Why you can’t afford to ignore innovation in payment

In the real world, contactless is key when it comes to speedy payment. As a consumer, I find it so convenient; so much so that typing in my pin seems archaic and unnecessary. My patience for waiting in a queue or for a card machine to process is diminishing. And I’m not alone. 

Customer behaviour has evolved and customers want things now. I know that big retailers such as Sainsbury’s have resisted installing contactless terminals because of the cost involved. However for small to medium sized businesses like ourselves, merchant payment service providers are geared up to leasing countertop devices that have contactless and Apple Pay as standard.

Trial and test new payment methods in their infancy

Customers have higher expectations today. They want to be able to use a variety of ways to pay. Uber owes a lot of its success to its understanding of this. As a result it’s now estimated to be worth in excess of $62bn, just seven years after starting up.

It makes payment especially easy because it offers multiple ways to spend. It embraced new payment options like Google Wallet when only a handful of people were using it. Meaning that now that Google Wallet is widely embraced, Uber has already addressed any technical teething problems to offer a seamless payment service. The same is true in its processing of PayPal, credit cards and Apple Pay.

Using payment data to better understand your customer

SMEs can benefit from using payment data to better understand customers, not least because they can integrate payments with loyalty programmes.

Starbucks is a great example to learn from. In the US and UK, they recently launched mobile order and pay, which allows customer to pre-order using their mobile, and simply pay on arrival. Completely removing the need to queue. (And let’s face it, how many of us have walked in to Starbucks and straight out, once you’ve seen the length of the queue?)

So, for customers, it’s a great time-saving device.

But the real value is to the business. Starbucks is able to keep a track of the customer’s preferences, of the times of the day they are receptive to marketing, and when and what to market to them.

Sean Blanks is marketing director at cartridgesave.co.uk.

The wind of change in the payments world is gaining in strength as financial technology’s (fintech) potential to alter how, where and when payments are made is further explored and leveraged, World First COO Graham Stanton told Real Business.

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