After several years of avid innovation and earnest marketing by the major players in the industry, smartphone providers, and other technology partners, mobile payments are finally beginning to take off with consumers. There’s good reason for this—consumers are realizing the benefits and convenience of using their smartphones to complete everyday purchases. Making it possible for your customers to pay using their smartphone is really quite simple—and offering this payment option can greatly improve your sales and help make your customers more loyal.
Merchants can benefit in many ways by the increased consumer adoption of mobile payments. Because mobile payment platforms can be more affordable than traditional POS systems and don’t require a lot of technological savvy, they’re easy for small to mid-sized businesses to implement- and they are attractive to consumers. As Harvard law professor and behavioral sciences expert Cass R. Sunstein writes for Bloomberg View, "When payment becomes easier, and when people don’t see the money they’re handing over, they tend to spend a lot more. And as payment becomes more automatic, people become less sensitive to what they're losing." In short, Sunstein argues that shoppers will spend more at your business when you accept mobile payments. Let’s take a look at three other compelling reasons that now is the time to invest in a mobile payment platform.
Reason #1: See more customer engagement with your loyalty program
Mobile payment solutions allow you to more easily keep track of your customers and engage them in your business' loyalty program. A mobile-based loyalty program eliminates the need for customers to keep track of punch cards or key ring tags to make sure they are getting the best deal or are being rewarded for their loyal patronage. Instead, all of their loyalty information is stored in the mobile payment solution and can easily be updated each time they use their mobile device to complete a transaction.
In recent years, the popularity of loyalty programs has steadily grown among consumers. Integrating your loyalty program into your overall customer experience is key to retaining a loyal customer base. Small and mid-sized businesses can use mobile payment based loyalty programs to experience the same level of success that their larger counterparts have enjoyed. By integrating payments and mobile technology with your overall offerings, your customers enjoy a seamless, enjoyable experience, from the speed of the transaction using their smartphone to pay to the ease of being rewarded for their patronage.
Reason #2: Help secure transactions
Believe it or not, mobile payments are actually more secure than traditional payments. A number of reasons contribute to this fact. First, in a mobile transaction, the customer does not have to hand over their payment card to the sales associate, which greatly reduces the opportunity for their card number to be stolen or skimmed for future use. Secondly, the consumer must enter a personal passcode or token in order to conduct the transaction. So, in the case that their phone is lost or stolen, it will be very difficult for the thief to access the mobile wallet in order to make unauthorized transactions. Additionally, many mobile payment systems utilize encryption and tokenization solutions to protect sensitive data. Encryption protects data upon initial card entry, while tokenization renders the POS safe from handling, storing, or transmitting card data. Together, encryption and tokenization help secure cardholder data throughout the entire mobile payment transaction.
Reason #3: Keep a close watch on customer trends and inventory
Mobile payment technology platforms enable businesses to easily keep a close watch on inventory and customer trends. As customers make purchases using their mobile device such as iPhone or Android, the information is captured. You can use this information to get a better idea of the trends driving your customers' purchases, and make appropriate decisions regarding your product inventory. By keeping closer tabs on your best selling items by day of the week, you can better plan for your busy days. In this way, you’ll be able to increase product sales and improve your customer experience.
Customer trending data also allows you to improve your customer marketing and communications efforts. Accepting ApplePay and other mobile wallets enable you to capture key metrics that can inform your major marketing campaigns and smaller efforts alike. For example, if you notice there’s a general slump in sales at your business on Tuesdays, consider pushing out an SMS text message to your customer database Tuesday mid-morning with a special “buy one, get one” offer only valid that day.
Now is the right time for mobile payment acceptance
As consumers become increasingly comfortable with using their smartphones to make everyday purchases, you should make sure your business is ready to accept these types of payments. Don’t risk losing your customers to your competitors who have been quicker at implementing this technology. Accepting payments from a mobile device using NFC technology is easier than you might think—and the benefits for you and your customers are great.
For one, mobile payments can be seamlessly integrated with your loyalty programs so that your customers don’t have to worry about forgetting cards at home to be rewarded for their patronage. Instead, their customer loyalty information is built right into the mobile-pay platform. Secondly, mobile payments are more secure than traditional payment types. Offering this level of protection can go a long way in attracting and retaining loyal customers. And lastly, your business can use a mobile payment platform to track customer trends and inventory so you can make more informed business decisions.
Ask your payments processor about solutions that allow your business to accept mobile payments. If your processor does not offer this technology, it may be time to consider switching to a new payments partner. Look for one that is committed to staying on top of emerging payment technologies and is able to offer you the mobile payment tools, and resources you need to attract a wider range of customers and grow your business.