Retailers are adapting rapidly to ensure their customers are safe and secure when shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one precaution stores have been notably slower to implement during COVID is contactless payments.
The lagging adoption of contactless payments is due in part to retailers’ reliance on “legacy point-of-sale systems” that don’t support the technology needed for implementation, as well as employees’ unfamiliarity with how contactless payments work. However, customers are increasingly demanding a safer shopping experience, and contactless payments are perceived as a great opportunity to reduce the risk of COVID-19 while shopping in-store.
Modern cloud-based POS systems offer a simple yet comprehensive solution for customers requesting contactless payment options through the support of mobile wallets and other contactless technologies. Below, we discuss the best implementation practices for retailers to follow when planning to offer their customers contactless payments.
Communicate the Benefits and Importance of Contactless Payments to Shopper Safety
Retailers understand that the safety of their customers is paramount, especially during COVID. Contactless payments are an integral part of safe business practices for operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, and retailers should clearly communicate this to customers. Retailers should encourage customers to take advantage of contactless payments to reduce their risk of infection, and explain the ease in which payments can be made using credit cards, phones, and smart watches.
In addition to communicating the benefits of contactless payments, retailers should also be:
- Following all guidelines of local officials relating to social distancing, facemasks, and other requirements.
- Making it easy for customers to receive products via delivery or curbside pickup.
- Having a branded website that allows customers to shop and order products online.
- Keeping in touch with their customers via a variety of communication methods to inform them about the steps their businesses have taken to protect their health while shopping.
Implement POS Portable Kiosks and Online Ordering
Success in the retail business requires being able to adapt to changing conditions. Two technologies that help retailers adjust to doing business under COVID-19 restrictions are POS portable kiosks and online ordering.
Online ordering and portable self-service kiosks work together to give customers more shopping options, giving them the confidence to shop safely. The online and real-world retail experiences were merging prior to COVID-19 to create omnichannel/unified commerce. Offering customers self-ordering and self-checkout via tablet kiosk, website, or mobile app allows retailers to streamline the purchasing experience, giving customers more control and allowing retailers to satisfy customers’ increasingly complex needs.
Most people think of a self-service kiosk as a big, self-standing unit with a large touchscreen display. While these devices remain popular in many fast-food restaurants, many retailers are receiving a positive customer response to tablet-based customer-facing kiosks with built-in support for contactless payments. Mounted iPads and other small-footprint tablets take up less space and are aesthetically pleasing in retail environments.
From the customer’s perspective, tablet-based kiosks’ simple interfaces make them easy for people without a lot of technical experience to use. The devices can be situated (and resituated as needed) in areas that are convenient for customers and retailers, such as vestibules, inside the store’s entrance, or even outdoors. This helps promote social distancing while keeping foot traffic moving smoothly throughout the shop.
Tablet-based kiosks that support contactless payments can be stored securely when they’re not in use, but in the era of COVID-19, retailers must be vigilant in keeping the devices’ touchscreens sanitized between uses.
Post-COVID: How Contactless Payments and Other Trends Will Reshape Retail
The post-COVID retail industry will eventually be stronger than it was in the pre-COVID era, but it will also look much different to customers and store owners alike. Post-COVID, contactless payment options will continue to proliferate as one of the seven POS trends that are part of retail’s reinvention in 2021 and beyond.
Looking towards the future, you can expect the following:
- Cash transactions will be far less common as part of the effort to minimize physical contact with customers via the exchange of bills and coins.
- POS systems will make it fast and simple to complete sales at a safe distance by supporting contactless, cardless, mobile, and smartphone payments.
- Self-service multimedia displays will enhance the shopping experience and give customers more control over the process.
- Personalized shopping will become automated as customer accounts are tied to cloud-based inventory and sales histories to offer individualized promotions.
- Modern POS systems will continue to unite the online and brick-and-mortar shopping environments, allowing retailers to present a unified brand message to customers.
- Retail employees will be more productive as more mundane tasks are automated, which lets employees focus their efforts on meeting the needs of customers.
- Sales and inventory tracking and reporting will continue to become simpler and more powerful as all of a retailer’s business processes are integrated via the POS network.
- Data analysis will become more accessible to retailers and more important to their success in the face of rising competition and other challenges.
Despite the tremendous uncertainty of the current retail environment, there are steps stores of all types and sizes can take to prepare for the new normal to come. One thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of anticipating and meeting the needs of customers.
Increasingly—largely in part due to the uncertain climate—customers want to feel like they are in charge of the shopping process, including being able to choose their preferred payment method. The rise in the use of contactless payment methods predates COVID-19, but now contactless payments have transitioned from a trend to a phenomenon, offering retailers a glimmer of hope for better days ahead.
In a period of change, talech has a number of POS solutions that can help your business adjust operations smoothly. From reaching new audiences to engaging with your existing customers more often, we give you the tools to adapt quickly and with confidence. Get your free personalized demo to see how you can benefit from talech POS.