Mobile Payments Are Redefining the Checkout Process
The future of payments is being shaped by Silicon Valley. Apple Pay has taken mobile payments mainstream; Visa, MasterCard and 2,500 banks have embraced it. Published reports suggest that 66 percent of contactless Visa and MasterCard payments conducted by the end of January 2015 were made through Apple Pay. Merchant fees, traffic activity, fraud management and various platform performance measures are on a collision course.
As mobile payments go mainstream, could they be the solution to the credit card data breaches that have plagued retailers in recent years? Target estimated that costs associated with its 2013 data breach were about $160 million, and associated bank costs were over $200 million. These numbers don’t even take into account the value of fraudulent transactions (the bank’s problem) or lost sales as a result of lost consumer confidence (the retailer's problem). Target’s transaction volumes fell about 5 percent and revenue declined 5.5 percent, all attributable to the breach. What price are retailers willing to pay for broken trust?
Apple Pay is just the beginning. Google Wallet, PayPal and MCX’s CurrentC are also gaining currency (pun intended). The tokenization they offer could increase both convenience and security.
Mobile Isn't Just for Shoppers Anymore
While much has been made of the impact of mobility on the shopper’s experience, it also promises to fundamentally alter the employee experience for the in-store associate.
Imagine the power that sales associates could have at their fingertips – literally – with a customer solutions center housed on a tablet, smartphone or watch. By equipping associates in this way, retailers can provide an even richer and more satisfying customer experience without the clunkiness of less-advanced mobile strategies.
Imagine what this might look like. A shopper enters the store and seeks out a sales associate for assistance. The associate comes to her aid armed with a mobile command center. Through a seamless exchange between respective mobile devices, he's quickly able to pull up the customer’s personal profile and view a quick snapshot of her self-professed likes and dislikes, recent purchases, and the remaining value on a current gift card from a friend. This allows the store associate to offer more targeted and tailored recommendations and support.