Connected digital devices have not only changed how consumers shop for goods and services, but it has also changed how they pay for them. With even greater bank support, digital wallets and mobile payments are rapidly increasing in adoption and use. The mobile payment sphere is becoming more and more competitive by the day, with both industry leaders and new upstarts making a place for themselves within the market. The range of choices out there seems mind numbing and the mobile payments revolution has only just gone underway.
For merchants and business owners, mobile payments present a great opportunity to connect with customers and provide them value in more personal ways. Merchants and business owners adopting mobile capabilities is what will fuel this industry to move forward. Beyond importance, there is an overall demand from customers for quick and seamless payment experiences. Not only will mobile payment capabilities deliver a unique customer experience but they will improve sales and mobile commerce overall. Merchants should not view mobile payment adoption as simply a way to keep up with the latest and hottest trends, but as a way to enhance and engage their relationships with their existing customer base – and attract new customers.
Go Above-and-Beyond Customer Expectations With Contactless Payments
Merchants who set up for accepting contactless payments send out a strong message that their business values staying current and up-to-date with the latest payment technology and data security. While consumers are familiarizing themselves with the newest payment technology on the market, they actively seek it out at the point-of-sale. By clearly displaying on the terminal or near the point-of-sale that mobile payments are accepted, it sends the message to customers that multiple forms of payments are accepted. Customers will appreciate having options and being able to use their digital wallets. Even though there are customers that do not utilize mobile payments, it creates an awareness of that technology. It builds up the reputation of a business as reliable for allowing multiple forms of payment.
Speed Up Transactions
One of the biggest complaints with EMV chip card payments is the time that those transactions take at the terminal. Even though merchants and consumers are becoming more accustomed to longer transaction times associated with EMV, the faster option offered by mobile payments is an attractive alternative. Mobile payments are fast and simple at the terminal. Business Insider recently noted that Duane Reade and Whole Foods are the biggest brick-and-mortar retailers with the largest percentage of mobile payments via Apple Pay. Other top retailers include coffee shops and grocers. This means that consumers are looking for ways to save the most time while running their daily errands. For business owners, keeping lines moving is a given when it comes to improving the checkout experience. One of the biggest factors that leads to seamless payment transactions, for EMV and mobile payments alike, is employee education and training. Training employees to encourage and accept contactless payments at the point-of-sale will cut down on wait times. Customers will perceive the business to have short wait times.
Offer Loyalty Programs and Email Receipts
Customers love innovative ways to stay engaged with the places they enjoy shopping. Loyalty programs and paperless communication is highly effective for engaging customers both old and new. Customers want convenience and the best value around, both of which can be enhanced by mobile payment and digital wallet features. Merchants can benefit greatly from reward and loyalty programs. Starbucks is a perfect example of that, with over 12.3 million active members in the U.S. alone. Merchants can utilize mobile wallets and mobile payments to create loyalty programs curtailed to the individual consumer, with incentives to drive brand awareness and foster a stronger customer base. Along with incentives, paperless communication is highly favorable among many consumers. Merchants can even further reduce transaction times by automatically emailing receipts to customers as opposed to printing them.
Merchants today need to think less about the physical constraints of reaching out to customers and focus more on how mobile payments can empower the relationship between the two. Mass adoption of mobile payments will be built on a base of trust and a streamlined approach to payment processing. Customers want convenience in their shopping experience and mobile payments provide the kind of ease they seek.
Steve Callis is President, Integrated Point of Sale at Sterling Payment Technologies