Contactless payments have been a pivotal part of the continuation of retail during the COVID-19 pandemic and around the world, cash payments plummeted. This has been partially attributed to the diminished capacity to shop in-store, but has also been connected to the “concern that the virus could be transmitted via coins and [bills].”
However, the usefulness of this technology doesn’t end with the lifting of restrictions. Contactless payments solve many of the pain points experienced by both telecom retailers and customers alike. Investing in new methods of payment that support efficient, effective transactions for all parties is what will set retailers apart as they enter the future of telecom retail.
COVID-19 may have forced retailers to capitalize on the contactless trend, but with a 150% increase in contactless payments since March 2019, the move towards sustained usage is clear; 74% of customers have said they will continue to use contactless payments after the pandemic is over. Accenture, an authority in the technology space, has listed “a strong push towards a cashless society” as a result of the pandemic, this blog will uncover the post-COVID benefits of contactless payments for telecom retailers and their customers.
Benefits for the retailer:
Reduced hardware costs
Terminals are not only restrictive, but they’re also expensive. Maintaining payment terminals can be costly and time-consuming. With intelligent payment software, updates are easily implemented on a schedule that works for a retailer. New versions of the software can be deployed with little to no impact on the business.
Customers are also making a significant shift in their payment habits, which could render the money a retailer spends on physical terminals to be a waste. In a survey by Mastercard, 45% of respondents said that they have swapped their antiquated payment method for something contactless—the “proportion climbs to 52% among those under 35 years old.” This suggests that not only are customers becoming less satisfied by traditional payment methods, but also fewer customers will be leveraging traditional payment methods altogether.
When retailers focus on implementing payment tech that supports the shift towards contactless payments, there is a dual benefit. By leaning more heavily on contactless options, retailers will not only satisfy customers who prefer to pay with contactless methods but will also reduce expensive costs associated with physical payment terminals. No more physical maintenance to update workstations or purchases of new payment device hardware needed.
Enhanced integration opportunities
When retailers digitalize payments, they open the door to technological integrations that make the payment experience with the brand better. “The ability to accept mobile phone-based payments opens up a multitude of marketing opportunities,” reports FirstData. Whether a retailer wants to improve existing integrations with their loyalty programs or enhance opportunities that use personalized mobile marketing techniques—like couponing and location-based marketing—retailers are better able to reach their audience.
Location-based push notifications are becoming more popular, especially with the results earned in a Localytics push notification survey. It reported that “49% of people said they’d use an app more if it sent them push notifications triggered by their selected hometown,” and in the same study, 42% said they would use an app more if push notifications were triggered by their present location. Not only that, but 93% of shoppers in the United States use a coupon code or discount throughout the year.
Mobile technologies bridge a connection from retailer to customer before, during, and after the purchase experience. And while contactless payments are working to support a positive transactional experience, the integrations available to retailers with contactless capabilities enhance the surrounding parts of a customer’s journey making the entire experience a positive one.
Lessened opportunity for fraudulent transactions
Contactless payments make use of near-field communication (NFC) technology; a complex secure technology that is considered a part of radio-frequency identification (RFID). Because of its close-proximity nature, NFC protects payments from fraudsters who would be standing at a distance, attempting to steal data. NFC contactless payments only work when payment devices are a few centimeters away. In addition to this close-proximity process, Forbes reports that NFC uses the same standard established for EMV chips, which are “effective at reducing fraud, including instances of in-store counterfeit cards.
Benefits for the customer:
Faster payment speed
A telecom transaction isn’t always fast. An upgrade, renewal, or activation of devices can be a lengthy process, so maximizing efficiencies wherever possible is key. Contactless payment services enable associates to complete transactions without a physical payment terminal being available. Whether a store is busy or associates want to bring the transaction to wherever the customer is, contactless technologies make the payment process fast. This Fiserv study, conducted by The Harris Poll, found that 68% of customers say “speed and efficiency are important in determining how they pay.” And with the expectation for fast transactions also comes an expectation that a retailer can accept the form of contactless payment most preferred by a customer. The same Fiserv survey saw that 74% of customers have used mobile wallets—like ApplePay, GooglePay, or MasterPass—and 61% of customers have contactless-enabled payment cards. For retailers, this means that the contactless investments they make should consider the kinds of payment preferences their customer base prefers.
Retailer Bonus: A fast transaction doesn’t only benefit the customer, but the retailer as well. When a customer can go through the purchase journey faster, it allows for more customers to be assisted in a day. More customers mean increased revenue potential and, over time, this can result in a significant boost to a retailer’s bottom line.
Improved transactional convenience
With alternative methods of payment, retailers are supporting the changing paths to purchase of today’s modern shoppers. In a study by NRF (the National Retail Federation), it was found that 97% of customers had backed out of a purchase because it was too inconvenient for them to complete the transaction. Allowing tap-and-go cards, enabling mobile wallet payments, or investing in technologies like Pay Anywhere, means the customer can pay quickly, securely, and in the way that they prefer.
Greater payment flexibility
Contactless payments, by nature, improve the flexibility of a payment process. Whether by changing the physical location a payment takes place in, the device that’s used to process the payment, or how the customer provides payment, contactless enables many pathways to a complete transaction.
When a customer isn’t bound by the cash or cards in their wallet and they’re not crunched for time with a painstakingly long wait for a physical payment terminal, they’re much more likely to complete their purchase journey. Retailers who can take contactless payments in a variety of methods are more likely to see a greater level of satisfaction than those who don’t. “Contactless technology is increasingly available to consumers in other forms such as mini-cards, stickers, key fobs, and even mobile wallets that turn contactless-enabled phones into payment devices,” meaning a customer expects to be able to pay how they want. When one store offers multiple payment options, it becomes the standard for all retailers, no matter the industry. Telecom retailers who invest in reducing dependency on physical cards and payment terminals will lead the way, earning increased levels of satisfaction as a result.
Contactless means future-ready
Solutions that support alternative, customer-centric payment methods are becoming essential. As the customer describes their needs, the associate can move with them around the store, answering questions, showcasing devices, and even upselling complementary products. When the time comes for a purchase to be made, a contactless payment solution that isn’t restricted to the confines of a physical workstation means the customer can pay and go without any wait time. It’s the perfect transactional process and an experience that customers in telecom retail will come to expect. Flexible, convenient transactions aren’t only nice to have, they are the future of the industry.
The iQmetrix contactless payment solution, Pay Anywhere, not only reduces dependency on physical workstations but also satisfies the customer's growing need for convenient, on-the-spot payments. When they’re ready to pay and go, retailers who leverage the mobile payment technology of Pay Anywhere can send a payment link to the customer’s device. In-store payments taken anywhere is the future of telecom retail so businesses who want to stay ahead need to invest now.
Learn more about Pay Anywhere and why it’s the natural evolution of telecom retail success.