In today’s market, technology is moving faster than ever to keep up to speed with changing consumer behaviours; shoppers expect to be able to pay how they want, when they want and as quick as possible. As such, advancements in digital technology have accelerated payment innovations and changed the way shoppers pay. As retailers across the board strive to deliver a seamless customer journey the payment industry needs to use twice as much imagination to fit payment process into the overall shopping experience.
Since they have become routine, cashless – and especially contactless – payments are preferred when it comes to making quick purchases; they’re seen as a time-saver and a more seamless way to pay. When it comes to unattended retail, it doesn’t stop there, shoppers are now more self-reliant and empowered than ever mainly because of their dependency on technologies that helps them deal efficiently with daily life.
As a result, 86% of customers saying they are willing to pay more for a positive experience, according to Oracle, and almost 50% of shoppers use unattended channels because they are faster. Thus, for vending operators it is essential to enhance operational efficiency by implementing an evolutive strategy; accelerate digitalisation and technology adoption could also optimize human intervention.
How then can retail merchants make use of self service and cashless technologies to gain in flexibility?
Game-changing vending technology
New self-service checkout options and interactive machines have changed the game entirely, offering the all-important seamless payments and next level customer experience. To give an idea of the speed of these developments, analysts forecast that the number of connected vending machines worldwide will more than double from 4.2 million units in 2019 to reach 8.9 million units by 2024. And that is just the beginning of the vending revolution.
In the digital retail world, there are new technologies coming out every year to delight the most demanding customer. With the increasing usage of digital wallet, wearable devices, QR-based solutions, biometrics and Artificial Intelligence (AI), unattended retail is ready to serve the next-generation customer that is highly adaptable and comfortable with technology.
Nevertheless, it’s not just how customers are able to pay that makes unattended retail so attractive to shoppers, but what they can do to simplify their shopping experience and broaden the possibilities of making their purchase. Merchants can engage and delight customers by providing an endless personalised options capable of improving the overall customer journey.
How are operators able to succeed in providing advanced unattended retailing?
All transactions might take only seconds to complete, but behind the scenes there are many different technologies working to ensure the payment is made swiftly, correctly, and securely. Ultimately, operators must be sure that not only has the payment been processed, but the money has been sent to their bank account. In such cases where the operator deals with a multitude of different providers at each stage, they can be prone to errors or additional time added to the transaction. This can leave the customer with a poor experience and add frustration for the operator about the difficulties in data analysing and implementing changes.
As such, consolidating all this information in a single, comprehensive view will be a key asset for operators, providing them with full visibility over their processes. It also ensures all payments are completed through a seamless, effective and easy to monitor settlement process. What operators should opt for is to partner with a full-service end-to-end payments provider. This will offer them enhanced profitability, security control and transparency, as well as improved service for their customers which will avoid abandoned baskets.
What’s more, with a centralised payment gateway technology that handles all payment transactions from the unattended point of sale to the transaction acquirer, this managed service will significantly optimise costs for the operator by the scaling-up process, simplifying installations, maintenance and international updates. This is in addition to the guaranteed availability of the entire system and through the secure for merchant way.
The Covid-19 pandemic has emphasized how important it is to rapidly adapt and scale new operational practices; accept electronic payment, update new contactless limits, introduce additional payments means, refund the user or even to reflect changing customer expectations.
Along with a state-of-the-art Smart Acquiring Solution, it results in an end-to-end seamless payment solution with simplified integration and certification processing, along with eased reconciliation, and fast settlement for operators. As the entire payment solution is provided, all operator payment needs can be served, offering one expert point of contact, and making the process as seamless as possible. The platform scales automatically, enabling operators to deal with large card volumes at any given time.
By offering such advanced payments systems, Ingenico can help operators make their processes easier and more accessible with a fully integrated, end-to-end payment solution. Simplifying the process in such ways will result in a faster, secure, and seamless payments process, with all services housed under one roof.
The role of Unattended Retail in shaping new shopping experiences
Now more than ever it’s key for merchants to look to flexible and reliable technology to take their business to the next level and to boost revenues. Not only are consumer behaviours changing in the face of an evolving digital landscape, but also because of the global pandemic.
Shoppers are more cautious of face-to-face interaction, preferring to make purchases in a touchless way. What’s more, revenues have been squeezed significantly following strict lockdown protocol, with many having been forced to shut their doors for months on end. But this period has also opened the door to new possibilities and has accelerated emerging trends. The pandemic shown that the vending industry will need to address many technological challenges in the short-term, while reinventing business models and exploring new possibilities in the ‘new normal’.
Adapting to a new way of operating is a big ask of many businesses, but they can do a lot to learn from the Vending market that has taken these technological trends on board to not only survive but thrive.
To find out more, please visit: www.ingenico.com/smartselfvending.