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. Although it has been a long time in the making, contactless payments (card and mobile/NFC) appear to be gathering traction in the financial service and retail sectors. In a recent article in Techworld, Visa highlights that contactless payments have increased by 500% over the last 12 months, accounting for 51 million consumer payments in the UK. Furthermore, research on the mobile consumer – conducted by Ipsos MORI – shows that frequent mobile users are capitalising on the new technology to make their retail journeys easier and more efficient.
Whilst still niche, the trend for mobile as a payment device is growing and highlights the need for merchants to evolve their in-store environments to meet the needs of an omni channel consumer. 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) – 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.
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. Whereas today there is latent demand for high value contactless payments (>Â£20). A Payment Service Provider (PSP) can activate this functionality within the retailers' estate when the true value of mobile payment is realised. For the retailer to meet the on-going payment challenges a trusted PSP will be essential. On the one hand, a PSP needs to able to support a range of ways to pay, both multichannel and multi-currency. On the other, data security will need to be thoroughly protected to maintain consumer confidence in new payment technologies.
With a background in financial services, Mark is a highly experienced product development and solutions marketing professional. With over 12 years experience in developing and launching innovative new products within the UK retail and financial services market, Mark's passion lies in developing new payments and loyalty solutions that customers want.