In the battle for consumer attention, letting customers choose how they pay has emerged as a crucial differentiator.
The digital revolution in retail has opened up a world of possibilities for consumers—and a world of competition for merchants.
With shoppers spoiled for choice, it’s small wonder that the whole field of customer experience, or CX, has become such a buzzword in the retail space. As brands look to differentiate themselves, everything from voice-enabled shopping to store design is a potential opportunity to make an impression.
Merchants have introduced a range of innovations in a bid to attract and retain shoppers *
Payments their way
However, not all customer experiences are created equal. Our recent annual survey of international shopping trends, the Global Digital Shopping Index, looked at the impact of various retail innovations in markets across five continents.
It found that payments choice was the most important thing that shoppers valued, regardless of where they lived.
Not only do consumers say they really value how they pay – it’s influencing how they shop. The report asked respondents whether the last merchant they shopped with accepted their preferred shopping method – in around three-quarters of cases they did. However only 45% of merchants offered this payment method.
This meant that, on average, consumers were 63% more likely to shop with a merchant if they offered their preferred payments.
Consumers are far more likely to shop at a merchant who offers their preferred payment method *
This disconnect between how consumers want to pay and what merchants offer varies between the countries we surveyed. While in all territories consumers were underserved in terms of preferred payment options, the gap was largest in Brazil, and smallest in Mexico.
Preferred payment options: how merchants under deliver, by country *
Interestingly, with some other shopping features, the gap flips: in other words, merchants are more likely to offer features like voice-enabled shopping than their customers are to express an interest in them.
Voice-enabled shopping: how merchants over deliver, by country *
The relevance gap
Considering—and measuring—this mismatch between what merchants offer and what their customers say they want is a useful way to track the effectiveness of the way merchants spend their time, attention and money.
It suggests that merchants have traditionally under-invested in payment choice and over-invested in other features like voice-enabled shopping.
Merchants may now be able to offer a huge range of features in a bid to stay relevant and deliver the most compelling customer experiences. But if they fail to provide shoppers with the payment options they most want, the effort spent on those other innovations could be in vain.
For the full picture, explore the Global Digital Shopping Index series now.
Appendix: most common payment methods accepted by merchants
(Source: 2022 Global Fraud and Payments Report)
* All data comes from the Global Digital Shopping Index and supporting research