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Data Shows Consumers Want More Than Low Prices From Retailers

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Whether it’s Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Gap or any of several dozen other large retailers that have updated investors over the past few weeks, the one universal reality is that inventory levels are up and prices are coming down as a way to rectify that problem.

While this environment of increased promotional activity, or the coming Season of Deals as PYMNTS recently framed it, is set to make the upcoming holiday season better — and different — for consumers than what was experienced in the supply chain-constrained version of 2021, PYMNTS data shows that when it comes to getting customers to buy, low prices are only one of many factors that shoppers consider and value.

In fact, after analyzing more than 13,000 consumers and 3,100 merchants in six countries (Australia, Brazil, the UAE, the U.K., the U.S. and Mexico) for “The 2022 Global Digital Shopping Index,” PYMNTS and Cybersource found friction and opportunity within a broader swath of nearly three dozen digital shopping features that go way beyond simple pricing. 

“[The global study] examines the factors that influence how and where consumers shop, how they pay for what they purchase and the features that establish merchant preference” the report found, before separating the results into five key categories.

More Than Pricing

Among the five sub-categories PYMNTS compiled, the study found that consumers showed a strong bias for retailers that “know them” and their personal shopping preferences no matter which channel they were shopping at any given moment. Whether online, in-store or via a mobile device, a prior knowledge of what a returning customer had previously bought, how they paid for it, and how they picked it up or had it delivered was a highly valued benefit.

In addition, the survey found that returning customers like to be valued, or rewarded, for their loyalty in any number of ways, including easy promo codes, coupons or even suggestions based on past browsing or buying experience. Again, this is another selling feature and conversion-driver that has nothing to do with the price of an item being sold.

Another key pinch point or selling opportunity (depending on your perspective) that the Global Shopping Index revealed was that customers like to be able to see the real-time status of inventory before heading out to the store. While this “Do They Have It” transparency is a powerful criteria for closing a sale, it is not entirely divorced from pricing as it also allows customers to check how much extra they would have to pay to receive their item today and how close it actually is to their home versus waiting for a lower-priced alternative to be delivered.

The fourth non-price related benefit the PYMNTS study found that customers valued highly had to do with simplicity, speed and seamlessness, which are broadly bundled under the “Make it Easy for Me” category.  While free shipping is a dominant decision driver for online purchases, the increased use and availability of curbside- and in-store pickup have created a second-layer of consideration that skew more towards efficiency and ease of use than absolute rock-bottom pricing.

And finally, the study revealed that consumers also want to feel protected when they chose a merchant, a broad topic that covers everything from the security of payment and personally identifiable information to the belief that if something goes wrong, needs to be returned or gets disputed, that the retailer will stand by them. Non-price-related policies such as guaranteed refunds are one other way that retailers can reel ‘em in, without resorting to promotions and discounts.

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NEW PYMNTS SURVEY FINDS 3 IN 4 CONSUMERS WITH STRONG DEMAND FOR SUPER APPSAbout: The findings in PYMNTS’ new study, “The Super App Shift: How Consumers Want To Save, Shop And Spend In The Connected Economy,” a collaboration with PayPal, analyzed the responses from 9,904 consumers in Australia, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. and showed strong demand for a single multifunctional super apps rather than using dozens of individuals ones.

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