Shopping for mobile payment technology: What retailers should consider

By Jonathan Crowl

| Retail

Retail customer making mobile payment


Adoption of mobile payment technology has been slow among both consumers and retailers due to security concerns and the lack of a discernible best-in-class technology to drive this transformation. The security worries have largely fallen by the wayside, and retailers have their choice of a number of mobile payment solutions.

As a result, many retailers have already adopted a mobile payment solution or have plans to offer this technology in their stores in the near future. Globally, mobile payments will be used to process more than $1 trillion in sales by 2019, according to research from Statista. The Guardian reports that by the year 2025, up to 75 percent of all transactions will be cashless, using mobile technology to process these purchases.

Most retailers recognize that mobile payments are an inevitable innovation, especially as customers grow more comfortable with the technology and embrace it as their preferred payment method. If you’re shopping for such a solution right now, there are many different types of hardware and payment solution options to choose from. Here are some important questions to ask as you explore which technology is the best fit for your business.

Which hardware best serves your customers?

There are different types of mobile payment hardware available to today’s businesses. This hardware decision is important because it affects the services you’re able to offer both now and in the future.

For years, mobile card readers have been commonplace, allowing retailers to turn smartphones and tablets into cash registers through the use of a plug-in tool. This is great for businesses that want to reduce their transaction fees and provide a better customer experience to traditional card users. But the latest trend in mobile payments, and the one with greater long-term value, is the use of mobile wallets to make payments via near-field communication (NFC) technology. With NFC payments, customers can pay for items using credit cards and other payment information stored on their phone. The physical wallet is uninvolved: A mobile device is all that’s required for consumers to make a payment.

These payment solutions — popular solutions include Apple Pay and Android Pay, while brands like Starbucks, Walmart and Dunkin’ Donuts have created their own mobile payment software — offer greater flexibility, but they’re also a more costly and time-consuming transition. In spite of this difficult adoption process, mobile wallets are becoming the preferred technology for consumers and businesses alike.

How will receipts be managed?

As Retail Customer Experience reports, receipt management is a focal point for many retailers. Most retail brands will want mobile payment technology that gives them multiple options for providing receipts to customers. Even as mobile payments become the norm, some consumers will still prefer paper receipts, so printing capabilities must be retained.

Receipts can also be provided electronically, with text and email delivery being popular delivery methods. More receipt options allow for a better customer experience, so retailers are likely to seek a mobile payment solution that grants them the greatest degree of flexibility.

Is the hardware secure?

Consumers aren’t as worried about mobile payment security as they were five years ago, but security remains a critical focus for any business adopting a new solution. Protecting consumer data and payment information is critical to preserving your company’s reputation. Any credible mobile payment solution will conform to PCI-PTS certification standards. This guarantees that essential encryption and safeguards are in place to minimize the risk of a data breach.

Keep in mind that this security certification relates to the devices running the payment technology, not the software itself. Only adopt devices that meet this certification standard.

Can the payment technology integrate with inventory management solutions?

As retailers transform their brick-and-mortar stores with innovative mobile solutions, integration of these devices with current systems is critical. For a mobile payments solution, one of the best and most important integrations is with the company’s inventory management solution to update its in-stock data based on sales throughout the day.

Retailers may also want to consider other integrations, such as the ability to connect to client software or a customer relationship management solution, in addition to other features of the growing retail omnichannel experience.

Which technology offers the best user experience?

The user experience isn’t something you can compare on a product datasheet, but it’s ultimately the most important consideration when choosing a solution. As Mobile Payments Today points out, mobile payment technology needs to appeal to your customers, otherwise they’ll be less likely to participate and you won’t earn the ROI you’re seeking from this innovation.

In addition to the design of the payment solution, consider the reliability and speed of the transaction process, which affects how quickly customers can get through checkout and directly impacts the customer experience. Look for a quick, easy and simple experience that provides shoppers with a friction-free checkout process.

Retailers face a buyer’s market when it comes to finding the right mobile payment technology. Take time to sort through your options before settling on a solution.