From prepaid to contactless, the customer is always right

Nicole Olbe, Managing Director, Payment Partnerships at Barclaycard

Today’s consumers now expect to pay in whatever way they choose, whether this be by card, cash, mobile or contactless. For retailers, the ability to meet this demand for a frictionless payment experience can seem challenging to implement but it can also offer real business benefits.

Never miss out

It’s a simple premise: if you accept multiple payment types then you’ll improve the payment experience of your customers and miss out on fewer sales. Recent research conducted by Barclaycard supports this premise, with retailers who introduced new checkout options in-store increasing sales by 58 per cent.

Going a step further, if you offer alternative payment methods – payments made using something other than a credit card like digital wallets, bank transfers, prepaid cards etc. – you can take advantage of visiting tourists and cross-border customers who don’t favour the debit and credit card methods popular in the UK.

However, the integration of alternative payment methods can seem like a complicated business. On-boarding different options individually requires continual tweaks and system updates, which can quickly become unwieldy, so it’s best to look for a provider who can set you up with a single point of integration.

Streamline business operations

With technology now able to help retailers set up a one-stop-shop for all payments needs, the next step is to bring all your business’ operations together. To give an example, a restaurant business could integrate its payment processes with its seating and food ordering systems as well as its staff rota.

By combining different work-streams into a central platform, merchants can offer seamless end-to-end customer journeys, improving their customer experience and boosting revenue. An added benefit is that the resource that would have gone into managing these different processes can go towards further improving their business. For example, they can upskill staff on anti-fraud cyber security measures and prepare for upcoming regulation such as Strong Customer Authentication.

It’s also important that retailers stay on top of customer preferences when it comes to new payment technologies. For example, we’re expecting to see a continued rise in the use of biometrics in payments, as consumers become more willing to provide a fingerprint or eye scan as verification. While it’s important not to consider the use of biometrics as a ‘silver bullet’ when it comes to customer authentication, having more time and resource to investigate the potential benefits on offer could only help.

A way forward

It’s clear that payments – specifically the ability to pay in a way that suits – is a crucial part of the customer experience. But more than this, the ability to offer and integrate multiple payment methods can help retailers to boost revenue, streamline their operations and put more resource to improving their offering. Retailers that recognise the opportunities on offer will surely thrive.

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