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Retail payments: Making the seconds count

It’s a common scene: a customer waiting patiently for a card transaction to be processed. In most cases it only takes a few seconds, but it can certainly seem longer. While some staff may try and fill this time with chatter, merchants should be working harder to make these moments count to actively build a relationship and engender customer loyalty.

One way to optimise the customer’s time in the store may lie in minimising the time taken to authorize the payment. As a result, NFC and similar technologies may spring to mind as a solution. However, while faster retail payments may be desirable for sectors such as fast food, the real issue across most retailers is the wasted opportunity to leverage this time with customers and create a positive and lasting impression.

The retail experience has evolved significantly in the last few decades, with many retailers using sophisticated marketing techniques to entice us into their stores. However, the last few seconds of the retail experience have remained relatively untouched. Instead the focus remains on the act of payment rather than encouraging us to start planning our next visit to the store. Receiving a targeted reward or message thanking us and encouraging us to visit again soon can be a far more positive end to the shopping trip than simply finishing with the payment.

But the true potential lies beyond simply being rewarded. The last few seconds of the retail experience provide the perfect opportunity to elicit feedback regarding customer satisfaction. Retailers could also use this time to encourage consumers to sign up to receive newsletters and offers, or even share the shopping experience by recommending the retailer to Facebook friends.

In the same way that the Smartphone has become less about talking and more about the apps, the traditional POS terminal can be easily enriched and transformed to provide a more meaningful and gratifying experience for both the customer and the retailer. Retailers should act now to make those seconds count.

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This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Payments strategies 2015-2020-2030

Payments systems visions, strategies, trends, pilots, forecasting, and planning for the short-, medium-, and far-term.


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