Kagan: With Covid 19, retail customers want contactless payment tech
In recent years I have written about contactless payment technology. This is how we can use our smartphones and apps to do business safely. How this creates a safer and healthier way to shop. How this saves us from touching germ filled checkout counter credit card swiping technology. That being said, why do only a very few retailers do this so far?
Today very few stores actually have contactless payment technology. I think the reason is there are two, separate areas. One is convenience. Two is being sanitary.
All retailers are moving in the direction of convenience. However, only a very few are focused on a germ-free experience. Sure, you can swipe your credit card or waive your iPhone or Android using Apple Pay and Android Pay. But you still must touch the screen or buttons or pen to complete the transaction.
Retailers must focus on both convenience and touchless payment technology
This is a wakeup call. That is the real problem. Retailers must focus on both convenience and touchless payment technology because of the coronavirus or COVID-19. Every retailer must implement touchless payment technology.
Retailers must focus on health and safety, not just convenience.
A few retailers partially use it, but when the customers have to touch a keypad, screen or pen at any point, it defeats the whole purpose. It shows they are only focusing on convenience, not health and safety.
First, retailers must understand what their customers really want. Customers want convenience, but they also want to protect themselves and remain healthy.
Retail customers want contactless payment technology because of coronavirus
Suddenly, this issue is front and center for every retailer and every customer. Today, Cornonavirus or COVID-19 gives us even more reason to move toward touchless technology to keep all of us safe and healthy.
We have the technology. Now we must convince the retail industry to use it, and quickly.
Think about your day and how often you use your credit card to shop. The mobile payment industry like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay are on nearly every smartphone. This means, as a customer we already have the tools we need.
This should be a huge growth opportunity for every touchless payment technology company.
Retailers must understand customers want protection from Covid-19
What must happen next is the retail industry must get onboard, quickly.
Stores like Walmart, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joes and Starbucks make it easy. You can use your smartphone or credit card, not touch anything else, and you are good to go.
Other stores use this technology as well. However, they require you to touch a screen or button to complete the sale. That’s the problem. They have improved convenience but are not touchless.
This falls short for every retailer.
Retailers should focus on convenience and health due to coronavirus
Grocery stores like Publix and Kroger are getting better, but they are not there yet. You must still touch the screen. In fact, they don’t even use mobile pay technology.
Stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods are good, but they are heading in the wrong direction. They used to be more sanitary than they are today.
They implemented the mobile pay feature at their cash register, which is a good thing for convenience. However, now you cannot complete a sale without touching the screen and choosing to get your receipt or send it to email.
It’s like they are only thinking of convenience, giving no thought to health and safety.
If they would simply re-think their systems so the customer does not have to touch the keypad, screen or pen, it would be perfect.
Retail customers want contactless payment technology
The problem is most retailers don’t seem to understand what their customers want. They want to be safe and stay healthy. They want convenience. They want contactless payment technology. That means they don’t want to touch a keypad or screen or pen.
So, every retailer must solve this growing area of customer concern or they will lose out on sales and business because going forward, customers will be much more careful than ever before.
As COVID-19 rapidly and easily spreads, it is in everyone’s best interest to protect ourselves. Customers want to stay healthy. Companies don’t want to lose customers by making them sick.
That means we have more incentive than ever before to get smart going forward.
There will likely be increasing protections. People will not only carry hand sanitizer, but many will start to wear disposable medical grade gloves the same way they wear masks.
Electronic Transactions Association guide to contactless payments
The Electronic Transactions Association or ETA is a global industry group for the payments technology industry. They have a new guide to help both customers and merchants identify and use secure contactless payments.
This comes after the World Health Organization or WHO recently recommended the use of contactless payments to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
I have been writing about this growing problem for years. Now, suddenly with the coronavirus rapidly spreading around the globe, we need it.
Remember, it’s not just about making the transaction quick and easy, it’s also about making it safe and healthy. Especially with the coronavirus in our midst.
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