For the most part, people are patient, but some experiences create frustration for virtually everyone. A customer transaction company Omnico Group found that most people are willing to wait just up to eight minutes in a checkout line before abandoning their cart. Time standing in line leads to reconsidering the purchase. If you think about holiday shopping or even a Saturday morning grocery line, you can imagine how many lonely carts there are and how many dollars are lost from items not purchased. According to Parcel Pending, that number is $38 billion.
One of the key benefits virtually every industry has seen as a result of the pandemic is the increased adoption of digital services and solutions to streamline processes and make businesses more efficient. We’ve certainly seen it within the retail industry as merchants looked to make new fulfilment options available to customers, like buy online pick up in-store (BOPIS) and curb side pick up options. And while these eCommerce-centric options provided peace of mind for consumers during the pandemic, new data from ChaseDesign shows that BOPIS purchases are declining compared to 2020 and 2021.
When you think about an ideal smart home, it probably includes smart appliances like a fridge or a stove, your thermostat, light bulbs, a sound system, security system, etc. And while having all these connected devices can certainly make managing your home easier, it’s likely that that most devices come from different service providers. This means the need for multiple apps to manage all of your services, which for anyone is less than ideal if you’re trying to do multiple tasks at once – like changing your lights, audio system and thermostat to turn on when you get home. Now imagine being able control all these systems from one app – wouldn’t that make your life a lot easier? You could make changes for multiple devices at once or even allow them to send data to each other to improve your experience.
ETA’s TRANSACT 2022 just wrapped up last week, and I’m still buzzing with excitement from all the great interactions and discussions. This was the first time since 2019 we had everyone in person for TRANSACT, and you could see the difference it made. You could feel the excitement as everyone convened for the first time in a while – it almost felt like catching up with old friends at a reunion.
While it may feel like an odd question to ask, the parallels between dating and retaining customers make a lot of sense. You’re trying to attract them with the hopes of building a long-term mutually beneficial relationship. And, just like in dating, it’s important to know the boundaries of the relationship and what’s appropriate. Recent data from the MARKINBLOG shows that the probability of selling to an existing customer is typically 60-70% while new prospects hover in the 5-20% range, highlighting the importance of building the existing relationships with your customer base. Additionally, it costs up to seven times the amount to acquire a new customer as it does to retain an existing one. Not only is retaining a customer more valuable than acquiring one, having happy customers can also help bridge the gap finding new ones.
Providing a quick and efficient checkout is paramount to closing out a positive overall customer experience. You can do everything right up until that point, but if there’s additional friction or frustration, it could leave a sour taste in a customer’s mouth, or worse cause them to abandon their purchase all together.
While all companies have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotel and lodging industry was hit particularly hard. And while the industry continues to rebound with more people traveling every day, it’s important to remember that consumers expectations have shifted significantly. To that end, Hospitality Technology’s Lodging Technology Study found that 52% of respondents reported that their guests increasingly prefer digital experiences over encounters with staff. This follows the trends we’re seeing in other industries as consumers continually are opting for more streamlined, associate-less merchant interactions. For example, buy online, pick up in-store in retail and mobile ordering for restaurants.
Whether we like it or not, the evolution and use of consumer technology continues to impact how consumers engage with brands and make purchases. Think about your smartphone, for example, who would have thought 15 years ago that we’d be using it to make both online and in-store purchases? While much of the technology consumers use every day was destined for the retail world eventually, the COVID-19 pandemic played a critical role in catalyzing the use of many technologies.
One thing that has come up in conversations a lot about lately is the convergence of the digital and physical worlds, especially when it comes to commerce. Whether it’s enabling buy online pick-up in store (BOPIS), accepting crypto, buy now pay later (BNPL) or even leveraging more data and analytics in-store, the use of digital services for in-person commerce is continuing to rise.
Building a positive restaurant guest experience relies on a lot of factors, with food quality and quick and friendly service certainly being the most important. With this in mind, restaurants need to take advantage of the technologies and solutions available to them that can help them streamline their business, which in turn will keep customers happy while also driving higher revenue. One solution that is already popular in Europe and many parts of Canada is Pay-at-the-Table (PATT).
With Apple’s recent announcement of Tap to Pay on iPhone, use of mobile devices to accept payment at the point of sale continues to gain traction. With that in mind, I thought it was important to discuss the differences between PIN on terminal, PIN on glass and PIN on mobile, as card authentication will continue to play a big role in how tap to pay on mobile devices will ultimately work.
If you needed evidence of the rise of cryptocurrency, you only have to look at the 2022 Super Bowl’s advertising. Of the many cryptocurrency-centric ads, Coinbase’s was so popular, it crashed its app within seconds. With crypto’s growing popularity, I’ve received a lot of questions on how it might impact retail, and in particular, the in-store payment experience.
It’s my favorite time of year – we’re down to the final game of the NFL season and it’s looking like it will be a great game. As a huge UGA fan, I’m of course rooting for Matt Stafford to lead the Rams to victory. As we gear up for the big game, I’ve also been thinking a lot about the fan experience in stadiums and event venues. While having a good view of the field is always important, the fan’s concession and pro shop experience is also critical.
In a lot of our recent blogs, we’ve talked a lot about the growing shift in customer expectations and the role that technology can play in managing them. One of the most interesting shifts for customers is the premium that is being put on convenience. For example, NRF’s recent Convenience and the Customer report found that over 90% of consumers are more likely to choose a retailer based on convenience, with 83% of consumers highlighting that convenience was a stronger factor than it was for them five years ago. The report found that this was due to people not wanting to dedicate as much energy or time to shopping to focus on other aspects of their life.
During the pandemic many merchants, especially SMBs, made ad hoc adjustments to provide a safer customer experience. Often this was done on their own, with some businesses even going as far as putting bags over their payment terminals or even attaching them to hockey sticks for effective social distancing. While we can certainly applaud their creativity, had they worked with their technology partner they would have been able to leverage more permanent solutions. This is also why it’s so important for independent software vendors (ISVs) and other technology providers to have more consistent communication with their merchant customers. Not only does it create better opportunities to generate additional revenue, but it also provides an opportunity to solidify the relationship with your customer.
While NRF 2022: Retail’s Big Show was very different this year due to COVID, it was still a show filled with meaningful conversations and strong display of innovation across the exhibit hall.
One thing that always excites me about NRF is that there are Ingenico solutions across the area. Whether in the dining and check-in facilities of the venue, my hotel or even on the train from Boston to NYC, it was great to see our solutions being used across a variety of use cases.
When it comes to securing your payment infrastructure, a balanced security approach is a fundamental best practice in the industry. Encryption, tokenization, firewalls for back-office systems and mobile device management (MDM) solutions all play a critical role in preventing data theft — but a purely technology-based strategy isn’t an end-all solution. Employees, from high-level executives to in-store associates, are an essential piece of your tiered security strategy.
As we close out 2021 and begin 2022, we see a retail landscape that’s very different than it was two years ago. The global COVID pandemic served as a catalyst for the evolution of how consumers prefer to shop. For example, Accenture predicts an increase of 169% in online purchases from new and low-frequency users. This is just one example of how consumers have pushed toward the convenience of digital services to fulfil their shopping needs.
The retail environment has changed significantly in the last two decades – from the race to opening more brick-and-mortar stores to the rise of eCommerce. Consumers have changed too – from expecting to pay with their wearable devices to being able to have merchandise delivered to their doorstep. Retail is constantly evolving and merchants are always looking at innovative in-store technology to bring more shoppers into the store and enhance their shopping experience.
If you’re like me, your shopping habits have changed over the course of the pandemic. Whether that means you now pay with contactless, buy online and pick up in store or just shop online more, most people have leaned into new ways to shop. One trend that is continuing to gain a lot of traction with consumers is Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL). With 7% of consumers planning to use BNPL during this holiday season, according to a recent survey. And while that might seem low now, its use is expected to rise over time.
Like most technological innovations, electronic cash registers (ECRs) have evolved. One evolution that has been gaining traction in the industry is cloud-based POS – also called a web-based POS system. These types of solutions leverage the cloud ecosystem to provide on-demand cash register and POS capabilities to merchants. They can be accessed via a web browser or a mobile application and provide all the functions and features needed for businesses to accept electronic payments and effectively run their day-to-day operations.
While legacy ECRs in the market work well for most businesses, cloud-based POS systems allow businesses to advance from a technological standpoint for a stronger customer experience.
As an ISV, you know that the restaurant business is extremely competitive. It is one of the key reasons why adopting new technology in this space is very slow. Restaurants need to work hard and establish their popularity in the community in addition to sustaining business on a day-to-day basis. This means that consumer-facing technology including payments often takes a backseat for restaurants. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed how restaurants approach this all together. At the peak of the health crisis, many restaurants scrambled to offer services such as online ordering, delivery via third-party apps and even accepting contactless payments to put their customers at ease. Since then, restaurants have adapted quickly and effectively to the new normal and are continuing to offer enhanced services to their customers.
The holiday season is upon us and many retailers are already beginning to offer consumers enticing deals and boost revenue. While in-store shopping has experienced a tumultuous time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, merchants are hoping to regain ground this season. According to the PwC 2021 Holiday Outlook survey, consumers are expected to spend an average of $1,447 this year on gifts, travel and entertainment which is 20% over last year when the pandemic grounded most holiday activities.
The banking industry in North America is undergoing a period of rapid changes in market share, competition, technology and consumer demands. Major banks regularly release new features to attract customers and retain current ones. To add to that, start-ups and new disruptive banking technologies are coming to the fore, making the space very competitive. Today, most banks are equipped with payment technology to handle basic functions of PIN authentication, PIN maintenance and e-signature, among others.
Imagine you are watching a basketball game at a sports stadium. During the break, you go to the concession stand to buy some snacks and beverages for your kids. You walk up to the counter, pick the stuff you need want and simply walk away without waiting in any lines – your payment is automatically deducted from your credit card! Examples of what I just described already exist with use cases from Amazon Go stores or the TD Garden concession store in Boston. Making payments frictionless is not some marketing gimmick, instead, it is about making payments easier and seamless for the customers; who doesn’t want to skip the long lines?!
Did you know that mechanical Point of sale (POS) systems have been around since at least 1879? Electronic POS systems were introduced in 1973 – which, depending on how old you are, doesn’t seem that long ago! The 1980s ushered in the digital age, which has brought us to an inflection point of exponential growth opportunities thanks to innovations in quantum computing, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and neuroscience. These developments promise to deliver more than business growth, they have the potential to yield dramatic leaps in human well-being.
Retail checkout is changing. As consumers across the globe get used to more flexible shopping experiences, retailers are adjusting their technology needs accordingly. Not too long ago, most stores only had fixed checkout lanes. Whether you were shopping for groceries, apparel, appliances, or computers, you could only pay for that merchandise at a fixed location within the store. While the point of decision for the consumer has always been the moment when they selected the merchandise and decided to purchase it, the transaction took place at a different location in the store. Retail experience needs to be reimagined for the new customer.
The world of cryptocurrency is constantly changing. From the wild swings in value to imaginative new use cases for the currency, the industry is moving at a faster rate than anyone could imagine. Since Bitcoin has been in existence, it has been used as the standard payment model in ransomware attacks all over the globe, but it has also evolved as an important means to transfer value that many technology companies have helped enable. One of the most recent examples comes from AMC and their announcement that they will start accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a means of payment for movie tickets and concessions by end of 2021.
“Begin with the end in mind” is keystone habit number two from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. For an ISV or merchant with large payment infrastructure, the chances are high that they will eventually need direct access to their fleet of payment terminals. Technical teams may be asked to update a newer EMV or alternative payment standard, schedule seasonal advertising, or track terminals for a P2PE Validated Solution. Without an effective plan in place to manage all terminals can result in inefficiencies for the business in many ways:
Over the years, the restaurant industry has seen many technological innovations that have helped them serve their customers better. For example, QR codes recently made a comeback as an effective and touchless way for diners to access the menu. In other situations, self-service kiosks and tabletop ordering with tablets have been instrumental in helping restaurants streamline their food ordering process and add more efficiencies for their business.
When the pandemic hit in early 2020, consumers were shopping online for essentials and nonessential items alike. According to a Deloitte report, as of May 2021, 71% of consumers feel comfortable shopping in stores. However, their shopping preferences are forever changed – only 27% will return to their pre-pandemic shopping habits. For SMBs, that means stepping up to meet changing customer expectations.
Using an Application Programming Interface (API) is not a new trend for users of connected devices. Whether you use a computer, smartphone, smart appliances, etc., APIs are critical to how applications on these devices communicate with each other to help you get the information you need. A common example of API usage is when a single click on an address opens a map application on your phone, or web browser. Any time, an application is calling another one to leverage a service or a function, the underlying communication is more than likely using this technology.
Repair and warranty services are critical for the smooth functioning of a business and especially when you accept electronic payments. Without a strong customer care program, many businesses find themselves trying to put out fires instead of safeguarding themselves against these situations.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected the retail sector in a variety of ways – from limited store capacity to social distancing rules and more, merchants all over Canada adapted to these very quickly. The crisis also accelerated numerous shifts in consumer behaviours that were already underway. For example, contactless payment has existed in Canada for many years and most consumers were accustomed to paying with their contactless cards. With the increase in transaction amount limits for contactless, and the demand for touchless experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, the adoption of this payment method has increased further. Another trend that was already underway was the rise of eCommerce. While eCommerce numbers have been consistently rising over the last few years, the pandemic pushed more people to purchase products online. As a result, most consumers embraced online shopping even for items they would have previously preferred to buy in store.
Payments are so much more than they used to be. Merchants of all sizes are under pressure to do more with the technology they have and exceed customer expectations. This means accepting all payment methods, adding value at checkout, serving customers in-aisle, and managing operations seamlessly.
One of the most frequently occurring discussions around payment security is regarding PCI compliance. When we talk with our customers, partners and integrators, especially with those who are new to the payments industry, understanding PCI compliance can be complex. The PCI DSS, for example, refers to the Data Security Standard released by the PCI Council that are set up to ensure that all businesses that accept, process, store and/ or transmit cardholder data (i.e., credit card information), do it in the safest way possible. By following the DSS and other related standards, merchants can better protect their payment infrastructures from data breaches. They not only keep customer data safe but also protect their brand reputation.
When you purchase a car, your journey doesn’t end when you drive out of the dealership parking lot. You buy insurance for your car, you may also opt for an additional warranty for better support on repairs and so on. As an end-user, you are merely protecting your investment from situations that can harm it. Payment technology works the same way. If you are in the business of selling goods and services, you need these solutions to securely accept payments from your customers. You also need contingencies in place that will help your operations run smoothly and seamlessly. This is where a strong technology partner with a comprehensive customer care program is beneficial to your business. They can assist you by taking care of these payment-related complexities and help you protect your technology investment. A customer care program can be there for your business at every step of the way:
In an increasingly complex payment environment, many merchants are seeking a more flexible approach to help streamline their payment process, enhance payment security and manage PCI scope. This is where a semi-integrated payment environment comes into the picture.
To understand how a semi-integrated approach to payments can help merchants, we must understand the differences between that and a fully integrated payment environment.
When it comes to terminal space at the merchant’s countertop, less is more. When it comes to the POS devices themselves, more is more. For ISVs and VARs, this creates an interesting challenge – how can you provide the most ongoing value to your merchant customers in a compact, modern way? The answer: Android.
Similar to many countries in the world, Canada's transit revenues were severely impacted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Interac, TransLink in Vancouver reported an 83% decline in ridership, while GO Transit in Southern Ontario lost 90% of its passengers.
In my previous blog post, I talked about the rise of biometric authentication in typical payment environments. That market is currently dominated by phone-based biometrics where consumers authenticate the transfer of payment information on their device via a fingerprint scanner or face ID. For the merchant, it is a simple contactless transaction.
In 2020, 37 billion records were compromised in publicly disclosed breaches and with 2021 just beginning, merchants are more aware than ever about customer data security. In the midst of this, Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) has emerged as a security solution that assures payment data is as safe as possible. P2PE works to keep payment data secure in transit as well as prevent tampering at the point of sale (POS) devices themselves, as it encrypts card data at the point of interaction - when a card is inserted or swiped. From that point, the data is encrypted until it reaches the gateway so no cybercriminal or third party can access the unencrypted data.
There has been a tremendous amount of conversation recently around biometrics and its role in payments. The idea that we can pay for goods and services without having to carry a wallet or even a phone is certainly appealing, but what’s the current state of play? And where are we headed?
When talking about Android for payments, most people think of a smart POS using the Android Operating System (OS). The devices themselves are a central piece of the puzzle but there is so much more to the Android platform than meets the eye. Understanding the Android Platform and its many components is critical to getting the most out of Android for payments.
According to a report by Tillster, the self-service kiosk market is expected to reach an estimated $30.8 billion by 2024, with a significant portion of that growth coming from the food and beverage industry. Quick Service (QSR) and fast-casual restaurant chains continue to make headlines about plans to implement kiosks.
According to new data from Risk Based Security, the instances of data breaches declined in 2020 by 48%. However, it still managed to compromise over 37 billion records (increasing by 141% over 2019). Cardholder data is a tempting target for hackers, and many merchants are looking to bolster their payment security strategies. One of the ways they can achieve this is by implementing point-to-point encryption (P2PE).
I recently watched Zack Snyder’s Justice League which, despite the long runtime, seemed to fly by and was thoroughly enjoyable. I then reflected on a presentation I did a couple of years ago comparing how well planned the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) was compared to DC and their set of movies. One has clear stories, plans that follow a long-term vision to delight moviegoers and satisfy the fans while the other seems to be trying to cram everything into each movie.
In my previous blog post, I discussed the growth of QR codes as a payment method and the different types that are available in the market.
To recap, the first one is a Static QR Code that the merchants display for the consumers to scan and pay. The second one is a Dynamic QR Code – Merchant Displayed – which generates a unique QR code for every transaction for the merchant to display and the consumer to scan and pay. The third one is another Dynamic QR Code format – Consumer Displayed – which generates a unique QR code for every transaction on the consumer’s device for the merchant to scan and accept payment.
It’s strange how technology use changes over time. Take the QR code: It has been around for more than a quarter of a century but is only now starting to become more visible in our lives. What began as a simple tool to help Japanese car makers track their inventory around their factories is now everywhere from ticketing to advertising. Soon it will be in our wallets too.
Ever since Mastercard announced its efforts to make contactless payments even more secure the industry has been buzzing with questions. From what the technology is to how it will benefit the industry and the players in it. Even though Ecos is in its early stages, it is important to have these conversations and better understand how it applies to everyone from the merchant to the end consumer.
Over the last decade, mobile POS solutions have evolved from being a cost-effective, simple-to-implement solution for the SMB segment to a key component in enhancing the customer experience in enterprise retail environments. According to Juniper Research, the adoption of these solutions will drive annual mobile POS transactions from 28 billion in 2018 to over 87 billion by 2023.
As more businesses gain a competitive edge using mobile POS solutions, you may be wondering how you can reap the same benefits. So, how do you develop a mobile POS strategy that provides the maximum benefit for your business?
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