Contactless payments transforming retail, brands adapt as consumer demand increase

Wednesday, Aug 12, 2020

Recent tech innovations have been a driving force in the retail industry. Contactless payment methods being one of them. This payment approach has seen plenty of consumer demand recently, especially when it comes to in-store shopping.

According to a survey from National Retail Federation and Forrester, 67% of retailer respondents accept some form of no-touch payment. And, 94% of retailers said they anticipate contactless payments to increase over the next 18 months.

The pandemic has created a new “normal” for retail shopping — one where shoppers want to remain as safe as possible, without having to touch pin pads at a checkout counter.

“While mobile payments and contactless cards have accounted for a minority of payments in the past, the pandemic has clearly driven consumers to change their behavior and retailers to accelerate their adoption of the technology,” said Leon Buck, NRF Vice President for Government Relations, Banking and Financial Services.

The pandemic has certainly sped up this payment option, among many other trends in technological advancements — and there’s no stopping it now. Various retailers have already adopted contactless or autonomous payment methods to meet consumer preferences and provide a safer checkout solution.

The following retailers are among the few that have recently launched programs or plan to introduce contactless technologies to their shoppers:

The Kroger Co. has launched a contactless payment pilot program across their QFC division located in Seattle. This method allows consumers to use their mobile phones and accepts a variety of platforms such as Google Pay and Apple Pay, as well as banking apps and contactless chip cards. Kroger’s team enabled this process in the beginning of the pandemic at 61 of their QFC stores to see how this checkout experience would work for their consumers before expanding.

CVS will become the first retailer to introduce a PayPal QR technology at checkouts in their 8,200 stores across the US. These technologies will be rolled out in the fourth quarter of 2020. Shoppers will be able to scan the QR code and complete in-person transactions using their PayPal or Venmo accounts, whether it’s from their balance or a linked payment card.

Walmart has been another retailer that has offered no contact services for payment since the beginning of the pandemic to protect their consumers. Similarly to CVS, Walmart shoppers will be able to scan a QR code that is synced with the Walmart Pay app so they can make a purchase right then and there without using self-checkout.

Amazon is known for advancements in technology and pushing the envelope for in-store inventions. Amazon Go stores allow customers to experience “Just Walk Out Shopping.” This method uses technologies to keep track of products taken off the shelves and puts them in a virtual cart. When customers are done shopping, they can just walk out of the store and their Amazon account will be billed for the merchandise.

Circle K
The convenience store recently announced a partnership with Standard Cognition, a startup using AI technologies allowing for an autonomous checkout experience. Their checkout system will be piloted in Circle K stores throughout Pheonix by early next year. If the pilot goes well, more retailers will be encouraged to adopt this AI-powered technology.

The multi-brand retailer recently developed and launched an app called Magic Wand. This in-house app lets consumers interact with every part of their store without having to touch a thing, including check out. The app gives the power in the customers hands, allowing them to decide the amount of social contact they want to have.

Each of these retailers provide a clear example that contactless payments are transforming and redefining retail for the foreseeable future. And now, it’s up to all retailers to provide this type of safe shopping experience for 2020 and beyond.

Source: Kroger Launches Contactless Pilot – Total Retail, CVS PayPal QR Codes – Global Newswire, Walmart Expands Contactless Options – Retail Dive, NRF and Forrester Survey, Autonomous Checkout Circle K – Forbes, Demand for Contactless Tech – Glossy, COVID-19 Boosts Contactless Payment
Photo Credit: COVID-19 Boosts Contactless Payment

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Article Topics: Brick and Mortar | Retail | Technology

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