Retail payments will undergo a revolution in 2017.
Numbered are the days of cash and credit card-only transactions. Consumers are pining for a faster, easier and more convenient way to pay for their goods and services, and they have been flocking to digital payment methods as a result. As the new year approaches and beyond, cash and credit card payments in brick-and-mortar stores will increasingly be replaced by online payments, mobile pay and contactless payments.
If retailers want to stay competitive in this rapidly changing consumer landscape, they will need to embrace digital technology and implement strategies to successfully incorporate these payment methods into their companies’ business models.
Utilize these strategies to ensure your business’ success in 2017 and beyond:
More and more customers want to purchase products online instead of going into the store. Many retailers are concerned that online sales cannibalize their in-store purchases, but online sales can actually be an effective tool to encourage buyers to make in-person purchases. In fact, for mega-retailer Target, having a robust online presence has only expanded the ways that the company can reach out to its consumers, and it has been reaping those benefits so far this holiday season.
Online sales were up by a double-digit margin this Thanksgiving compared to the previous year, Target CEO Brian Cornell told Fortune. Not only that, but sales from the holiday have the potential to be the highest-grossing online sales day the company has ever seen, Cornell told the source. But in addition to increasing their online sales 26 percent the third quarter of 2016, Target still conducts 94 percent of its business through brick-and-mortar transactions. Other retailers should follow Target’s lead to amp up their online presence.
This means retailers need to ensure their websites make it as easy as possible to complete a transaction. Otherwise consumers might get frustrated and look to a competitor to buy something. It’s also important to offer deals online to drive traffic to the website. Retailers can decide whether they would like to offer the same deals online as in store, or if they would like to promote a special web-only deal to get people to purchase. To do this, retailers should consider working with a third-party vendor to process transactions to ensure the premium security and functionality of their websites at all times.
Retailers who are considering upgrading their websites should look into small business financing from an alternative lender. Applicants can get approved quickly so retailers can be ready to compete in a digital economy in no time.
The ability to pay for goods and services using a smartphone is taking the retail industry by storm. Mobile wallets such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay are experiencing exponential growth right now – Apple CEO Tim Cook reported in April 2016 that Apple Pay is gaining one million new users per week, according to Business Insider – which means retailers who want to attract a wider consumer base need to adapt to accept this technology. Furthermore, 75 percent of purchases will be made without cash by 2025, Business 2 Community reported, which underscores the necessity for businesses to adopt this technology now to remain competitive in the not-so-distant future.
And new research is showing just how promising this new technology can be for retailers. Retailers who advertised the ability for customers to check out using Apple Pay experienced more than a 44 percent increase in total transactions and a 6 percent surge in the average sales price for contactless transactions, according to a study by USA Technologies.
“Based on our study, we believe that when businesses and operators present consumers with the option to pay for items with Apple Pay, the number of mobile payments made and the amount spent increases,” Maeve McKenna Duska, USA Technologies’ vice president of marketing and sales, told NFC World.
Retailers who don’t think they can afford to implement payment readers for contactless transactions should think about applying for an alternative business loan. This savvy move will get business owners the cash they need to make an upgrade that is increasingly necessary to stay relevant with consumers.
Retailers should also be taking advantage of mobile payments on social media. A whopping 72 percent of consumers check their phones at least once per hour, according to a 2015 Gallup poll. People often use social media apps while on the go, and retailers can take advantage of this by making buying through social media easy and hassle-free. Business owners should strive to create a social experience that easily allows customers to purchase items right in their news feed.
In addition to social media, business owners should also consider creating a mobile app for their companies. This will benefit them by helping to increase brand awareness, and it will give a brand’s customers another way to engage with the company and purchase its products.
Businesses that follow these strategies will set up themselves for success for years to come.