Your Payment Strategy is Your New Loyalty Strategy
Over the past year and in the midst of a resurgence of new COVID-19 cases, it’s no surprise that contactless payments and checkout experiences have gained traction among shoppers.
In the recent Inmar Intelligence Contactless Payment Survey, we measured the breadth of this changing consumer preference and analyzed the impact of new shopper behaviors in order to best guide merchants on how they can better serve their customers during a critical point of the shopper journey: checkout.
Throughout this current crisis, our research has found shoppers will change retailers in order to feel safe throughout the buying experience, including gravitating towards those that offer contactless payment options.
Given this link, retailers need to consider how their overall payment strategy may be attracting — or driving away — shoppers. Providing the contactless payment options shoppers want right now is critical to serving them effectively.
Contactless Checkout Experiences Are Expected
In our survey, 85 percent of respondents reported that it's important for a retailer to offer a contactless checkout experience. Failure to provide contactless checkout options can directly harm a merchant’s efforts to maintain customer loyalty and acquire new shoppers. Our survey found that 28 percent of shoppers will avoid a retailer that doesn't offer contactless payment options, demonstrating the negative impact ignoring this demand can have on one’s business.
Payment Options Should Be Promoted
Our survey found that 53 percent of respondents used a mobile cashless payment option for the first time since the start of the pandemic. That’s the kind of adoption rate we saw with grocery e-commerce, and we all know where that channel is now.
However, there are those consumers still reluctant to try this touchless payment method, with much of this hesitancy prescribed to a lack of familiarity with its ease and security. Therefore, sellers should put their payment options front and center and ensure there’s easily accessible information, instruction and support for purchasers using a new payment method. A successful first effort on the consumer's part will be critical to their return and their perceptions of the merchant.
Aggregating Data is Key
The industry has long overlooked the potential value of using one’s payment strategy as a revenue driver. This has been a challenge due in part to fragmented payment data streams and regulatory complexities. To unlock the potential, retailers must combine payment data from across all sales channels and store the collected information within a single data hub. Utilizing “a single source of truth” provides the foundation for segmenting shoppers based on their payment preferences, then digitally delivering targeted content to them.
Linking to Loyalty is the End Game
Retailers have an incredible opportunity to elevate their shopper engagement by linking contactless payments with shoppers’ loyalty club profiles. With this connection established, merchants can target these shoppers with digital content that’s immediately relevant and informed by documented purchase behavior — without requiring shoppers to present a loyalty card or provide a cell phone number.
In-store and online, shoppers are looking for contactless payment options. Those retailers that are able to manage the disruption through successful deployment of preferred and (now) required payment options will gain an immediate competitive advantage.
By providing consumers with the contactless checkout and payment options they’re seeking, aggregating and synthesizing the purchase data generated, and then using that information to digitally engage their customers is how merchants will build loyalty and protect sales during this uncertain time.
John Helmle is executive vice president and president, FinTech Solutions, Inmar Intelligence, a leading data and tech-enabled services company.