Consumer needs are changing and sales channels are in flux. In this 2020 report, we've collaborated with the Center of Economic and Business Research (Cebr) to bring together data insights from consumers and businesses in 16 key markets globally – in particular, learnings from some of the leading brands we partner with in Hong Kong and around the world.
This report will be a useful guide for businesses as all of us seek to quickly find our footing in a world like never before.
2020 has certainly not gone to plan for retailers. Against the backdrop of political unrest, footfall and tourism was already on the decline. Then the pandemic hit.
Previous experience with the SARS outbreak meant that Hong Kong was relatively well prepared. Introducing the necessary public health measures – such as social distancing, border control and high-volume testing – early, resulted in a softer lockdown than many countries in the West. Despite this, consumer confidence has been significantly tested and preferences have changed dramatically.
Shoppers moved away from the retailers they used to rely on – convenience and experience became the key drivers of spending decisions. With health and safety higher on the agenda, Hong Kongers shifted online, or to those that could provide a slick and safe in-store experience.
It might seem a bleak picture for retailers, as well as those in food and beverage (F&B), but beyond the initial fallout lies the possibility for new beginnings. It’s a chance to lay the foundations that will allow your business to thrive in a digital age where customers regard experience and brand values as highly as the quality of your product.
But how do you secure customer loyalty in a market where things seem to change almost by the week? When it's not enough to open their wallets, you have to win their hearts?
To help you make sense of this new landscape, we’ve commissioned the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) to provide analysis on the current state of retail and F&B businesses around the world. We explored our own data to measure the impact of unified commerce on businesses' success. We also interviewed 25,187 consumers across the globe, including 1,000 in Hong Kong to understand what people expect from shopping and dining experiences today.
Unified commerce vs omnichannel
In this report, we talk a lot about unified commerce. But what is it, and how does it differ from omnichannel?
Omnichannel businesses are already delivering great cross-channel experiences to their customers. But systems behind the scenes are often unconnected. Cross-channel reconciliation is difficult so you can’t offer total flexibility to your customers. And implementing changes that impact multiple channels and regions can be complicated.
With unified commerce, payments from all your channels feed into the same system. This allows for greater flexibility for your customers and better insights for you. It also keeps you agile since you can add new channels and support new customer journeys quickly because everything’s connected.
It’s all about cross-channel convenience
79% want retailers to offer flexible, cross-channel experiences.
Make the most of physical stores
72% look forward to shopping in-store for pleasure again.
Customers are discerning
77% won’t return if they’ve had a bad experience either in-store or online.
The bar has been raised
Expectations have increased for 69% as retailers proved they could adapt quickly.