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What Customers Want

4 min read

Retail is changing and because of this, retailers must know what customers want. Technologies are transforming Australian businesses of all shapes and sizes. As a result, this blurs the ‘real’ and virtual world. That much is true – and some might say quite obvious. But unless you love data and devices, it is often unclear is why retailers need to invest in new tech. What purpose does it serve?

The answer is simple – to keep customers happy. Providing great experience is by attracting new customers as well as keep existing ones coming back for more. In short, it’s about giving customers what they want.

There are whole libraries devoted to the topic of customer acquisition and retention. But these libraries are rendered irrelevant due to rapid change driven by the adoption of new technology. Australians are embracing new ways to pay, with research showing that within a week of using their mobile device to pay, 70% of consumers[1] will become regular mobile payment users.

So how can you turn new tech into a business advantage? Here is a quick list of what I have found customers want, and how you can deliver them.  These are based on my interactions with retailers, business partners and colleagues, to help inform my top five (lucky I work for a company that serves 53.9 million businesses[2] globally!).

Customers want:

Choice and convenience

There are different ways a customer might discover your product. It could be an instagram post from an influencer or a WhatsApp message from a friend. But when someone is motivated to seek out a product or service that you offer, it’s your job to make it easy for them to buy it. There are many ways you could make your product or service accessible to your customers. But the most important thing you should keep in mind is the payment method.

Payment method is last step a customer needs to experience, whether buying online or through your store. It also plays the most important part. Once a customer is committed into buying something, it is just human nature to make them want to buy it now. Be sure to have different payment options as well as check that they don’t need to wait long enough to pay you.

Most customers pay now using their mobile phones and wearables. That is why ‘buy now, pay later’ options are on the rise as well as in-app payments are gaining traction.

Want access

If you thought it was getting a little more crowded on the beaches that’s because over nine million[3] people are visiting our shores every year. That’s according to Tourism Australia. Some retailers might think that if they don’t sell kangaroo key-rings they aren’t in the tourism business. But the surge in international visitor numbers brings new opportunities for every retailer, so make sure you are catering to their needs.

Top of the list has to be the ability to accept their payment method of choice. With travellers’ cheques pretty much extinct, and the use of cash declining, it’s important to be with a payment provider that enables international transactions – online as well as in store. If you’re a business in Ballarat selling Uggs, your next customer could be someone in Norway with cold feet.

Use technology

Ever since the late Steve Jobs unleashed the iPhone into the world a decade ago, we’ve been expecting more and more of our lives to be enabled by the smartphone in our pocket. When its mission critical for you to provide the right inventory and service for your customer demographic, you need to understand how they behave in a mobile-first world. Technology plays a major role in your business. It helps your customers find your shop – in-store or online. Aside from that, it gives your customers information they need about your product or services. Is your business optimised for mobile?

Great brands

Emotion and logic is what drives human to go shopping. It’s why brands matter, especially now that the internet means you are competing with every store in the world for a sale. For consumers a ‘known brand’ takes the risk out of making a purchase. If you’re wondering how to boost your company’s credibility[4], align it with one that has invested years, even decades, in creating a brand that speaks to trust and innovation. Some people call this the ‘halo effect’.

Feel secure

Security is a bit like housework – only noticed when it doesn’t get done. Except the consequences are much worse than an untidy living room. There are a lot of payment options right now. As a result, there are more pressing needs to ensure the most robust privacy and security measures are in place. Trust is hard won, and easily lost. Protecting your customers’ data is arguably more important than protecting your own. Don’t be afraid to ask your payment provider about the measures they are taking. This will ensure your safety as well as your customers’.

About the Author

Dan Parsons is Visa’s Head of Merchant Sales and Acquiring for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. Visa serves 3.3 billion accountholders worldwide (that’s more than the population of China, India and US combined), of which millions are in Australia. To find out more click here.  


All brand names and logos are the property of their respective owners, are used for identification purposes only.

[1] Survey of 1,002 Australian consumers conducted by RFi Group in November 2018 showed that within a week of using their mobile device to pay, 70% of consumers will become regular mobile payment users.

[2] Data provided to Visa by acquiring financial institutions and other third parties

[3] Tourism Australia http://www.tourism.australia.com/en/markets-and-stats/tourism-statistics/international-visitor-arrivals.html

[4] 2017 Value of Visa Research – a quantitative survey commissioned by Visa and conducted by an independent research firm, Ipsos LLC. The study was conducted in 16 markets around the globe in June, 2017. Note: Lift is relative to absence or presence of signage.



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