May 15th, 2020

Exploring the agile retail strategies that brands and retailers are employing to help consumers navigate an industry as boundless as the retail industry

In part three of the Design4Retail, Agile Retail blog series, we explore how some brands and retailers are intelligently using flexible payment and Last Mile fulfilment options (the methods by which consumers can ultimately obtain their goods) to remove the barriers that modern consumers commonly face when navigating the retail landscape.

Research suggests that the online cart abandonment rate sits at 74.58% (SaleCycle) which is why it is so important that brands and retailers make this process as seamless and convenient as possible, offering omnichannel purchasing and several last mile fulfilment options to suit the multiplicity of buying preferences of the public – from Buy Online Pickup In Store (BOPIS) and Buy Online For Home Delivery, to Standard In-Store Purchase and Shop In Store For Home Delivery.

Flexible Payment Options

The choice of methods for completing a transaction in the last mile is already vast, yet it is an area in which we are still seeing innovations – contributing to a portfolio of microtrends supportive of Agile Retail.

An early Agile Retail transaction approach which has been about for some time is the ability to pay for petrol/diesel at the pump as opposed to consumers having to visit a manned till. Whilst not commonplace, this flexible payment mechanism is preferred by 63% of people ( for its obvious benefits of being more streamlined, and thus, more time-efficient, which is invaluable to the many consumers who typically tie-in filling up their tanks with their commute to work.

Rivalling ApplePay’s smart phone and smart watch technology, British start-up, McLear, has since created a Smart Ring so that payment can be made simply at the touch of a finger. A concept once only entertained by sci-fi, this streamlined process of making a payment could not be any more unobtrusive.

Moreover, it is not just the moment of purchase that is evolving to engage Agile Retail, but also the choice of currency that consumers can use, with Bitcoin and other crypto currencies being accepted at an increasing number of retailers with the world’s largest coffee shop chain, Starbucks, looking to accept this form of payment by July 2020.

Brands and retailers who use evolved payment methods and accept new-fangled currencies not only sympathise with consumers requiring a more streamlined shopping journey but those who embrace ‘newism’ – the desire to have the latest things – contributing to a brand’s perceived position in the market in relation to its modernity compared to industry peers.

Last Mile Fulfilment

For most online shoppers, home delivery is still the default option of last mile fulfilment, which is perhaps why even fast food delivery has seen a rise in popularity in recent years with forecasts predicting that it will grow by a further 51% by 2021. Anticipating this growth is Chic-A-Filet, a popular restaurant chain in the US that has opened up a handful of ‘kitchen-only’ locations to meet this demand of the future.

Reports also suggest, however, that millennials are more likely to try and trust alternative methods of last mile fulfilment, such as Click & Collect which Box by Posti has evolved to not only provide a location for consumers to pick up their parcels, but offer changing rooms and facilities for unboxing and recycling packaging alongside the collection counter. The rise of Click & Collect fulfilment across multiple sectors indicates that modern day consumers are looking for a half-way house between the convenience of home delivery and the instant gratification of receiving goods quickly.

When retailers are once again permitted to open their doors to the public, we expect to see a sharp drop in the number of people using home delivery services and a rise in the number of people using BOPIS as a compromise between enjoying the freedom of physical retail whilst still exerting reduced social contact compared to standard in-store ordering and purchasing.

What’s trending?

Keep checking in with our social platforms for our fourth and final blog post where we continue our exploration into Agile Retail, as seen in our latest whitepaper: Agile Retail as a macrotrend.

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