Today's consumers are increasingly using mobile devices, whether it's a tablet or a hand held, to browse products, read reviews, and make purchases both at home and on the move. And, although it has been a long time coming, contactless payments appear to be gathering traction in the financial service and retail sectors, according to Mark Prior-Egerton, solutions marketing manager for The Logic Group.
In a recent article in Techworld, Visa reported that contactless payments had increased by 500% over the past 12 months, accounting for some 51 million consumer payments in the UK alone. Furthermore, research into the mobile consumer, conducted by Ipsos MORI, found that frequent mobile users are capitalising on the technology to make their retail journeys both easier and more efficient.
Whilst still something of a niche, the trend for mobile payments is growing and it highlights the need for merchants to evolve their in-store environments to meet the needs of an increasingly omnichannel customer.
However, to claw back high street sales, retailers need to deliver more than just a digital presence as e-retail is blurring the lines between the real and online world. Showrooming is becoming more prevalent on our high streets, an outcome of the recessionary woes and consumers are continually looking for ways to make their money to go further. To combat this, the retailer needs to take the fight to the shop floor by using the same technology to counter the e-retails onslaught.
Today's technological counter measure is the Mobile Point of Sale (MPoS), which this gives retailers greater mobility to engage and interact with their customers in-store; checking stock availability and empowering their staff to make real time price-matching and promotional decisions, whilst having the capability to take payments without the need for the customer to go back to the cashier's desk.
"MPoS will evolve, providing retailers and consumers with a more streamlined shopping experience as the PoS moves onto the changing cubical wall and price matching becomes automated," predicted Prior-Egerton.
To optimise the integration of multichannel payment methods, businesses require a short and a long term strategy. In the short term, mobile loyalty solutions can be used to introduce and familiarise consumers with new mobile payment methods. And even now there is clear demand for higher value contactless payments (i.e. those of more than 20).
For the retailer to meet the on-going payment challenges a trusted payment service provider (PSP) is essential. On one hand, the PSP needs to able to support a range of ways to pay (both multichannel and multi-currency), and on the other hand, it must product data security to maintain consumers' confidence in new technologies such as mobile payments.