This year, the number of people using a third-party, touch-based system to make payments on their smart devices will increase 150 percent, according to Deloitte Global. That figure indicates a reach to some 50 million regular users. It seems consumers are quickly adapting to mobile payment systems in droves, but many companies have neglected to keep pace.
Starbucks and Disney, however, are leaders in the mobile payment market, and other retailers can and should take advantage of mobile-payment processors and technology to compete. But before your company jumps on the mobile payment bandwagon, make sure you know why your customers want mobile payments in the first place to better meet their needs and expectations.
Convenience and Ease
Like anything in business, customers primarily want ease and convenience when using mobile payments. At minimum, businesses should offer Apple Pay, the most-widely used payment processor on the market. For example, the iPhone 6 Plus is set up for mobile payments and makes on-the-go shopping a breeze for consumers. However, there are still plenty of other options, like Samsung Pay for Android users. Not sure where to start? If you have an email list for your customer base, poll them on which option they would use most.
Mobile payments can also reduce some of your transaction time and overhead through the issuing of automatic e-receipts, allowing customers to make quick purchases and go about their day. Meanwhile, traditional payments often require waiting for cashiers to reload paper into the register, troubleshooting why receipts aren’t printing and tearing them off for signatures. Those extra minutes saved can help keep the lines moving in your business and keep all your customers happy, whether they’re using mobile payments or otherwise.
E-receipts are also ideal for portable businesses that set up shop at farmers markets, flea markets and after a client demonstration. There’s no need to input information to email receipts or write out details on archaic systems like tear-sheet carbon paper. Mobile payments can also help mobile businesses keep track of what they’re selling and what they need for their next stop.
Streamlined Loyalty Programs
You can also entice customer loyalty program sign-ups with the convenience of mobile payments. In 2013, at the infancy of mobile payments, Starbucks announced 11 percent of its sales volume derived from its mobile app. That figure equaled around four million mobile wallet payments every week, which ultimately helped drive Starbucks’ loyalty program. And at the end of 2015, Walgreens became the first retailer to integrate its loyalty program with Apple Pay.
Companies and small businesses can emulate Starbucks’ mobile payment success by attaching their loyalty program to their mobile-payment processor. Customers can make their purchase and never have to bother with punch cards and typing their email into your POS. Plus, those loyalty points should equal repeat business and more loyal customers.
Always Be Customer-Centric
It’s no secret that consumers want amazing, personalized customer service from their favorite brands. Even the smallest businesses can compete with the big players by carefully studying the data collected from their customers. Study the trends of what’s purchased at your business and what types of inventory you need to keep customers happy. You may even discover quirks in your customer base. Maybe a certain product, like your world-famous tacos, are purchased on a certain day or week of the month. But look beyond just meeting supply and demand. You can also offer products that complement your most popular inventory to drive more sales, all while offering better customer service.