Commonwealth Bank media release


Retail and hospitality businesses that adopt the latest payment technologies in-store are better at retaining customers and viewed as more trustworthy than their cash-only counterparts, according to findings from new Commonwealth Bank research released today.

The research looked at the emotional and rational drivers behind customers’ perfect in-store experiences, revealing inefficient customer service (68 per cent) and queuing (53 per cent) as two of the biggest contributors to a poor ‘retail therapy’ experience.

With 75 per cent of those surveyed using a credit/debit card as their primary payment method, the study indicated that cash is no longer king and digital is fast becoming the norm. Half would avoid a store if they have to wait to make a payment.

Just under half (47 per cent) of survey respondents believe retailers that use the latest technology are more in tune with their needs as a customer, with a further 74 per cent suggesting they would stay loyal to a business that offers personalisation.

Claire Roberts, Executive General Manager, Local Business Banking, Commonwealth Bank, said: “Technology is reshaping the relationship between consumers and businesses. As more and more customers expect to be using the latest technology in store, those businesses not adopting new payment methods will be left behind.

“With recent advances in technology now available to businesses of any size, small and medium retailers have a new opportunity to transform point-of-sale and in-store experiences to drive sales and encourage greater customer loyalty through repeat business.”

The study also revealed the impact of a negative in-store experience on consumer purchasing:

  • 75 per cent of Australians said they would leave a store if they can't easily access help/guidance/information
  • 72 per cent won’t buy from a store if they can’t easily find a product they want
  • 50 per cent will avoid a business if they have to queue for payment.

Dr Johann Ponnampalam, Deakin University behavioural scientist, said the findings speak to the human tendency to avoid friction. “Much of our daily life involves habitual, autopilot behaviour. When in this mindset, we crave faster, simpler, easier service interactions and when we don’t receive them, we experience friction which often leads to us avoiding purchasing altogether.

“Our lives are more complex than ever before and consumers have an abundance of choice. In a retail environment, we are, at times, overwhelmed by choice. This leads to choice paralysis, which in-turn leads to avoiding purchase decisions and buyer’s remorse. The study shows that businesses need to work harder to help customers make informed, confident choices by providing personalised and relevant information during the retail experience,” he said.

Customers are calling for personalisation – more than half (58 per cent) of those surveyed believe retail businesses should do more to personalise their shopping experiences.

Claire continued: “Embracing technology allows businesses to better understand their customers, their marketplace and investigate, through data insights, how brand loyalty can be achieved. This in turn generates connections with customers that strengthen loyalty programs and with 84 per cent of Australians more likely to buy from a store they feel connected to, this is a telling trend. Technology can power loyalty.”

One leading-edge payments device that is paving the way for this enhanced in-store ‘retail therapy’ experience is Albert,  the world’s only device to both take payments as well as access front-end point of sale and back-end processing systems of businesses.

“At the end of the day, consumers want a smooth retail therapy experience and technology delivers that. When there are affordable solutions such as Albert in the marketplace, there is no reason for businesses to generate unnecessary friction and demand cash-only spending,” said Claire.

Coupled with Albert’s flexible payment options, mobility and bill splitting functionalities, apps such as Daily IQ and Kounta help businesses get to know their customers through their spending patterns so they can improve customer service in-store from interactions with staff through to POS and payment.


1. Case study available - Scott Mathers, owner of Pocket Espresso, previously only accepted cash and with large numbers of customers wanting to pay with credit, he was losing business but he now has a digital payments strategy and opened a second store with revenue on the up.

2. CommBank’s ‘Retail Therapy’ research involved an online survey of 1,000 consumers.

3. Key findings:

  • 75 per cent of people use credit/debit cards as their primary payment method when shopping / dining in-store (this has become the preferred payment method with cash (66 per cent), PayPass / PayWave / Tap&Pay (49 per cent) and digital wallets (6 per cent) also surveyed.)
  •  47 per cent of Aussies like to use technology when shopping to make their experience more efficient
  • 78 per cent of people want it to be easy to split bills when shopping
  • 74 per cent of shoppers say that queueing makes their shopping experience more stressful
  • When paying the bill, 65 per cent of people feel anxious / pressured if they get asked to tip by a waiter / staff member. Whereas 46 per cent feel less anxious / pressured to leave a tip if prompted by an electronic payment terminal
  • 69 per cent of people hate not being able to split the bill
  • 77 per cent of people find it awkward when one person has to pay for everyone because they can’t split the bill
  • People most commonly feel their retail therapy is ruined by inefficient customer service (68 per cent)
  • 77 per cent of shoppers are more likely to return to a retail store that offers loyalty programs or customer offers
  • 84 per cent of shoppers are more likely to buy from a business they feel connected to
  • When paying, 84 per cent of shoppers like to make use of loyalty / rewards programs
  • 82 per cent of shoppers are likely to spend more in a store when they feel like a valued customer
  • 74 per cent of people will stay loyal to a business that personalises their experience
  • Most important ‘retail therapy’ requests:
    • More efficient customer service (57 per cent)
    • Less time spent queuing (56 per cent)
    • The ability to split bills (43 per cent)
    • Flexible payment options (43 per cent)


Media contact:

Bethany Poore
Commonwealth Bank Media
02 9118 6919