The demand, and arguable need, for contactless technologies has dramatically increased over the past twelve months, and not only due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers are craving convenient retail experiences and are becoming less tolerant of time-consuming payment processes.
Recognizing this, TEAM Wireless, an American Verizon wireless retailer, saw an opportunity to satisfy the safety needs of pandemic-minded consumers in 2020, while preparing their stores for the continued trend toward contactless technologies. TEAM Wireless wanted a payment solution that would speed up transactions, provide increased convenience to customers, and firmly support contactless strategies that extend beyond the pandemic.
As a wireless retailer with 49 doors, TEAM Wireless was in need of a solution that would scale to support customers across all locations. When presented with the opportunity to use Remote Pay — the contactless payment solution from iQmetrix — TEAM Wireless was both eager to add it to its operations. Always looking to optimize the latest in intelligent retail management software, TEAM Wireless saw the iQmetrix remote payment functionality as an enduring differentiator for their stores. Not only would Remote Pay provide transactional efficiency through uninterrupted shopping journeys for customers, but it would also provide TEAM Wireless with an increased revenue generating power through innovative, intelligent payment functionality.
Responding to market changes and customer expectation
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it was clear that there would be major changes to the retail industry, telecom included. Being a high-touch retail environment, TEAM Wireless needed to quickly make procedural adaptations to protect not only its customers but also its employees. Jody Waisenen, Director of Field Operations at TEAM Wireless, said, “A lot of staff members took the pandemic very personally. Some didn’t want to work, some did, and some were even afraid of interacting with guests. Not only that but without the ability to do business at a distance, guests were hesitant to resume in-store shopping.”
Waisenen works directly with associates and customers in-store, so saw first-hand the effects of the pandemic on customer’s behavior. “There were so many regulations that varied between regions, so to see success, it was all about adapting to change.”
TEAM Wireless saw Remote Pay as the obvious solution to not only alleviating in-store stresses caused by COVID-19 but also as the answer to the behavioral changes that would remain after the pandemic. With customers putting more value on a convenient, in-store experience, the contactless payment process provided by Remote PAy enabled TEAM Wireless to attain a competitive advantage. Paul Stemick, Vice President of Operations for the wireless retailer was at the center of implementing this new payment method. Stemick explained that “Our timelines sped up five to 10 years when it came to touchless and contactless technologies. At the beginning of 2020, no one was thinking about implementing this stuff in the next twelve months. But here we are, at the beginning of 2021 and we’re fully immersed in it.”
Both Waisenen and Stemick agreed that contactless payments were exactly what TEAM Wireless needed but also what customers came to expect. Waisenen saw that “Systems that were touchless not only alleviated the stress on associates during the in-person transaction but also that guests wanted a touchless experience. The remote payment ability to have customers pay from their device was a good thing for us.”
Leveraging the functionality for customers to pay from their mobile device led TEAM Wireless toward achieving one of its biggest wins of the year: providing a safe environment for customers and employees. “It all stemmed from using tools that helped us adapt to changes that came up over the past year in the wireless retail landscape,” said Waisenen.
Easy, intuitive implementation for customers and associates
With associates already undergoing shifts in how they interact with customers, it was important to both Stemick and Waisenen that new technology does not interfere with the processes associates were most comfortable with. To use Remote Pay, an associate simply goes about the checkout process in RQ or RQmobile, selecting “Remote Pay” as the payment method.
In working alongside associates in store environments, Waisenen knew that this functionality would be an easy fit into the sales floor flow. “There was virtually no learning curve with Remote Pay. Once associates saw how easy it was, it was a quick transition. Staff quickly became comfortable using the solution and their confidence translated to the guests feeling comfortable too,” explained Waisenen.
From implementation to reconciliation to active use, Stemick lead back-office teams in the setup and implementation of the solution. “Remote payments are now just a part of normal business. Setup for this solution was incredibly simple and having this technology at our fingertips is worth it. Customers are expecting a contactless experience, and TEAM Wireless can easily meet that need with Remote Pay,” he said. Stemick was also excited to be able to pave the way in the wireless world with this new technology, explaining that “I hope TEAM Wireless can show other retailers how easy contactless solutions can be. This contactless payment method is now a very valuable part of the way we do business, and we try and use it for almost every transaction. Currently, 30% of all card transactions use Remote Pay, and we’re expecting our usage numbers grow.”
TEAM Wireless was eager to set started with Remote Pay and the close partnership with iQmetrix made implementation seamless. Waisenen said that “With iQmetrix, it’s not just about implementing systems like Remote Pay, it’s about how we use the system. iQmetrix works to understand how our business operates with this functionality and this helps us be able to use the solution in the best way. The way TEAM Wireless uses Remote Pay is constantly being taken into account, our strategy with iQmetrix is always evolving, and the ecosystem is always customizable. It’s been a great partnership.”
Wireless customers expect Remote Pay
While COVID may have spurred a faster adoption of contactless payments than retailers had been prepared for, its benefit is far-reaching well beyond the end of the pandemic. “It made sense to go with a whole suite of touchless in-stores. We had the chance to try Remote Pay and we like to get in on new technologies early,” Stemick said. “We jumped on board, became fully immersed, and we’re loving it.”
Waisenen agreed and added that “When COVID hit, Remote Payments helped us maintain physical distancing so we could keep doors open. Movement around the store was immediately great, and the quick, touchless transactions helped to free up time from extra cleaning — it made a huge difference to not have wipes in hand every second of the day after a machine was used,” said Waisenen.
But Waisenen isn’t just focused on today’s in-store experience. Instead, she is thinking of the ways why Remote Pay will be a game-changer when everything returns to normal. “When COVID goes away and the new ‘new normal’ starts, contactless payments are going to be ingrained in the shopping experience. Most guests have shopped online at one point or another, and for those guests who have their payment information saved on their phone, Remote Pay functionality is actually a smoother experience for them because they don’t have to come in with a card, just their ID. Our guests now come into a TEAM Wireless store and expect that they can pay through Remote Pay. I don’t see us ever moving away from contactless solutions — it is just what our customers want and expect.”
“Remote Pay has let our team provide a better experience for the customer,” Waisenen said. “I see associates who are able to move around the store and have customers pay right next to the tablet, near the devices, or at the accessories, they have been browsing. Taking the payment away from the standing terminal means they aren’t disrupted while they’re browsing in-store which is amazing.”
Stemick felt the same, saying that “Remote and contactless payment technology is here to stay, one way or another. As this technology becomes more common, I see us expanding Remote Pay to where the majority of our transactions, across stores, are touchless. I’m excited for this payment method to become an even more important part of our strategies for the future.”
The future is contactless
Remote Pay supports TEAM Wireless’s need to meet the evolving expectations of wireless consumers with faster transactions and an uber-convenient payment method. Having successfully added a robust contactless service to its daily operations, TEAM Wireless is enabled to focus on creating its future. Stemick said that “iQmetrix is going to be a pillar in where TEAM Wireless can go in the future. I’ve been with TEAM Wireless for five years, and one of my favorite things is the strong relationship we have with iQmetrix. Our relationship allows for great feedback, and our team can go to the iQmetrix experts with any questions we have. That’s how I know this partnership is important to succeeding in the future.”
iQmetrix prides itself on being a technology partner for telecom retailers like TEAM Wireless. Remote Pay helps to support these businesses in achieving their goals for today and the future. Waisenen expects that products like Remote Pay are going to become a pivotal piece of the wireless retail experience, if they aren’t already. “I am excited to see how contactless solutions become a mainstay for wireless retailers, and even more excited to see how remote payments will continue to support our efforts to improve the in-store experience across the board.”
Want to learn more about the remote payment functionality from iQmetrix and why retailers like TEAM Wireless use this contactless technology in multiple locations?