Woman in gym wearing headphones

Omnichannel: What does seamless shopping look like in 2021?

The convenience, wider product choice and simplicity of the online shopping experience means we have been heading towards a world of digital retail for quite some time.

Fuelled by the pandemic, we’ve witnessed high levels of digital acceleration, leading to new sector trends and a generation of consumers who know exactly what they want both in store and online.

As we move into this new, post-lockdown phase of retail, it’s important to note that “omnichannel” is evolving. Commenting on this trend, Nicole Olbe, MD of Partnerships at Barclaycard Payments, said: “It’s no longer simply about having a website where your customers can access your products, but a seamlessly joined-up experience, where they can hop effortlessly between the physical and digital realms in a way that is convenient, intuitive - and, ideally, entertaining - with novel features like augmented reality there to blur the boundaries between the two worlds.”

As the high street begins to regain some semblance of normality, retailers are reviewing their digital transformation plans, using technology to create better in-store and online experiences. This has prompted the rollout of exciting new omnichannel features including: 

  • Same-day delivery
  • Scan-and-go technology that allows shoppers to skip checkout queues
  • Groceries delivered straight to the shopper’s fridge
  • Automated click and collect points in-store

An omnichannel approach in the leisure and hospitality space

Barclaycard Payments recently announced a trio of new partnership agreements to boost its offering to e-commerce, leisure and hospitality merchants. Working with WellnessLiving and Tevalis, Barclaycard will provide specialist payments expertise for businesses with both an online presence and physical stores across the leisure and hospitality sectors. How does this work? Just think of those little QR codes you’ve been using to scan to order food and drink during the pandemic. The pandemic has powered the growth of omnichannel in hospitality and leisure just as it has in retail, as businesses seek to make things as easy as possible for customers.

WellnessLiving and Tevalis’ leisure and hospitality customers, such as gyms, pubs, bars and restaurants, will now have the opportunity to access Barclaycard’s payments platform and select Barclaycard as a new payment provider, benefiting from a trusted and secure payment gateway through which to process transactions.   

WellnessLiving – a cloud-based solution for the fitness, health and wellness industry supporting 5,000 businesses worldwide - will also benefit from the full integration of Barclaycard’s Smartpay Fuse gateway into its booking management solution, to provide a safe and frictionless checkout experience when taking payment for classes, appointments memberships or repeat services. This integration will allow customers to check availability online, select their preferred session and make payments all on the same page seamlessly. They can set up direct debits without having to go into the gym, and work through any issues with their account ID without leaving the house. Fitness classes are being hosted both on the gym floor and online, streamed both live and on-demand, with Barclaycard enabling gym members to book and pay for the entire experience simply and securely, giving them more time to focus on their fitness and wellbeing.  

Making omnichannel easier for pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels, the integration of Tevalis’ systems with Barclaycard terminals means faster sales, better service and happier customers. The integration will also reduce human error, because staff will no longer type the payment amount into their card machine by hand, which means that customers won’t be accidentally over- or under-charged. Reconciliation is fully automated, meaning there is no need to cross-check figures against end-of-day reports when completing the final settlement, giving staff back valuable time.

Barclaycard is also extending its partnership with BigCommerce to offer digital on-boarding in the UK, meaning smaller businesses can set up their online payments quickly and seamlessly. This will allow them to start trading faster, maximising sales, without compromising on security.

Rising to the challenge

A slick omnichannel experience has never been more important. Nicole Olbe sums up: “As software-as-a-service companies make omnichannel easier for businesses, we can expect to see retail businesses getting increasingly creative with their omnichannel experience. All those with the means to do so now have the opportunity to break away from the pack by creating something unique, convenient and memorable, where digital, mobile and physical platforms work in harmony, with cross-channel marketing in place to make sure shoppers know how to get the best possible experience.”