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Screens, QR Codes, Cookies – Tech in Shopping Experience

In: Articles

We see new ideas for the customer experience play out every year – this is particularly true of the buying experience. From true innovation to straightforward optimization, understanding how to harness new technology has become vital for businesses wanting to position themselves at the forefront of the unified commerce concept!

This article examines the latest trends in payments and the expectations of today's customers.

Screens reign supreme

The importance of responsive content

In the context of an omnichannel strategy, all the elements must work well together. How screens are used – fixed or mobile, large or small – consequently plays a pivotal role in the buying experience.

With their different sizes and functionalities, a good unified commerce strategy will strive to make full use of each.

There are several activities to consider to achieve this:

  • adapt content to the navigation mode (finger, mouse, stylus, or remote control);
  • adapt content to the screen size (computer, tablet, terminal or smartphone);
  • rank interactions according to screen usage.


Terminals and tablets: screens instore

Screens are often associated with home use (i.e. computers, smartphones and tablets), but these interfaces appear increasingly at physical points of sale. According to the latest HiPay survey, 27% of business respondents had already set up an ordering system that uses terminals and tablets.

Shoppers and shop assistants tasked with processing customer orders use these, and they appear to have been welcomed by customers – proven by the fact that 43% of consumers and businesses alike want to be able to use them more often.

22% of French people rank in-store terminals and tablets as the number one elements that improve the buying experience in the short term.


The QR code: an accessible solution

Easy to implement

The last few years have seen an increase in these little black and white pixelated squares. Unusual at first, the presence of Quick Response Codes (QR Codes) has swiftly become widespread.

While previously accessing the content of a QR code could be a long and tedious process, smartphone and app development has made things a lot easier.

You no longer need to unlock your phone, open a new window, or use a scanning app to finally gain access to the coveted treasure. Now the camera app on an increasing number of phones has an embedded scanning app!

The many uses of QR codes include accessing:

  • websites;
  • payment platforms;
  • apps;
  • PDFs;
  • tickets;

Through its recent lockdowns and covid pass technology, the pandemic demonstrated how practical QR codes are for many people. This technology has proved itself robust at a low cost - even if partly covered or erased QR codes remain readable by devices.


Towards a consumer consensus

13% of respondents to the latest Hipay survey view QR codes as the best technology to optimize the buying experience. But QR codes are a double-edged sword.

When used well, the black square can substantially shorten the buying journey and provide a streamlined payment experience. On the other hand, excessive use of QR codes can quickly add unneeded stages and erode the user experience.

A clear customer Call To Action must be mastered here, one aligned with a well-rounded omnichannel strategy. Today, the facts are there to see: one out of two French people who have tried QR codes want to use this technology more regularly in their payment experiences!

However, only 10% of the population surveyed said they had used a QR code for payment; a missed earning opportunity for business directors who are still reticent about this technology.


Third-party cookies: a reputation that needs repairing

An essential marketing tool?

You see them whenever you click on a new website, cookies are everywhere. Despite being a simple and efficient concept that businesses have taken to, this technology fails to inspire trust in users.

This undoubtedly explains why cookies are ranked last in a list of possible improvements to the buying experience. (4% for B2B, 2% for B2C).

As their goal is to capture and use the navigational behavior of consumers, cookies exist to help business websites tailor their offers to internet users.

But the cookie experience is often perceived as an invasion of privacy. So pop-ups requesting permission from internet users must overcome this – these opt-in windows are above all seen as weighing heavily on navigation and thus on the buying experience.


A technology that is regulated yet controversial

Nowadays, most web browsers (e.g. Mozilla and Safari) have banned third-party cookies (ie. cookies coming from a site other than the one visited by the web users). Google will follow suit in 2023.

In addition to observing the regulations of the French Commission on Information Technologies and Liberties (CNIL), online actors should develop their practices as quickly as possible.

Proprietary, first-party cookies will remain to track users' preferences legally (subject to their agreement). Fortunately, there are other means of meeting the expectation for personalization that consumers have expressed.

Augmented reality, geolocalization, voice assistants, Bluetooth, facial recognition. The range of technologies developed to enhance the buying experience is growing year on year. It is worth remembering that the priority for sellers is not to fight on all fronts but to develop the tools that best suit their customers.

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