The concept of ‘immediacy’ is heavily influencing consumer expectations. We are now able to access multiple apps at one time, post photos, and browse product details and availability online. Therefore, the entire retail and buying process is expected to emulate this efficiency. Consumers expect purchase recommendations and multiple payment channels to be readily available to suit their needs.
Mobile payments are finally gaining some traction. One reason for this is that businesses are waking up to the fact that cash is the more costly option, and therefore embracing digital can reduce costs hugely. Retail businesses especially, who are operating to even tighter margins, will benefit from the mobile effect. Also, as most consumers these days own smartphones, digital presents itself as a way to deliver simple, no-fuss customer experience during the payment process. Considering that a brand’s success is becoming more and more about developing a relationship with the customer, and creating experiences, a frictionless payment experience is now an essential, rather than a nice to have.
So, what do consumers really want in a retail experience?
What is clear is that with increased internet coverage globally, and the growth of ecommerce, consumers want to buy anything they like, from anywhere in the world. In addition, they want it to be fast, effective, and simple. Forecasters expect over 2 billion online shoppers by 2020, and digital buyer penetration is expected to surpass 65% of internet users worldwide in 2021 [Statista]. As a result of this shift, how consumers pay for their goods also has to evolve.
Mobile wallets and consolidation
As Voice and AI are the latest manifestations of technology, this signals technology’s need to become more invisible, and frictionless. In response, mobile payments need to be less fragmented. Whereas in a typical, modern ecommerce checkout you might find, a normal payment gateway, PayPal, ApplePay, Amazon Pay, and so on, in the future this will likely be reduced to two or three major payment operating systems, accepted widely on and offline and simple to use for both buyers and sellers. Mobile wallets are also expected to be at the forefront of the ecommerce space, with 64% of consumers planning to use a mobile wallet in 2020, an increase of 46% from today [Accenture].
Trust in contactless bodes well for wearables
According to research by Mastercard, more than one quarter of UK shoppers are ready to make contactless payments using wearable devices. The payment company surveyed 50,747 consumers in nine European countries to ascertain interest in making contactless payments using smartwatches, rings and bracelets, and 26% of UK respondents said they were ready to do so. Paulo Battiston, EVP of digital payments and labs Europe at Mastercard, said Europeans have proved to be keen adopters of contactless payments. He states:
“Europe leads the world in contactless payments and its overwhelming success has created a demand for even greater convenience,”
Shoppers’ trust in contactless is now greater than ever, and it seems they are poised for the next stage of trying contactless through connected devices. Wearable devices are now highlighting the shortcomings of legacy, cumbersome payment types, particularly where convenience is concerned.