According to Portfolio.com, Wal-Mart and Target are working on a hush-hush plan to adopt mobile payments for their stores. We can’t confirm it with any certainty, but we don’t mind spreading a rumor if we like where it’s going…
When and if these two large retailers roll out their strategies, it’s safe to say that the competition will have little choice but to cross the mobile payments frontier too. It may not be in your near-term plans and perhaps not even on the long term ones yet, but it’s certainly something you should be kicking around in brainstorming meetings. If you’re further ahead and plan to implement a mobile payments strategy soon, more power to you for being a front-runner in an emerging channel!
Either way, consider these obvious but important ways to help ensure your in-store mobile payment experience matches the quality that customers expect from your brand:
Make the Process Easy
Some stores, like Woolworth’s in Australia, are implementing mobile payment kiosks at their POS’s that utilize Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. Banking technology company NCR is working on devices for retailers that eliminate the checkout counter completely, allowing customers to scan products and make mobile payments on the sales floor. Apple is another leader, having migrated their stores to check outs that exclusively use iPhones equipped with credit card scanners. Thinking through the logistics of in-store mobile purchases is essential to making mobile payment easy. Retailers must make sure that their technology is glitch-free and accommodating to all smartphone platforms. If you’re going to introduce mobile payments, make sure that customers enjoy the transition because it saves them work and doesn’t make more work for them.
Ensure Security and Privacy
Studies show that a large number of consumers still hesitate to embrace mobile payments because they fear that their personal financial information will be hacked, lost or stolen. To ensure the security of customer transactions, companies should encrypt all account data at the card reader level. Stores should also enable the truncation of card numbers, which will allow them to identify customers without storing all of their credit card information.
Acclimate Your Employees
Make sure that you take the time to perform a high-quality rollout of mobile payment technology. Invest in pilot programs so that you can become aware of both technical and training issues ahead of time. You’ll also have to consider the impact that mobile payments could have on your company culture if employees are resistant to new technology. Nothing will be more frustrating for customers than dealing with employees who are either negative about mobile payments or incapable of basic troubleshooting.