Point of Sale and Digital Payment Diversity Keeps Merchants on Their Toes
More than halfway through 2019, merchants are responding to the variety of paths consumers are choosing to pay for goods and services. From the mobile point of sale tablets retailers carry around the store to the tap-n-go options from both mobile wallets and contactless cards, consumers are adopting many options in making payments.
What must merchants do to win? Will the retail business flourish in adopting new technologies? To help answer these questions, we’ve assembled the patterns and forecasts that retailers should pay attention to in the coming months.
1. mPOS = Mobile Point of Sale
Payments made via mPOS, either a smartphone or other wireless device, are replacing the traditional point-of-sale terminal. Whether your local clothing store retailer walks up to you holding your potential purchase with a tablet to close the sale or your local coffeehouse spins a phablet toward you for your payment, mPOS is a growing trend offering merchants flexibility, as well as mobility to their paying customers. With the added functionality food trucks and other mobile businesses can have their POS in their pocket and not worry about recording the transactions in their accounting software when they get home.
2. Mobile Wallets
]In addition to big tech offering pay apps, retailers are creating their own app-based payments. Starbucks alone is the leader in all point-of-sale purchase apps, beating out big tech in the mobile wallet ambition. With loyalty programs offering points and discounts, retailers can leverage the consumer drive for convenience. Coffee drinkers like walking into their coffeehouse and picking up their cup of coffee waiting for them.
3. Contactless Payments
Using NFC, near-field communication, or “contactless cards,” allow you to tap and go much like the big tech pay mobile wallet technology. An estimated 100 million contactless Visa cards will be issued in the US in 2019. Instead of taking an average of 30 seconds to insert an EMV chip, contactless only takes 15 seconds, saving 15 seconds per transaction. Many mobile wallets also have this functionality including Apple Pay and Google Pay. The upgrade to a contactless machine is easy and most good merchant services companies are supplying them for free.
4. Alexa, Order Me a Pizza
Consumers now want to tell Alexa, Google, or Siri to order and pay for a pizza, handle banking transactions, or pay their bills. Security still has a long way to go with voice-activated mechanisms handling point of sale for merchants. Selling online isn’t just having an ecommerce shopping cart. Integrating into the popular search giants is gaining a ton of traction in the online/convenience shopping community. In doing so, your products can be voice ordered through smart devices. I bet your local competitor isn’t doing that!
5. Blockchain wallets and Money Transfers
Blockchain, the record-keeping technology behind bitcoin, can track transactions securely while keeping costs in check in machine-to-machine, M2M, exchanges. Security is also the sticking point on this technology thus far. Walmart is integrating blockchain technology into their mobile wallet to make it more secure and save money in transfers, which won’t rely on a third party. While blockchain is still in its early stages for retail it is picking up momentum in the back end of many payment apps.
6. P2P = Peer-to-Peer
Younger generations are turning to mobile apps that allow them to transfer money quickly and easily to one another such as Venmo. From payment for dog sitting to paying half the dinner bill, the next wave of consumers are more comfortable with using P2P payment apps than ever before. Now, Venmo is able to be used as an NFC mobile wallet and can be used the same as Apple Pay in retail locations. Call your merchant services provider to find out how to accept NFC at no additional charge.
While new alternatives to the point of sale provide seemingly exponential choices in paying for something, most consumers still prefer the traditional methods, namely credit, debit, and cash. Even the most tech-savvy consumer with a mobile wallet in his pocket still carries cash and a credit card.