Cash-free payments: “pace of change is growing”
Published 25 September 2018 | Michael Hocking
Why is in-store innovation still important in the age of mobile and online retail?
Consumers want to shop in high street stores, but they expect, in fact they demand, a similar level of service offered online. Thankfully in-store innovation has achieved the means for customers to have product information delivered directly to their mobiles, simply from looking at a product. And, the same facilities to make a payment, as found on any website, allowing a customer to pay anywhere in the shop, no need to queue. These advances if adopted with keener pricing could well turn the tide on the growth of online.
What’s the most important emerging tech innovation in retail?
Curiously it is neither one thing nor is it a piece of hardware. The most important innovation driven by technology is the convergence of channels into a unified voice, whereby a consumer receives the same information and the same level of service and price whether they are buying online via a retailer’s website, a third-party app such as jisp, in a marketplace or in the high street. The success of which will be where buying a product is achieved at or from any location that is the most convenient to the consumer.
Are UK shoppers demanding a cashless experience?
Yes, and the pace of change is growing. Handling and storing cash on one’s person is inconvenient and rapidly becoming out dated. Since handbags and wallets are no longer an everyday accessory, replaced by the mobile and its ability to perform multiple tasks, including of course payment, we are moving inexorably towards the point where cash will be excluded as a form of tender accepted by stores. Too expensive to handle, always a security concern and too inconvenient to move and bank it will be squeezed out. For shoppers the benefits of a cashless experience besides a positive environmental impact of using less paper (in receipts and bank notes) include the registering of all purchase electronically.
What will UK retail look like in ten years’ time?
How we shop, visiting stores, selecting products to get a sense of their appropriateness for the purpose in-hand will in most part remain unchanged. We like to be physical, to touch, feel, taste and or smell as required. What will develop, becoming more common in stores, is information exchange and how this is merged with every aspect of our connection with technology as it supports our lives, our choices and lifestyle.
The most noticeable change will be absence of cash to make a purchase which will have all but disappeared. In many stores shoppers will have the ability to take items, leaving the store with payment taken automatically. Not necessarily an Amazon Go experience but one which frees the customer from having to dedicate time to paying – finding a pay desk, queuing, emptying baskets for scanning and bagging. Old school, vintage ways which the new and upcoming generation will avoid at all cost.
For the older shopper, interestingly this includes millennials who 10 years on will be parents, they could well become the first adult generation, to have adopted the ubiquitous mobile, to transition from feeling uncomfortable in walking out of a store without inspection, happy in the knowledge that the goods they took were ‘seen’ and acknowledged with payment made to the retailer.
Credit: Payment Eye