2020 was a transformative year for many industries, and the retail sector was no exception. Both medium and small businesses were forced to make a digital transformation, and some added curbside pickup and buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) options to their business model.
Customers were restricted from entering stores without masks, and often, there was an occupancy limit on how many people were allowed at one time. Retailers had to make numerous adjustments and adapt to the new shopping environment. They had to follow state and federal guidelines to operate during the pandemic.
Some of the changes retailers experienced may be here to stay. One of the most notable changes is the use of contactless payment methods. In general, this reduces the use of frequent touchpoints in brick-and-mortar stores, which customers were concerned about during the height of the pandemic. People are considering their health when shopping, so you must offer safe options in your store.
In the past year, over 80% of consumers have used some form of contactless payment. People are looking out for their health, and the convenience of these types of transactions is unmatched. Simplifying the transaction process will give you happier customers, and we all know that means improved brand loyalty and more revenue for your business.
Here’s how you can meet customer demand for convenient, contactless and cashless payment options.
1. Upgrade Your Transaction Terminals and POS
Retailers should invest in new technology to upgrade their existing transaction terminals and point-of-sale (POS) systems. More credit card companies, like Chase and Wells Fargo, are offering their customers cards enabled with near field communication (NFC) and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.
Customers can hold their phone or smart wearable device near the payment terminal to complete their transactions. It’s a super convenient way to pay, and employees can complete sales much faster than with traditional card or cash methods.
2. Offer Prepayment Options
BOPIS will be the new wave for retailers. Purchasing products online and picking them up in stores allows customers to have more freedom in their buying process.
If customers are hesitant about entering a store due to fear of COVID-19 exposure, they have an alternative option to pay while still getting the essential products they need. Consider implementing BOPIS options into your current business model to satisfy your customers’ needs and improve their shopping experience.
3. Consider Creating a Branded Mobile App
Digital apps are growing in popularity, especially for retailers worldwide. Most stores now have loyalty and reward apps to gain valuable customer information and offer exclusive sales to their most loyal customers.
Shoppers crave convenience, and allowing them to shop and pay using a branded mobile app is a guaranteed way to make them happy. They can choose to pick up their items in-store or ship directly to their home. Either way, the ability to buy with Apple Pay or PayPal will only enhance their experience. Some apps come with machine learning capabilities and can assist retailers in boosting their sales.
4. Issue Contactless Company Cards
Retailers now can create their own branded cards to issue to customers, and the perks benefit everyone. Cards with your logo and store name will increase brand awareness, and your customers will want to come back to shop for more products as a result. Transactions are seamless and frictionless when these cards are integrated with RFID or NFC tech. Before ordering contactless company cards, ensure you have the right technology in place to handle these types of transactions.
Retailers will have to continue adjusting their business practices to keep up with ever-changing consumer behavior and demand.
The Future of Contactless Payment
Life may return to a new normal as we slowly make our way out of the pandemic, but some changes will be here to stay. Offering contactless payment options will improve your customer experience and hopefully help you recoup any losses you may have faced during COVID-19.
Credit: Devin Partida is a retail writer and blogger. You can read more posts from Devin at ReHack.com, where she is the Editor-in-Chief.