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Cashless Retail

Cashless Retail

22/07/2015 10:00 by Sarah Bailey
Marketing Campaigns Manager

I’m a huge fan of anything that saves time and is easy to use – contactless payment is a perfect example of this. So the news of the Apple Pay UK launch last week was extremely exciting to me as a consumer, but I can imagine for a retailer, this is even better news! The way we shop has dramatically changed in the last 15 years, no longer is your shop on the high street your window to the world. Now it’s your website, your app, your social pages, your in-store Wi-Fi; your exposure has exponentially expanded and technology is at the heart of all of it.

As a consumer, I have endless choice and endless information, whether it be scores out of 10, reviews, feedback, descriptions, compliments and complaints on twitter - in fact if anything this mass of choice and information has just slowed down the buying process! In the 80’s – you used to book a holiday with an agent on their word that the hotel was top notch. It was only on the bus trip past all the other hotels that you found out you’d been completely done over! Now – you find a holiday online and spend hours reading reviews and weighing up your options before making any commitments, it can be a time consuming process.

Consumers are now purchase experts and retailers need to do all they can to make that research – purchase process as smooth and easy as possible. ApplePay will no doubt help achieve this at the till and also online. Ok so at the moment the limit is just £20 but this is looking to increase to £30 in September already and as adoption filters through, demand for further increases will no doubt follow.

As a business partner to retailers, I know that cashless and even card-less payments are high on their agenda right now.  The issue is that it’s an ever growing agenda for retailers; ecommerce, internet of things, big data, real-time supply management, same day deliveries, digital showrooming and loyalty programmes, false reviews… are just some of the challenges/opportunities grabbing retail headlines currently and that’s before we even get to payments. 

Of course there’s no text book way to take advantage of these technologies; tech moves too fast and every retailer has unique concerns and legacy systems.  In fact, at Eclipse we see many different approaches, from the complete overhaul to the small-step by slow-step upgrade.  The only ‘correct’ approach is one that fits the retailer’s infrastructure, brand and culture.  But if technical innovation isn’t traditionally a priority for your retail business, getting ‘left behind’ could be an issue.

Maybe incorporating Apple Pay into your processes could be the first step?  It certainly is an exciting step forward for the shopping experience and a number of big retailers are already on board; Marks and Spencer’s, Boots, Costa and Transport for London to name just a few.

The danger here is, if your technology doesn’t meet customer expectation in terms of what a modern experience should be, you could lose out to the competition. By embracing new tech, you’ll not only retain loyal customers, but win new ones too.   

Contactless payment and now Apple Pay is transforming the way consumers purchase products and I for one wouldn’t be surprised if we’re a cash and card-less nation by the time I retire!

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