Live shopping is one of the most exciting retail experiences in a long time. As shoppers become increasingly eager to buy via live shopping on social platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, retailers face new challenges: How to capture the shoppers’ attention on social media when the urge to buy hits? How can retailers create seamlessly interactive and immersive experiences that prompt consumers to hit the “buy button” during the live stream?

While retailers see the opportunity to pounce on this new trend, the hurdles they face are immense:

Connecting social commerce touchpoints like TikTok and Instagram, as well as built-in chat, video and voice functions, to commerce experiences is a must for seamless omnichannel experiences. Still, it’s not always easy to deploy new features and channels in their current commerce platform.Autoscaling traffic peaks from the live shopping experience is necessary, so consumers don’t face slowdowns or crashes when buying a product. When shoppers see a 404 error page, they’re not likely to come back. Unfortunately, most retailers still face scalability problems during sudden traffic spikes. Experimenting with new touchpoints enables brands and retailers to be ahead of changing customer demands now and in the future. Yet, experimentation is challenging to achieve in today’s IT environment.

These challenges stem from the rigid and monolithic nature of commerce platforms most retailers and brands still use today. These solutions, built for the desktop eCommerce era, lack the flexibility and scalability needed for spontaneous and high-volume sales powered by live shopping.

Flexible, scalable, agile: modern commerce starts with MACH

What’s the alternative for retailers looking at live shopping and beyond? As customer demands and market conditions change quickly, retailers and brands must move faster to capitalise on new ways to sell, such as omnichannel commerce, digital clienteling and personalisation. This means adapting customer experiences on the fly by adding new touchpoints, products, features, locales, currencies and every aspect of commerce without hassle.

This maximum flexibility and scalability philosophy is powered by the principles of MACH (Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-native and Headless). In a nutshell, MACH-based architecture breaks down functionalities  such as integrating Instagram as a commerce channel  into modular pieces that can be easily customized, deployed, scaled and managed over time. In contrast to all-in-one legacy platforms, retailers using MACH can experiment, scale, change and adapt any functions at any time without disrupting their commerce backend or customer-facing storefronts. As 81% and 88% of adults under 55 years of age in Australia and New Zealand respectively shop online, and nine in 10 retail dollars spent offline during Australian peak season were influenced by digital, retailers are urged to rethink their digital commerce infrastructure to succeed in this new landscape.

For example, the Canadian menswear retail chain, Harry Rosenimplemented digital clienteling that sparked online traffic peaks. With MACH, the company had 0% downtime even as page views per session increased by 150%, coping with a three-fold increase in online sales without disruption.

Australian retail giant Kmart opted for MACH-based infrastructure to elevate personalisation and product categorisation, as well as autoscaling capabilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kmart handled three times the online volume compared to pre-pandemic levels, and still, their eCommerce infrastructure was twice as fast. The company doubled the conversion rate and, just as importantly, operated at a third of its previous infrastructure costs.

Lastly, fashion retailer Express saw online traffic spikes that were three times higher than the busiest hour of Black Friday after a sales promotion went viral. Thanks to MACH, the company could avoid downtime and slowdowns to its webshop, fully capitalising on the sudden surge in sales.

Many retailers are shifting to MACH-based platforms to cope with traffic spikes from digital shopping. With modern commerce, retailers can add new touchpoints and experiment with new ways of reaching customers without constraints to the commerce infrastructure. 

E-commerce Services

The COVID-19 pandemic hastened our already digital-centric culture to become even more digitally driven. People rely on their smartphones, social platforms, and digital channels for information, entertainment, and online purchases.

Adhering with this digital transformation, consumers expect personalized service and convenience when shopping both online and in-store. This includes the ability to interact with a merchant across multiple channels, anytime and from anywhere. To keep up, merchants need to deliver an integrated, omnichannel shopping journey that offers customers payment options.

“Payments choice is the most important feature that shoppers value, regardless of where they are in the world,” concludes a study from PYMNTS and Cybersource, a Visa solution. “All consumers say that having the ability to pay how they want is the most important feature retailers offer.”

Indeed, consumers are 63% more likely to shop with merchants that offer their preferred payment options, according to the report. Clearly, merchants have a strong business incentive to provide customers with a full range of payment methods.

Giving consumers payment and channel options

Fortunately, there are solutions to help merchants ensure they are meeting and even exceeding shopper expectations for an integrated, holistic, and seamless shopping experience. For example, a shopper who purchases merchandise via their mobile device or laptop may request curbside pickup. Precision inventory management allows for efficient and accurate fulfillment at the store level and when available for pick-up, the shopper can be notified automatically via push notification or text, conveying shopper pickup ETA or arrival.

A critical step in creating a smooth journey is offering digital profiles that can be accessed by customers across multiple synchronous shopping channels. Digital profiles spare individuals (both in-store and online) from repeatedly having to input information. These profiles also save customer support agents from having to retrieve profile data to facilitate a transaction. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of U.S. merchants offered such digital profiles in 2021, up from 52% in 2020, according to the Cybersource report.

The costly awareness gap

Whether the consumer’s preferred payment method is credit card, debit card, digital wallet or eWallet, “buy now, pay later” (BNPL), or online bank transfers, it is critical that merchants make customers aware that these options are available. All other factors being equal, if an individual prefers BNPL, they will take their sale to a retailer that offers that capability.

Similarly, Cybersource data reveals that 54% of U.S. merchants allow shoppers to make purchases using voice-recognition technology, such as Alexa and Google Home. However, only 43% of local shoppers said that the merchant from which they made their most recent purchase offered this capability. This “awareness gap” can cost merchants in the form of lost sales opportunities. 

Consumers no longer view shopping as either an in-store or online experience. Technology has blurred the lines to enable a seamless consumer journey that effortlessly traverses multiple devices, platforms, and channels.

To help provide merchants the shopping experiences customers expect, Cybersource works with partners like Manhattan Associates, Inc. with Manhattan Active Omni® to create a unified experience that streamlines the process from front-end to payment processing. Cybersource and partners work behind the scenes to ensure a smooth omnichannel experience, so merchants can benefit from all around flexibility.

Today’s consumers want a personalized shopping experience, which includes the ability to pay across traditional and emerging channels and through the payment method of their choice. Merchants that provide this omnichannel shopping and payment experience will gain a competitive advantage.

Learn more about Cybersource here.  

Digital Transformation, IT Leadership

Creating a seamless and secure customer experience from start to finish means listening to and embracing customers’ expectations, including offering the latest in digital payment capabilities. In fact, consumers are 63% more likely to shop with merchants that offer their preferred payment options.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought a shift in consumer expectations, including a rise in popularity for multichannel shopping options. At the heart of this popularity is ease of use: the ability to initiate and conclude transactions with little or no data entry; multiple mobile and digital payment options; and choices around in-store or curbside pickup and delivery.

The 2022 Global Digital Shopping Index from Cybersource, a Visa solution, clearly showcases U.S. consumers’ evolving behaviors and expectations:

39% of local shoppers—a projected 64 million U.S. consumers—now use their smartphones at least once during their shopping journeys, whether to order online for delivery, use an app to locate items in-store and/or pay with digital wallets at the point of sale28%—or roughly 26 million Americans—use their smartphones to enhance in-store shopping experiences11% who ordered online received their most recent eCommerce purchases via curbside pickup47% of those who pick up their orders in-store wind up purchasing more products in the store during that trip

Giving more choice to consumers will go a long way to building brand loyalty. For example, by offering shopping applications and mobile-friendly web pages, shoppers get incentives via notifications on their smartphones with promotional codes, coupons, in-store discounts, and free shipping for digital purchases.

The need for “protect me” features

Digital wallets have emerged as a popular online payment option because they increase the ease and simplicity of transactions by storing a consumer’s payment information and enabling “one-click” purchases. Often, digital wallets also leverage solutions to protect sensitive payment data.

In addition to wanting their sensitive payment data protected during transactions, consumers are looking for post-purchase security with “protect me” features. These types of features include secure data storage, frictionless dispute resolution, and simple returns. Ultimately, according to the Index, what matters most to consumers is knowing that:

Retailers will refund fraudulent chargesRefunds will get credited in-store or onlineReturns can be in-store or through mail (and that mail returns are free)Customer support is available 24/7 via multiple channels (phone calls, online chat, text, email)

By offering these consumer-friendly options, retailers can increase trust, confidence, and greater brand loyalty among customers. That loyalty serves as a critical building block that will pay off in long-term relationships and revenue growth.

It’s possible to deliver these capabilities with a digital-first approach. Cybersource helps businesses enhance their customer experiences with a feature-rich platform. It includes automated fraud protection and easy tech integrations to offer customers multiple digital payment options across channels. The platform also ensures the security of sensitive payment data for improved compliance and data security.

According to Eric Ritger, eCommerce operations lead at Harley-Davidson, “We needed to allow the customer to buy how they want to buy—and pay how they want to pay. Partnering with Cybersource makes that possible.”

Learn more about Cybersource here.  

IT Leadership

New research from Cybersource and finds that more than one-third of shoppers are turning to smartphones when shopping in-store. In addition, 59% of merchants support mobile features to help them make a purchase. The 2022 Global Digital Shopping Index provides insights into how mobile-first shoppers are reshaping what success looks like for merchants in a new world of retail.

“Merchants have had to constantly reinvent themselves throughout the pandemic to meet consumers where they were, and this usually meant adding or augmenting their digital channels to improve the experience. Digital is no longer the complement to a merchant’s customer engagement, it is the central tool to drive transactions, whether those originating and ending with digital, or those moving across channels,” said Carleigh Jaques, SVP, Global Head, Acceptance Solutions, Visa.

The study, which examines behaviors of consumers and merchants across Australia, Brazil, Mexico, the UAE, the UK and the US, found consumers that are quickly becoming mobile-first – and merchants need to meet those preferences to succeed.

The rise of the digital-first shopper

Consumers want digital to be a part of their physical shopping experiences. Of the one-third of shoppers who used their smartphones when shopping, 31% used their phone to look up product information, ratings and reviews; 16% used them to determine if the product was in stock and where it was located; 15% used them to compare prices offered by other merchants; 14% used them to find coupons, special offers and other discounts; and only 8% used them for loyalty credit for their purchases. Mobile devices have emerged as the shopping tool of choice for global consumers. Some 42% of consumers surveyed used their smartphone at least once during their most recent shopping journey in 2021, compared to 2020, when only 18% of consumers used their phones to assist their shopping experience. Merchants are prioritizing digital features that improve the consumer shopping experience, regardless of which shopping channels they use. Some 59% of merchants allowed shoppers to create digital profiles that could be accessed across mobile, laptop and other digital channels in 2021, up 16% from 2020. Merchants are actively working to add voice-enabled purchasing options. Some 65% of merchants now allow customers to shop and pay for their purchases using voice-recognition technology, although consumer awareness lags, with only 39% of shoppers using the capability. 

“The data in this year’s Global Digital Shopping Index shows the awareness gap between what consumers want and what features merchants offer,” said Karen Webster, CEO of “In a world where consumers have so many options to make a purchase, merchants are often judged first and foremost by their customer experience. Forward-thinking brands are making payments a positive experience.”

Cybersource can help merchants develop seamless digital payment experiences to meet consumers’ growing needs and deliver the flexibility and scalability needed for growing businesses globally. To learn more about what the future holds for digital shopping experiences, download the 2022 Global Digital Shopping Index report. 


IT Leadership, Smartphones