Retailers are remaining optimistic about the state of stores and ramping up their checkout experiences and credit offerings to entice consumers.
Vyze, a cloud-based financial technology company for retailers, recently conducted a survey that analyzed how credit affects consumer experiences and loyalty, and how retailers can improve their credit offerings to drive performance and purchases.
“Most retailers are optimistic about both the industry and their own businesses, and actively investing in areas such as checkout and financing to drive loyalty and customer satisfaction,” Jai Holtz, Vyze vice president of customer success, said. “As online and mobile shopping continue to boom, we expect to see a rapid rise in the number of merchants creating or expanding their credit loyalty programs to drive conversion, increase ticket sizes and improve customer satisfaction scores.”
The survey, which collected feedback from 103 respondents, set out to identify three critical areas: what merchants are currently doing to heighten consumer checkout experiences, how the checkout experience and credit declines impact consumer loyalty, and how retailers feel about the state of retail and whether or not offering credit options improves their outlook.
The report revealed three key findings: retailers are remaining positive about the state of retail, nearly all merchants are investing in the checkout experience this year and most retailers rate the health of their business higher with loyalty programs, potentially leaving room for retailers to improve their credit options.
Amazon’s growth and store closings may be making headlines, but retailers are optimistic about the state of their own businesses and the state of retail.
According to the survey, 61 percent of retailers view the state of retail as “very healthy,” as oppsed to “moderately healthy” or “very unhealthy.” The survey also said retailers remain positive about the state of their own businesses, with 75 percent it as “very healthy.” Eighty-one percent of retailers with their own loyalty programs also said their businesses were “very healthy.”
Retailers indicated that the shopping experience is crucial for sustaining a successful retail sector. While 63 percent agreed the in-store shopping experience mattered the most, 59 percent said the checkout experience was most important and 54 percent said loyalty programs were critical to success Forty percent of retailers also said credit/financing options were key for better shopping experiences. The survey suggested that retailers could include more mobile-friendly options, faster checkout and a smoother credit and financing process to take their shopping experiences to the next level.
The checkout experience
Nearly all (98 percent) of retailers are planning to invest in the checkout experience this year. While artificial intelligence remains at the bottom of retailers’ investment lists, retailers are focusing more on how they can improve their credit application process and financing options for consumers.
According to the study, on average, roughly 30 percent of products and services are paid with financing options. While 85 percent of retailers offer primary lending, 56 percent are offering secondary lending and 17 percent are offering tertiary lending options.
Loyalty programs remain key components of the shopping experience and retailers are working to improve their credit options to gain more consumers.
Most retailers (80 percent) offer a loyalty program, with 64 percent using loyalty program membership as the top method to measure loyalty. Promotions and discounts remain the top loyalty driver for retailers, but 36 percent said offering multiple finance/credit options could also secure loyalty. Sixty-three percent of retailers also believed that financing declines at checkout had a negative impact on consumer loyalty—causing consumers to shop elsewhere.
According to the survey, roughly half of retailers offer secondary lenders and less than a quarter offer tertiary lenders. Forty percent of retailers believed that secondary and tertiary credit consumers are more loyal than other consumers, demonstrating that more credit options could lead to more purchases and sales in the long run.