Embracing mobile payments – top tips for retailers

At present, around a quarter of consumers claim they are likely to make payment using their mobile device. This puts retailers in a slightly awkward position: should they blaze the trail and pioneer a payment method that few people are using, risking low return on investment? Or should they wait until the market has matured, risking loss of business to rivals who rode the edge of the mobile payments curve?

If the time to strike is now, then retailers require a strategy for influencing tech-savvy consumers that mobile payments are the future. Here are the four principles we recommend underlie that strategy:

Make customer experiences more mobile

The mobile mindshift may have started, but there is still a significant transition to be made before paying by phone is a natural process. Retailers can start changing perceptions by making mobile part of the store journey – embracing digital couponing, for example. This gets shoppers accustomed to using smartphones in the bricks and mortar environment.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it

Retailers who are experimenting with mobile payments often fall into the same trap as many of those who have contactless-capable card machines; they’ve installed the technology, but aren’t promoting the service or its benefits to their customers.

These organisations could take a leaf out of restaurant chain Wahaca’s books, which has seen strong uptake of its Wahaca QuickPay app. The main reason behind this is marketing: it’s on their website and their menus – they’ve even created a #10FreeMinutes hashtag on social media to promote its time-saving benefits.

Boost network security

One of the greatest dictators in the adoption of new technology is safety. If consumers perceive something to be insecure, they won’t embrace it.
However, a robust, secure network can be a strong marketing point for retailers in their journey to educate shoppers about the plus points of using mobile payments. Therefore it’s important to work with an experienced payments network provider to meet the latest PCI SSC standards, so that more payment channels doesn’t equal greater fraud risk.

Similarly, retail businesses should think about what the solution might require in terms of connectivity in store. Some mobile solutions have a heavy reliance upon Wi-Fi or assume 4G connectivity to access external data, making it essential for stores to have public Wi-Fi and good mobile data network access.

Show early adopters the benefits

While the majority of consumers will be apprehensive, there will be a segment keen to experiment with new technologies. The importance here is to make sure their use of mobile payments drives value.

For example, retailers can use customer data to tailor promotions, with exclusive deals ‘pinged’ to shoppers’ mobile phones when they enter a store. There can also be rewards for using mobile payments, such as double loyalty points or express queue service.

In addition to strengthening shopper relationships, incentivising the process makes these early adopters more inclined to share the experiences, in turn influencing those who may be less sure.

And finally…

Whilst recent data breaches surrounding Apple Pay haven’t necessarily helped the fledgling reputation of mobile payments it’s unlikely that demand for easy, quick, secure ways to pay will decrease. For retailers to thrive in the mobile payments world, it’s important to secure the data in the same way as they would a traditional card.

Find out about Vodat International’s managed payments services, which help leading retailers stay secure and PCI DSS compliant.

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