% are less likely to return to a store if they can’t pay the way they want.
All considered, it’s wise for a retail business to think about its options for making the checkout experience frictionless and rewarding for the customer — that way, it will deliver value for the people on both sides of the counter.
What are some best practices among Canadian retailers? Read on …
Don’t just check out — check up
Kristina Rapson of Dogfather & Co., a high-end pet boutique with two locations in Toronto, says it’s important to keep talking with customers through the payment moment to make sure they’re leaving the store happy.
“The ideal interaction for customers coming into Dogfather is to be able to keep a conversation going from the beginning to the end,” she says, “in order to figure out what products are best for them and really build a relationship with them.”
Make paying convenient
Maybe it’s because they’re busy, maybe it’s because they want to keep up with the latest technology, but one thing is clear: Canadians love contactless payment options, and they’ve been among the most eager adopters in the world.
Digital wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay are a contactless payment option that also allow customers to downsize the collection of plastic cards they carry with them every day. (How does it work? Customers can upload their Interac Debit card to a digital wallet and pay with real funds from their bank accounts.)
Digital wallet apps are growing extremely quickly as well. Nearly 35 per cent of Canadians used a mobile device to make a (contactless) payment in 2018, and the figure is rapidly growing. Whether they’re using cards or mobile digital wallets to pay, the average Canadian consumer now spends $187 per week via contactless payments.
Offering contactless payment is a smart move now, and will only get smarter over time.
Use contactless payment to forge a connection
By enabling Interac Debit contactless payments, you’re not just keeping up with the times, you’re opening a door to more personalized customer service. Rapson appreciates how Interac Debit contactless payments gives her customers a smooth, conversational checkout experience.
“Interac Debit contactless payments enables people to pay by debit without having to think about entering their PIN,” she notes. That allows Dogfather’s staff to keep talking with customers — about pet nutrition, favourite dog parks, or whatever else they may want to chat about — all the way through to the conclusion of the payment transaction.
Says Rapson, “Interac Debit contactless payments helps us keep the conversation going.”
Note: Interac Debit contactless payments was previously called Interac Flash.