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Trends & insights
Apr 13, 20214 min read

In-store ain’t dead: How to enhance the IRL shopping experience.

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by Klarna

In-store shopping is back, but it looks a little different. How can retailers take advantage of the post-pandemic changes to the physical retail landscape? We’ve answered some of the burning questions we hear from businesses across the country to help you get your brick-and-mortar experience back on track.

Consumers are starting to return to in-store shopping. What kind of experience will they be looking for?

Thanks to the pandemic, shoppers are more digitally engaged than ever and have higher expectations when it comes to the experience of shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. Shoppers are looking for a unified, omnichannel shopping experience, whereby retailers link their IRL and virtual presence to create a seamless end-to-end consumer journey. This includes offerings like contactless payment, hands-free pick-up services, and in-store safety precautions such as limiting occupancy, social distancing, scheduled shopping appointments, and increased hygiene measures—all of which make consumers feel safer in a physical environment. 

Consumers who have spent the last year shopping from the comfort of home will also expect to see the same payments options offered online, in store. By giving shoppers the freedom to pay over time for a purchase made in store, retailers increase their customers’ purchasing power—providing them with an added layer of convenience and flexibility.

During the pandemic, consumers turned to mobile applications, online shopping, and digital payments in greater numbers. Will these new behaviors stick around? 

Absolutely. In 2020, around 75% of US consumers tried a new shopping method (McKinsey & Company), and this includes the likes of mobile app shopping, digital payments, and flexible payment services like Pay in 4.  Klarna also saw a 350% increase in transaction volume during the pandemic, with downloads of the Klarna app averaging 50,000 a day. 

We expect many of these new behaviors to continue into 2021 and beyond. Why? Because shoppers have become more mindful of budgets than ever before. They are also looking for new, more flexible and transparent spending options, moving away from traditional forms of credit towards more flexible alternatives. This is particularly pronounced among younger shoppers—in the U.S., Gen Z credit cardholders have an average of 1.5 credit cards, which is lower than the average American’s four credit cards.

What are some things retailers can do to enhance the in-store experience?

As physical retail reopens, the industry is redesigning the customer experience to prioritize consumer safety and confidence. There are many ways brands and retailers can enhance their in-store experience, including optimizing for omnichannel and offering contactless payment options. By putting the customer first and offering a unified, omnichannel shopping experience, retailers can link their IRL and virtual presence to create a seamless end-to-end consumer journey. 

Some examples of how retailers can achieve this: 

  • Offering “Buy Online, Pick-up In Store” (BOPIS), curbside pickup, or touch-free delivery options, which not only make consumers feel more comfortable but are also more efficient and convenient. 
  • Implementing digital practices to enhance the shopping experience. Take the beauty industry, for example: Because consumers can no longer test products in stores, new digital practices like virtual makeup consultations and AR tools that allow customers to shade-match products are fantastic examples of using technology to put the customer at the center of the shopping journey. 
  • Offering flexible payment options in store. For example, Klarna in-store gives retailers a way to offer their customers the same shopping experience in store as online, making it easier for them to purchase with confidence. 

How can flexible payments be used in store, and how does that improve the experience? 

Klarna in-store gives retailers a hassle-free way to offer their customers the same flexibility to split their purchase into 4 interest-free payments in their physical stores that they enjoy when shopping online. And it’s all right at the user’s fingertips. Shoppers simply open the Klarna app, search for the retailer’s store, and create a one-time virtual card to pay for their purchase. They can then add the card to their preferred digital wallet to pay like any other contactless purchase. The beauty is that they will only be charged for one quarter of the total amount at purchase. 

Get your brick-and-mortar experience back on track.