Mobile payments

Could this be the technology to future-proof bricks-and-mortar retailing?


Does mobile payment technology encourage shoppers to spend more per transaction than using conventional payment methods? The jury’s out, but a survey shows that half of retailers who have adopted the system think it does.

The survey by VoucherCodes.co.uk and WBR Insights was based on interviews with 200 multichannel retailers, and showed there was a clear consensus on the role of mobile payment technology as a positive sales driver in-store.

The majority (81%) of retailers said they believe the technology encourages their customers to shop with them more frequently as it facilitates easier payments, streamlining the checkout process and removing friction. Furthermore, 80% of retailers felt that mobile payment technology had directly encouraged shoppers to come back to the store more frequently.

Installing this technology has been a big priority for some retailers, and 74% of those surveyed have already fully or partially implemented mobile payment methods, with the rest planning to do so in the near future.

Improving customer experience

Of the retailers who took part in the research, 38% felt the biggest benefit of implementing mobile payments in-store was that they facilitate greater engagement with customers by improving convenience and customer experience in real time. Thanks to the use of mobile payments, retailers are experiencing opportunities to improve various elements of the customer journey from purchase right through to aftersales.

Mobile payments have helped retailers to improve their internal processes. By making the process digital, staff can be more organised without worrying about paper receipts, on top of saving time by letting them process transactions quickly and allowing them to follow up with customers more easily thanks to digital receipts.

For 26% of retailers, these factors are the biggest benefit of the technology. Retailers view digital receipts as a key improvement in after sales care for customers as they offer a less intrusive way of requesting a customer’s email address, allowing them to follow up and re-engage with the customer with relevant marketing content and emails.

“The move towards mobile payments has arguably been the most significant single shift in customer shopping habits in the last five years,” says Jimmy New, Director of Marketing at VoucherCodes.co.uk. “ApplePay was introduced in most major European markets in 2015/16 and the sight of people tapping their phones on terminals in stores has fast become the norm.

“These latest figures highlight how retailers are continuing to adapt to the growth of online and mobile spending. Technology and digital investment will be key to ensuring this growth does not come at the expense of traditional high street spend, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other popular innovations transform the overall shopping experience.”

Investing in innovation

The report also revealed retailers’ priorities for technology investment, highlighting potential areas for growth over the next five years. AI technology looks set for continued growth – it was deemed the second most important area for technology investment, according to 23% of retailers, just behind traditional mobile apps as the most important area, according to 28% of retailers.

Meanwhile, a quarter of retailers (27%) confirmed that they had already invested in Augmented Reality (AR) technology over the last 12 months in a rush to engage consumers in-store and via mobile.

Other top priorities include:

  • Biometric payment methods – two thirds of retailers (66%) would like their company to develop biometric payment methods, such as finger scanning or face recognition
  • Virtual Reality technology – 37% of retailers confirmed that they had invested in the technology over the last 12 months
  • Virtual Assistants – 38% of retailers have already introduced virtual assistants and 53% are planning on doing so
  • AI-powered chatbots – 44% of retailers surveyed offer AI-powered chatbots to help shoppers and 54% are planning to in the next five years

“Mobile payments, AI, AR and many other exciting developments will no doubt be at the forefront of upcoming changes,” adds New. “However, meeting customer needs and expectations will be what drives activity and investment.”

See the full report: www.vouchercodes.co.uk/press/reports/retail-perspectives-and-innovations

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