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Embracing technology leads to stronger customer relationships

On a daily basis, consumers are bombarded with new tools and technology to make their lives easier, and such advances are forcing companies to evolve the way they deliver services to meet the changing needs of the consumer.

To attract and keep loyal customers, businesses need to prioritize innovation, convenience and flexibility in order to live up to the modern standards. One way to do this is by incorporating technology into business practices, making the shopping experience—from browsing to buying—more efficient and enjoyable.

If you are hesitant about your business entering the tech world, here are three reasons you should be diving in:

Convenience is king. With mobile wallets gaining increasing popularity in Canada, merchants and customers alike are embracing the convenience of technology to shop. In fact, a survey from Accenture states that by 2020 many consumers see themselves using traditional payment instruments less and digital payments more. Some consumers are even forgoing their physical wallets in favour of mobile technologies. Seeing this trend, American Express recognized that our Cardmembers are mobile buyers which led us to be first to market with Apple Pay in Canada.

Consumer habits are changing. As technology evolves, so does the way customers are shopping. From quick and easy taps for payment, to researching products on their phone while shopping, consumer expectations are constantly growing when it comes to their grocery experience. According to the Total Retail Report 2016, half of Canadian millennial respondents say they use a mobile phone while shopping in-store to access coupons or promotional codes, with four in ten (42 per cent) comparing prices against competitors. Additionally, shoppers are checking reviews online (33%) and accessing digital versions of their loyalty or rewards cards (31%). To stay competitive and remain relevant to your customer base, it’s imperative to consider how the digital experience impacts consumer decisions.

Your competition is upping their tech game. Shoppers aren’t the only ones bringing innovation into their everyday lives; more and more businesses are incorporating technology into their services. E-Marketer revealed that roughly 30 per cent of POS devices in Canada support NFC payments, which allows shoppers to use devices like phones to pay without contact. This number is even higher for the restaurant and grocery industries (more than 80%), as they are catering to their fast-paced customer base. With 45 per cent of merchants today planning to invest in mobile payment options, 38 percent in contactless payment options and 35 per cent in creating/updating their mobile app, the 2016 American Express Canadian Retail Insights Report demonstrates that the retail sector is rapidly changing with the adoption of new technologies.

Whether you are ready to bring more tech elements into your business or you are still on the fence, one thing is for sure: it’s an ongoing process. Like the needs of consumers, technology is continually evolving and it’s important to keep that in mind when bringing new methods into your business. It isn’t enough to simply adopt a contactless payment terminal or create an app, you have to stay up to date on the latest trends, and continue to innovate and invest in what will keep your customers engaged which will ultimately lead to greater success.

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