We know that digital payments are replacing physical cash and cheques as the tools to make payments using cards, mobile devices and e-commerce sites become more widespread and the public embrace the convenience and flexibility they provide.
Demonstrating the rise of new payment types, data from statistics portal Statista has forecast that mobile payment revenue will surpass $1 trillion in 2019, up from $450 billion in 2015.
While cash is still used, usually for smaller transactions, consumers increasingly want to use digital forms of payment when shopping, both digitally and in the physical world. The demand is there; retailers can’t afford to ignore it.
Indeed, according to The Forrester Wave: Global Merchant Payment Providers, Q4 2018 report, one of the top payment-related initiatives for retailers in the next 18 months is to implement new emerging types of digital and mobile payment.
The uptake of different payment methods varies across different regions and countries – Southeast Asia has seen greater uptake of mobile payments, for example – but whatever the method, retailers, both small and large alike, need to make it a priority. Customer demand dictates it.
And it’s easier than ever for small businesses to provide digital payments to customers, particularly if they use virtual banking, which supports digital payments and a cashless way of doing business.
For in-store payments, it’s becoming easier and cheaper to introduce contactless payments, thanks to the availability of low-cost card readers, such as iZettle and PayPal Here which require relatively little infrastructure investment.
iZettle rapidly completes contactless payments by connecting to a dedicated smartphone or tablet app via Bluetooth, while PayPal Here supports direct payments into PayPal accounts with no monthly fees or fixed contract.
As well as meeting customer demand, these payment methods improve the customer experience. Using a contactless card to pay for a coffee or the weekly groceries saves time, benefiting both customers and retailers during peak periods.
In addition, small retailers can easily enable digital payments on their websites via a payments button for their chosen virtual bank or payment provides. This allows receipt of prompt payment directly from marketplaces and clients worldwide.
For websites, the buying process is made simpler, as customers simply select their payment details with a click of a button, log into their payment account and complete the transaction with their account or a prepaid card.
Turning to mobile payment, mobile wallets have proved increasingly popular as they can be used in store, in app or on e-commerce websites.
They include mobile-first wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, which are designed for mobile browser and in-app purchases. Then there are browser-oriented e-wallets, like Visa Checkout and Masterpass, that offer a browser checkout experience regardless of device. Finally, there are stored balance and credit card e-wallets, as offered by the likes of PayPal and Alipay.
Like contactless card payment, paying with a mobile should improve the convenience and speed of paying for goods and services. Retailers accepting mobile wallets at the point of sale, for instance, will streamline the payment experience for people visiting their stores.
And mobile payments are, if anything, more secure than card payments thanks to the additional verification – voice control, fingerprint scanning and facial recognition – that many modern smartphones support.
By implementing digital and mobile payments, you will be fuelling the success and growth of your small retail business not just in the short term, but well into the future. Put simply, you can’t afford not to.