Today’s retailer faces a rate of change that is unprecedented. Franchises and independent stores vie for the business of increasingly tech savvy and time poor consumers. At the same time, storeowners and managers must stay abreast of local and international trends in order to compete in a global marketplace.
Maintaining a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace demands innovation. One of the best, yet largely untapped opportunities for retailers to boost operational efficiency and create a point of difference with their customer is at point of sale (POS).
Checkout is a pivotal part of your business. For business owners and managers, a smooth POS process means more transactions, better utilisation of staff resources and greater security. For customers it means convenience, efficiency and peace of mind.
So how can you provide a seamless solution for both store and customer? The answer lies in your customer’s pocket.
Most of us are familiar with contactless payment or ‘Tap and Go’ facilities, where a transaction is completed without pressing buttons or entering a PIN. These generally involve the customer waving a credit or smart card over the point of sale scanner, which reads a chip inside the card in order to processes the transaction. This card technology is quick and convenient, but it’s limited to small transactions, can expose traders and customers to fraud due to lack of authentication and requires close proximity between the card and scanner.
Thanks to smartphone technology, there’s now a better way – mobile payments.
Apple and Google, the two biggest players in today’s smartphone marketplace each have a mobile payment and digital wallet system that leverages cellular and WiFi technology to deliver a smooth, highly secure and convenient point of sale experience. Both ApplePay and Android Pay systems are user-friendly, allowing customers to make payments as easily as they would with a ‘tap and go’ card by simply holding their phone over the point of sale scanner.
More and more consumers are opting to carry their smartphone instead of traditional cards and cash, especially Millennials, for whom smartphone technology is as essential as breathing! According to a 2017 study, they are 16 times more likely to use a digital wallet than their Baby Boomer grandparents, and also more likely to vote with their feet if a retailer doesn’t include this in their payment options.
Smartphone technology alone is not enough to create an advantage in Australia’s highly competitive retail marketplace. But stores that deliver greater convenience and efficiency and make it easier to buy by expanding their service to include new technologies like mobile payment are increasingly winning the war for customers. International research predicts mobile payments will contribute over $1 trillion in worldwide retail sales by the end of 2017.
Contactless POS options including ‘tap and go’ cards and mobile payments also encourage customers to spend more, simply due the ease of transactions. Studies into purchase behaviour following the introduction of ‘tap and go’ cards have shown overall spend to be universally higher, in some cases by as much as 30%, regardless of previous spending habits.
Mobile payment systems can be readily integrated into any POS system that already has a contactless payment facility and reliable mobile connectivity. But mobile payments also have several other benefits beyond those of traditional card-based contactless payment systems that add value to your current service offering. These include:
- Speed – In an age where every second a customer is kept waiting can cost you a sale, the speed of processing offered by mobile payments provides a small but compelling advantage, cutting several seconds off transaction processing time.
- Security – Mobile payments provide a security buffer between your point of sale system and the customer’s credit or debit card, greatly reducing the risk of card fraud. Both ApplePay and Android Pay employ sophisticated encryption and identification technology that allows payment authorisation without revealing the customer’s account details. Even if your POS system is affected by malware, the customer’s payment information stays safe.
- Flexibility – Mobile payment technology can also be integrated with other point of sale functions such as loyalty programs. This allows transaction information to be shared across systems, resulting in more meaningful behavioural data to assist operational decision making.
As competition in Australia’s retail marketplace intensifies, companies are increasingly looking to technology to help optimise business systems and processes, lower costs and increase sales. And today, there is a fourth crucial element to retail success: the customer.
Mobile payments are still a relatively new concept for many retailers and consumers, but the desire for a user-friendly, secure and efficient point of sale experience is universal. Partnering with a POS expert who can help you innovate by incorporating these new technologies into your existing service will not only create a more customer-centric experience and make them more likely to buy from you, but also differentiate you from competitors and help you achieve greater operational efficiency.
If change and meeting your customers’ needs is a constant, doing nothing isn’t an option. Be sure you are partnering with a company with the depth and breadth of expertise you require. Particularly one who can help you navigate end-to-end managed services, cloud, mobile and paperless retail technology. GPK Retail consultant, Cordell Quaine, is available for a no obligation discussion on how GPK can help you reduce operational costs, manage your IT footprint more effectively and create an exceptional experience for your customers. Contact: Phone 1300 000 475 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.