Grocers help shoppers cut the line


As digital technologies have taken over the grocery industry, shopper payment expectations are dramatically different than they were even three years ago. Today, stores that fail to adapt to these ever-changing demands put themselves at risk of falling behind the competition.

But here’s the catch: Not all buyers are looking for the same features.

Madeline Aufseeser, global omnichannel grocery leader at ACI Worldwide, which provides electronic payment solutions to more than 6,000 organizations worldwide, spoke with PYMNTS about how grocers are re-examining their relationships with customers through a payment lens.

The past decade has seen a proliferation of new payment types, Aufseeser said. Ten years ago, grocery store customers typically just swiped their credit or debit card at the terminal. Today, contactless payments are common, and some grocery chains have even started experimenting with cashierless technology that lets customers skip the line altogether.

“So you have all these new ways to pay,” she said, “and you have all these new types of tenders.”

In an e-book titled “Who Shops at Your Store? The Five New Grocery Shopping Characters and How to Earn Them,” based on data from a 2021 PYMNTS study created in conjunction with ACI Worldwide, the software company described five distinct types of grocery shoppers, noting that each group comes to the store with different expectations for their retail journeys.

Get the study: What consumers expect from their grocery experiences

Bring it all together

Two of these groups – multi-mixers, who look for a range of different types of products in the store, and loyalists, who tend to shop with a grocer rather than a range of merchants – are looking for more than a simple tap of the credit card at checkout.

“Consumers will want to use a combination of different payment types,” Aufseeser said of Multi-mixers.

For example, a given shopper can clip a paper coupon, select a digital coupon, pay with the remaining value of a gift card, use loyalty points, and then pay for the rest of the purchase with a credit card. Likewise, loyalists can be accustomed to interacting with their favorite brand across all possible channels and as such can expect seamless onboarding.

Data and analytics are transforming the customer experience

Before implementing efforts across the product line toward discounts or rewards, it’s critical to understand your customers through payment data and analytics that can provide more insight into behavioral patterns such as products, stores and the time of day that resonates most with them. characters.

“As technology evolves,” Aufseeser said, “merchants really need to think about all of these multiple types of tenders that are surfacing and how consumers want to use all of these different tenders in the same payment process.”

The need for speed

On the other hand, for some grocers, a combination of different payment methods would defeat their purpose of getting their groceries done as quickly as possible. These shoppers are Self-servers, who look for the fastest payment options in-store, and Convenienistas, who tend to buy online to speed up the process.

Aufseeser noted that standalone servers tend to seek out kiosks, take-out technology like cashierless checkout and buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) options. To reach Convenienistas, Aufseeser suggested grocers offer features that streamline the shopping experience, such as automatically loading items into a cart from recipes and purchasable meal plans.

“Being connected to this digital experience is going to be really important,” Aufseeser said.

In the palm of your hands

Finally, there are the Appsters, those who expect to see the commerce experience simplified by their smartphones.

Aufseeser explains that mobile loyalty programs are a key part of that experience, adding that ACI uses its “omni-tokens” to connect purchases across disparate channels and payment methods to a single consumer. With this service, the company is able to provide more personalized offers, which Aufseeser says is especially effective for Appsters, given that they’re “on their phone all the time…just waiting for that offer to appear.” in front of them. ”

In fact, research from the PYMNTS and ACI study finds that online grocery shoppers are more likely to use their smartphones to place their orders than they are using laptops or desktops. In fact, 55% of eGrocery shoppers shop through mobile devices and 22% use mobile wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.

With the proliferation of payment methods and types of offers, Aufseeser added, it’s especially difficult for grocers to create simple checkout and shopping journeys for customers that create engaging in-store experiences, compared to online channels.

“With [these new technologies] come new rules, new laws and new ways of making systems work,” Aufseeser said. “We’re working to help our customers solve this orchestration…of all these different payment types and all these customer journeys, and I think you’re going to see more and more of that coming to the fore.”



On: PYMNTS’ survey of 2,094 consumers for The Tailored Shopping Experience report, a collaboration with Elastic Path, shows where merchants are succeeding and where they need to up their game to deliver a personalized shopping experience.


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