In the retail sector, the primary focus is on customer satisfaction, optimizing their shopping experience, and constantly seeking solutions to simplify the process. In this context, the payment experience takes on an increasingly important role; therefore, it is recommended to offer consumers a wide variety of options to ensure the successful completion of their final action: “product acquisition.”
Why is it crucial to stay up to date with the payment options offered by a retailer? The answer lies in the growing demand from customers who want the latest purchasing methods to be available across all product acquisition channels. Technological advances and increasing internet connectivity are driving more people to opt for digital purchases from mobile devices or computers. This is due to the efficiency in time savings, convenience, and accessibility that these alternatives provide.
Why is it crucial to diversify payment options in the retail sector?
The evolution of payment methods in the retail sector has become a fundamental piece for improving the customer experience. Diversifying payment options has become a priority since, according to a survey by Checkout.com, 56% of consumers choose to abandon their purchases if they cannot use their preferred payment method.
Although traditional methods such as credit cards and cash will remain relevant, electronic payment methods will gain more prominence in the coming years. According to the “Future of Payments” report, between 2020 and 2025, electronic transactions are expected to increase by 82%, going from one trillion to 1.8 trillion transactions. And between 2025 and 2030, this increase will continue at 61%.
A geographical analysis reveals that the Asia-Pacific region will lead this growth with an expected increase of 109% by 2025 and 76% between 2025 and 2030. It is followed by Africa, with a 78% increase in transactions by 2025 and an additional 64% by 2030, and Europe, with a 64% increase by 2025 and 39% more transactions by 2030.
Now, let’s consider the perspectives of key players in the industry and their assessment of the importance of these payment alternatives. According to the Adyen 2022 Retail Report, based on the opinions of 2,000 consumers and 500 surveyed companies between 2021 and February 2022, it emphasizes that the digitization of payments not only drives the development of retail but also strengthens customer retention in the online sector. These opinions make it clear that the implementation of these technologies is essential for the continuity of retail businesses in the competitive current landscape.
The following payment methods are anticipated to be trending in the coming years and are essential to implement to remain relevant in the retail sector:
One of the preferred payment methods for Generation Z today is through mobile devices, according to data from “Inforetail Magazine.” This preference is due to approximately 37% of this generation no longer using physical cards and trusting more in the convenience and security offered by linking their credit or debit cards to their mobile devices. In fact, based on projections from “Kevin,” it is anticipated that these payment methods will represent approximately 75% of all digital commercial transactions by 2025.
Mobile payment methods are categorized into three main segments: in-person payments, online payments, and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, which involve fund transfers between users.
Implementing mobile payments in retail offers significant advantages, such as cost reduction by eliminating excessive equipment and paper, improved cash flow through instant transfers, easy integration of loyalty programs, access to valuable customer information, and greater convenience for customers by allowing wallet-less payments.
Given the relevance of mobile payment, it is essential to highlight that there are various widely used modalities today. The main ones are:
Near Field Communication (NFC): This wireless communication technology allows rapid data exchange without the need for prior pairing, working effectively within a range of approximately 20 centimeters. NFC has had a significant impact on the retail industry and has gained more adoption in countries like the UK, Spain, and the United States. Its ability to simplify commercial transactions is notable, as it allows users to make purchases by simply bringing a compatible mobile device close to a point-of-sale terminal, eliminating the need to use cash in various situations, such as vending machines.
Soundwave Payments: This technology allows users to make digital payments without the need for Wi-Fi connectivity. It involves emitting sound waves from a terminal to a mobile device, which then transmits the payment transaction data.
Digital Wallets: These are applications or online services that allow users to securely store financial information, such as credit and debit cards, for electronic transactions. They work by linking bank accounts or cards to the digital wallet, and users can then make payments online or in physical stores using their mobile devices, QR codes, or even NFC technology to securely transmit payment information.
Digital wallets have widespread adoption in various countries, with China leading the way, where they account for over 70% of e-commerce spending and 48% of mobile payments. Brazil also stands out, with services like PicPay and NuBank having millions of users. Their significance is undeniable, as their adoption is experiencing exponential growth. According to the 2020 “Global Payments” report in Latin America, the use of these digital wallets increased by 43.5%, in stark contrast to the 35% decrease in cash usage. It is projected that these will become the primary payment method in regional e-commerce by 2024, representing approximately 31% of all transactions.
QR Code Payments: In China, companies like Alipay and WeChat Pay lead with over 50% of payment transactions. In the Americas, Apple and Google incorporate QR payment options, and in Mexico, 64% of mobile internet users use them.
QR code payments, widely recognized in part thanks to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, remain a valuable tool for streamlining purchasing operations in the retail sector. In physical stores, they function as Point of Sale (POS) terminals, allowing customers to quickly and easily scan QR codes with their mobile devices to make payments. They are known for their speed, simplicity, absence of contractual commitments or commissions with financial institutions, and flexibility to accept payments in multiple locations and moments.
Payment Links: Payment links are a form of electronic transaction that involves sending a hyperlink through channels such as email, text messages, or messaging apps. By clicking on the link, the user is directed to a specialized payment page where they provide credit or debit card information to complete the purchase.
Online Banking: Online banking is a widely adopted service that allows users to perform online financial operations such as peer-to-peer transfers and bill payments. Each bank establishes its authentication methods to ensure transaction security.
Digital payments are growing and will be adopted in the retail sector, but there are other important methods to consider:
Cryptocurrency, while controversial, is of great relevance to the sector as it will transform business interactions with customers in the coming years. Retailers are adopting this medium due to its multiple benefits, including increased payment security through blockchain technology, which reduces cyber threats and data theft; lower transfer fees compared to traditional financial institutions, leading to significant cost savings; the ability to meet the growing demand from customers who want to use digital currencies; and the possibility of attracting a more diverse and broad audience by offering cryptocurrency payment options, in a context where more people are getting involved in cryptocurrency investment.
Some of the leading countries in cryptocurrency adoption include Japan, the United States, and South Korea.
Buy Online, Pick-Up In Store (BOPIS)
BOPIS functionality in the retail sector presents two alternatives: exclusive acquisition, which involves collecting orders at the customer’s address and subsequently returning them to the store, and acquisition along with delivery, which allows customers to pick up a product and then have it delivered to a different location. While this modality has already arrived in Mexico, it is in its early stages of implementation, but its acceptance is expected to continue increasing in the near future.
This feature is highly convenient for people with busy schedules, as it allows them to select the products they need and pick them up at the store without wasting time searching or interacting with many people. Furthermore, for stores, this entails significant benefits, especially during peak seasons, as it streamlines the return process, improving the customer experience.
Checkout-free stores in the retail sector incorporate advanced technology to eliminate the need for a cash register during the purchase process. The United States has led the implementation of these stores, where customers are automatically associated with their account by scanning their phone when entering and make payments when leaving. The operation of these stores is based on ceiling cameras, shelf weight sensors, and depth detection technology to monitor customer activity and product movement.
Transactional chatbots are artificial intelligence applications designed to facilitate and expedite the product or service payment process through automated conversations with customers. These can be integrated into e-commerce platforms, mobile apps, or even voice assistants to provide a more efficient and convenient shopping experience.
Some of the functions that these chatbots can perform include payment processing, transaction-related queries resolution, product recommendations and offers, returns and refunds management, security verification, and data collection.
Facial Recognition Payments
Facial recognition payments represent an advanced and highly efficient solution that revolutionizes the retail purchase process. This innovative payment system allows users to carry out transactions without the need to carry physical devices or cards; simply by looking at a tablet, the payment is authorized through facial recognition. This methodology ensures a high level of security, requiring identity verification before completing the transaction, and even in cases of doubt, additional voice verification can be requested.
Undoubtedly, this payment method will gain significant popularity in the coming years, if it is not already doing so. In fact, to reinforce this message, Visa, one of the sponsors of the 2022 Qatar World Cup, launched a pilot program for facial recognition-based payments during the tournament. This was part of a series of initiatives by the company to introduce new technologies in the context of this globally significant event.
Between 2020 and 2021, contactless cards experienced a significant increase in popularity in Latin America, being the preferred choice of over 80% of users.
These cards have deeply embedded themselves in the culture of digital transactions and are presented as an extremely efficient payment solution. Their ability to interact with commercial terminals without the need to swipe them makes them the preferred option for those who want to avoid handling cash.
Digital payments in Latin America face significant challenges in their quest for complete transformation. Legacy systems, with their outdated infrastructure and lack of adaptation to modern e-commerce, represent a crucial challenge. Furthermore, the predominance of traditional acquirers, which still control 80% of the market, is another major challenge. Despite these obstacles, the constant evolution of digital payments in the region promises a revolution in the retail sector in the future.
In conclusion, it is essential to recognize that these constantly evolving trends exemplify the dynamism of the sector. An illustrative example is that of Google, which is currently in the process of introducing changes to its Wallet service in Spain. It is developing a mobile payment application that simplifies various processes and stands out for several outstanding features. Among these innovations is the incorporation of QR codes for payments, streamlining this function in areas where there is a high number of users with mobile devices lacking NFC technology. This example underscores the importance for brands and companies to stay up to date with the latest implementations in this field to gain a significant competitive advantage over their rivals.
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