Customers are more informed than ever, with seemingly infinite alternatives, channels and touchpoints. If they’re willing and ready to buy, you’re expected to show up right in front of them, offering exactly what they want, when they want, at the price they want. And if you don’t, your competitors surely will.
Customers want everything to be available, instantly and on their terms.
They want to see, experience, feel, demo, browse. They want it at the best price, with no surprises (like hidden fees) or disappointments (like lengthy delivery times) along the way. And, if you dare ask them to fill out a boring form or click an extra button? Poof, they’re gone.
It’s no surprise that retailers are worried about the future.
The competing demands of checkout represent a challenge. How do you design a checkout that works everywhere, on every device, and accepts all payments? One that lets customers shop instantly and gives merchants the insights they need to anticipate cashflow, identify trends and optimise the shopping experience? And one that also respects privacy and keeps everything secure?
Maybe the future of checkout is no checkout at all. At least not as we know it now.
The best checkout experience today does all the heavy lifting in the background. It is not just customer-centred, it is customer-led. There are a lot of ways this can be achieved, but overall, the future of checkout will be centred around two key concepts: personalisation (of both product and payment), and a frictionless shopping experience (both online and in-store).
Personalisation is more than a cart abandonment email, Facebook targeting and customised products.
A completely tailored checkout experience from beginning to end, and beyond, means meeting people wherever they are in the buying process. It means full control over payment and credit terms, flexible fulfilment and non-intrusive recommendations that anticipate your customers’ needs.
Imagine, for every purchase you make, being able to pay a lump sum of your choosing and pay the rest in instalments, or set a payment schedule based on your own budgeting or cash flow with a single click?
What if you could change that at any time, even days after the transaction is done?
What if you had the ability to shop across retailers and brands with a single click, and somehow, without you needing to add any new details, it knows you have your shoes delivered to work, your shampoo delivered to home, and flowers delivered to your partner’s office on the 15th of every month?
Sounds cool, doesn’t it? It’s where we’re headed.
Imagine going shopping in Pitt St Mall without carrying anything out of the store or wasting time organising delivery. You can wander from shop to shop, browse, sample, test and buy when you feel like it, knowing that whatever you choose will be waiting for you when you get home.
There’s no pressure and the shop assistant is happy for you to browse for as long as you like without it getting weird, because they know they can close the sale later if you’re not ready today.
The checkout is like your best friend. It listens to you. It supports you. It remembers your birthday and your favourite scent, and it cares about your wellbeing – both personal and financial. It doesn’t trip you up or put unnecessary hurdles in your way. It doesn’t ask you the same questions over and over again. It defaults to your favourite payment method for that store and that purchase type, and recommends what it thinks you need, not what it wants to sell you. And it has your back, with rock-solid security and protection.
When it comes to the future of checkout, it’s easy to let technology dominate the conversation but technology is only part of the equation. The best technology works in the background to support new experiences that make people’s lives better, easier and more efficient. From your customer’s point of view (and remember, you’re someone’s customer too!), there’s no checkout, there’s just buy or don’t buy.
About the Author
Timothy Dwyer is the co-founder and CEO of Limepay, a payment platform helping businesses of all sizes grow by strengthening customer experiences. He’s passionate about developing smart, flexible solutions to lay the foundations of a more intuitive future for commerce. For Tim, the next three years is all about brand, people and experiences.
Co-Author: Jennifer Robson – Content Strategist of Limepay