With Amazon testing the waters, it might be time for your store to consider mobile payments

Pay On The Go

Pay on the GO

A new year deserves new ways of thinking about your business — starting from how to get more customers into your furniture store all the way to paying for the new furniture they just bought. About the latter: Have you considered mobile payments for your store yet?

Maybe you should.

Mobile payments, one for the hip and trendy, are now mainstream and here to stay. In fact, many retail experts are saying mobile payments will one day dethrone traditional wallets. This isn’t a fad, it’s the future — and it’s closer than you think.

Look no further than the biggest retailer of all. Amazon has found a new target to tackle in its continued pursuit to dominate retail: in-store mobile payments.

The online giant has been talking with brick-and-mortar retailers to persuade them to adopt Amazon Pay, the e-commerce giant’s online-payment option, according to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal. The service has so far been touted as a payment option similar to PayPal for shopping online, but the Journal reported that Amazon is looking to expand Amazon Pay capabilities.

Amazon reportedly has its eye on restaurants, gas stations and other stores that wouldn’t consider Amazon a direct competitor. That means furniture is safe for now because Amazon sells two private label lines of furniture, Rivet and Stone & Beam. But Amazon’s foray into mobile payments speaks to how pervasive those types of transactions have — and will — become.

According to Business Insider, three of every four financial transactions will be cashless by 2025. We suspect many of your furniture store’s purchases already mirror that figure, and the number might be even higher. But you can expect it to grow even more in the years to come. Your trusty wallet is close to extinction. Why?

In the past five years, consumers have seen mobile payments evolve from a niche service pioneered by Apple Retail, to a mainstream way of creating memorable, efficient customer experiences. It’s no surprise that mobile payments are being increasingly adopted by consumers and that independent businesses are capitalizing on its benefits as well.

Let’s define mobile payments

Any transaction initiated or received with a mobile device in return for a good or service is a mobile payment. Think of when you use ApplePay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay instead of whipping out your actual debit or credit card. Or when a sales clerk or waiter at a restaurant brings you a mobile payment processor instead of making you walk to the cash register to pay — that’s mobile payments in action.

Why are they becoming so popular?

As with most forms of new technology, the drive behind mobile payments can be traced to the adoption of smartphones. Ask yourself this question: When’s the last time you left home without your phone? Sure, you’ve accidentally left your phone behind, but when’s the last time you purposely left it on the kitchen counter before heading out to go shopping? Exactly.
Deloitte Global predicts that by the end of 2023, 90 percent of adults will have a smartphone that they interact with 65 times per day on average. Chances are good that not all those interactions will be Words with Friends. Many will be financial transactions for goods or services. Mobile payments capitalize on this “mobile madness” in a big way.

The same convenience and efficiency that consumers get from their smartphones they experience with mobile payments. They get to pay on the spot with zero hassle. No more fumbling around looking for cash, debit and credit cards. A quick and efficient shopping experience makes customers want to come back and helps retailers process more transactions, quicker.

Speedy and secure

Just like print money was disrupted by plastic cards with magnetic strips and passwords, Near Field Communication (NFC) will revolutionize mobile payments. NFC is a method of wireless data transfer that detects and enables technology close to one another to communicate. That’s why when you hold your smartphone wallet close to a mobile payment terminal, the transfer of value is communicated and processed.

Our smartphones typically use digit-based passwords, fingerprints and even facial recognition to protect sensitive data. Cards, cash and wallets can be stolen and cloned or lost, but it’s much more difficult to unlock and extract information from a smartphone with so many barriers to entry. Even if someone were to steal your phone, it’s possible to wipe your information remotely thanks to the cloud, making it nearly impossible to steal or clone your sensitive banking information.

Simply put, not only is paying with a smartphone and mobile terminal a faster process, it’s also safer both for merchants and customers. In an era when identity theft and fraud are becoming an all-too-regular part of retail, mobile payments couldn’t be arriving soon enough!

Mobile payments boost sales

Apple may have taken the world by storm with its unique retail experience, but an increasing volume of independent retailers and restaurateurs have adopted the very same mobile payment strategy. Why? Because 80 percent of retailers that implement a mobile POS find that it increases the sales in their stores.

How? For one, retailers can close sales immediately from anywhere on their sales floor. Secondly, they can use their mobile POS to pull up product information, inventory levels and photos while with the customer on the floor. Lastly, a mobile POS enables retailers to explore opening pop-up shops without needing an entirely new system. Thinking about a short-term lease on a vacant store on the other side of town? Just pack up your iPad and go to where your customers are instead of waiting for them to find you.

If you make your customers’ lives easier, you’ll make them happy. That’s why they’ve overwhelmingly accepted the adoption of mobile payments — which have more than doubled in recent years.

More and more consumers are using their smartphones to organize their lives, so integrating their wallet (just another thing to remember when they walk out the door in the morning) with something they keep on them all the time anyway is seen as a great solution. No more fumbling for cash or cards … just whip out your phone.

Consumers’ growing acceptance of smartphone wallets also means that independent businesses can safely adopt a mobile payment system of their own to speed up their store’s checkout. Because of the convenience they offer consumers, as well as how secure and fast they are, mobile payments are here to stay and will eventually dethrone traditional wallets. This isn’t a fad, it’s the future — and it’s closer than you think.

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