Even though we are starting to move to a decline in Covid-19, the habits we adopted will not. Life in a post-Covid environment for Brick and Mortar will retain their more health-conscious options for payment including “touchless retail.” People may want to look at goods in stores, but the first place they are now trained to look for offers and product, is on their smartphones.
When engagement for customers is stronger than ever through phones, your mobile presence must be equally so. If you don’t currently have a dedicated app for your business, making your buying community more inter-active and secure, you should consider moving to one. The use of mobile payment systems (wallets) is now more important than ever and is where engagement of your customer begins.
The app community allows for further loyalty actions such as app-only offers or discounts, push notifications, digital reward cards, service check-ins and an accelerated buying journey. Membership cards are being quickly replaced by digital rewards where a barcode scanned by a POS at checkout seamlessly engages customers’ points or rewards programs without passing any cards back and forth.
The post-Covid environment will see a demand for payment-at-table used by several other countries, too. The US lags behind Canada and the UK in adopting touchless at-table POS for restaurant dining, whether indoor or outdoor. Your smartphone or your chip card only require “wanding” over the device and contactless payment is made enabling a more secure transaction when you do not have to give up your actual bank card to your server.
Even before Covid-19 there has been a push toward contactless debit/credit cards and a rapidly escalating push to mobile for faster, safer, cleaner transactions and your smartphone is the epicenter of touchless business. The US will never abandon cash completely but it recognizes the faster, safer transactioning of mobile and contactless payments and is moving rapidly to a minimal cash environment while working on a solution to not exclude those who have less access to both smartphones or bank cards.
Technology has always moved quickly, but Covid has added another layer of early adoptability in any area where payments are made. Touchless is here to stay and smartphones are the key to navigating the contactless accesses to information, product, purchasing and rewards. So, update your online presence, consider an API for your business and position your retail business to keep powering forward digitally.
-The Smart Cog, July 2020, Lynne Gardner