How Retailers Can Satisfy Consumers Craving Cryptocurrency
If you’ve seen the headlines recently, it’s clear that 2022 is likely to be another exceptional year for cryptocurrency — i.e., decentralized digital money. The entire cryptocurrency market skyrocketed from $100 billion at the beginning of 2020 to $3 trillion in 2021. In-store and online capabilities will allow consumers to seamlessly transform value between the digital and physical worlds.
Crypto’s use in modern society gives line of sight that the times will continue changing much faster than the early boom of the web.
A recent report shows 14 percent of American adults own cryptocurrency — approximately 21 million people. Also, more than 20 percent of American adults who don’t yet own cryptocurrency — more than 50 million people — are likely to buy it in the next year. But if you’re thinking this trend is specific to banks and credit unions, I challenge you to think again.
Since crypto continues piquing consumer interest, retailers — if they haven’t already — should follow suit and make strides towards accepting digital currency. Doing so will enable yet another contactless method to pay for goods and services, and possibly provide other businesses benefits, too, such as enhanced loyalty experiences and streamlined cross-border remittance.
Let’s explore the basics and benefits of incorporating cryptocurrency into your payments road map, and why 2022 should be the year you make the leap.
Accepting Bitcoin and Other Cryptos
Cryptocurrency adoption is growing because consumers can use it for quick payments, anonymity, investments or to circumvent banks’ transaction fees.
The adoption of Bitcoin, specifically, has been much faster than that of the internet, mobile phones and other virtual banking tools. Fidelity Digital Assets, as reported by Yahoo! Finance, claims Bitcoin will not be outdone by competing cryptocurrencies because it’s a cut above the rest — a “superior form of money.”
And while current adoption centers around financial services kiosks, retailers processing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency transactions in their self-checkouts and point-of-sale (POS) devices will enhance the customer experience. In particular, they’ll attract younger consumers who are more likely to own Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency.
Plenty of retailers have jumped on the bandwagon. Last year, Sheetz, a major Mid-Atlantic convenience store chain, became the first of its kind to accept digital currency. Doing so benefits Sheetz through increased loyalty, lower transaction fees than credit card companies charge, decreased fraud, and improved shopper convenience and choice.
Other retailers accepting Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies include Overstock, AT&T, Starbucks, AMC Theatres and Home Depot. With so much news surrounding the crypto craze, it’s no wonder retailers are more readily accepting it as a transaction method and expanding its capabilities within their stores. In fact, as stores increase their crypto touchpoints, they may draw new shoppers along the way by making it easier for them to buy and use crypto in person vs. online. And as more and more consumers choose crypto, these “nice to have” capabilities will become expectations that will only continue to grow in the near future.
Benefits of New Way to Transact Abound
By accepting a complete digital solution that enables retailers to buy and sell cryptocurrency, while accepting payments across their digital and physical channels, retailers benefit by enabling:
- Cross-border remittance: This fund-transfer transaction is gaining traction because it makes it easier to transfer money between accounts in different countries without having to deal with foreign exchange rates and additional fees.
- Instead of awarding customers with points that can only be used at one retailer, retailers could start to offer cryptocurrency rewards. Not only does this decrease the liability to the retailer of loyalty members carrying huge amounts of store-specific points, but it also frees customers to spend their points elsewhere at other businesses if they want.
- Another contactless option: Post-COVID consumers crave contactless transaction methods, and crypto gives them an innovative way to safely and securely pay for their purchases. Additionally, as more and more consumers own cryptocurrency, the retailer that can accommodate cryptocurrency payments will have a leg up on competitors that cannot.
Another Way to Bolster Customer Experience
More than 30 years ago — in the early 1990s — many consumers failed to see how the internet would change their lives. We wrote checks and never thought we would have the ability to pay our bills online. What was a text? Cell phones and email were novelties.
But fast-forward to modern day and the role crypto has established around the same line of thinking. It will clearly play a key role in the future of currency and is being adopted exponentially faster than we saw with the now critical internet.
As you look to expand your payments capabilities, be sure to tap a partner that’s at the forefront of the next frontier.
David Wilkinson is president and general manager for retail at NCR Corp., a leader in banking and commerce solutions, powering incredible experiences that make life easier.