August 17, 2020
7 min read

Contactless Concepts Are the Forefront of Retail Innovation

According to research from the National Retail Federation and Forrester, since January, no-touch payments have increased for 69% of retailers. Of those that offer contactless payments to customers, 94% expect the demand to continue increasing over the next 18 months.

COVID-19 has caused an aversion to physical touch in an effort to keep employees and customers safe, resulting in several contactless and mobile payment stories making headlines. It doesn’t hurt that major retailers are behind the news in support of the technology, including Amazon, CVS and Kroger.

What’s more, news of the nationwide coin shortage has caused retailers to rethink their payment options. It demonstrates the need for retailers to provide a variety of convenient payment options for shoppers. It’s not just about accepting one form of payment over another; it’s also about having the ability to process a range of transactions so customers can pick the payment method that they prefer.

Let’s take a deeper look at how these recent announcements are driving a new approach to a contactless customer experience - and why other retailers should be paying attention.

Contactless payments through mobile  

Major retailers are quickly pushing forward with new contactless options. CVS is driving contactless payments with Paypal and Venmo, and Kroger announced the launch of its payments pilot, accepting Apple Pay, Google Pay, mobile banking apps, and more. Instead of having to hand over a card or cash, shoppers can simply use their phones for a touch-free way to pay.

The retailers launching contactless payments are making smart and necessary moves. Waiting in a checkout line is one of the largest pain points within a physical store, so seamless and faster payment options are key. This is especially true since the pandemic, which has led to more use of contactless credit cards as a safe, sanitary no-touch payment option for consumers.

Amazon Dash Carts

Amazon’s smart shopping carts – the Dash Cart – is another new option for shoppers to skip the checkout line altogether. To Amazon, the “10 items or less” and self-checkout lanes should be things of the past. The Dash Carts reflect a different approach to frictionless retail than its Amazon Go stores, which require costly ceiling camera infrastructure and RFID technology. 

The Dash Cart has inspired retailers to take a second look at the cashierless concepts they currently have in place and to consider experimenting with innovative technology. However, while it’s important to experiment with new concepts, it’s equally essential to find the right tech that fits well with a retailer’s specific format and unique shoppers’ needs. 

For example, although other smart cart vendors promise larger basket sizes, the Dash Cart is designed for small to mid-sized shopping trips. Amazon’s cart still doesn’t provide an answer to contactless checkout for most retail segments.

Don't neglect the point of sale

It’s clear that the future of checkout means contactless payment options that promote a frictionless customer experience. There is no doubt we will see more retailers investing in these technologies as they look to provide the flexibility, speed and convenience customers expect. In fact, it will soon become a deciding factor on whether a shopper chooses your store, or a competitor. 

What’s more, retailers that offer mobile or contactless checkout services are better able to handle changing market conditions and customer behavior. Whether it’s through order and pay ahead, or handheld devices for associates, the store of the future is built on the idea of an invisible point of sale

To learn more about how to offer contactless payment for your customers, contact us today.