HOLD THE PHONE:
HOW MOBILE PAY IS CHANGING RETAIL
PUBLISHED: DECEMBER 2016

Once upon a time, people drove to a location, parked their cars and walked into a store to peruse a merchant’s wares. Then mobile infiltrated the shopping experience. Now it’s setting its sights on the buying experience as well. Seems like every time we turn around, another tech-giant rolls out their own mobile pay system—think Apple Pay, Android Pay, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay—and as consumers begin to trust the super-convenient trend more (and they will) it’s going to completely change the retail landscape.

Retailers interested in riding the mobile payment wave need to ask themselves hard-hitting questions: Does my mobile site encourage sales? How does mobile payment help me? Which platform should I choose? Will my customers use it? We’ll share answers to some of these questions to help retailers decide whether or not they should take a “wait and see” approach, or if they should jump on the mPay bandwagon.

Does your mobile buying experience measure up?

Mobile payment is bigger than just the digital wallet. Think of all the ways you can buy stuff using your phone. A great mobile buying experience tips the scale in your business’ favor when people are entertaining themselves by browsing in traffic, in bed, or in their kid’s carpool line. People on their phones are ready to pull the trigger if the experience is right. Just ask Amazon. Their mobile app accounted for 60% of their total volume by the end of 2014. But the opposite holds true, too. $4 trillion worth of merchandise lingered in online shopping carts of mobile shoppers last year and 63% could’ve been actual sales if retailers streamlined their mobile buying process, according to Business Insider. Simplifying the checkout experience is key to closing the mobile sale.

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How does mobile payment help my business?

Mobile wallets offer benefits to all stakeholders: enhanced security features, faster checkout, and loyalty integration. Each of these is a plus for customers and merchants alike, and will eventually convince both parties to embrace the technology.

Being able to accept credit card payments is a plus for small businesses who previously operated on a cash-only basis, like vendors at a farmer’s market or food trucks. Accepting credit cards broadens a business’ customer base and increases sales. These sales allow tracking of consumer behavior and inventory tracking that enables small business to improve customer service.

US in-store mobile payments will reach $75 billion this year. By 2020, predictions are that even though current adoption of the mobile wallet is slow, 56% of the US population will use in-store mobile payments to the tune of $503 billion.

Consumer interest in changing the way they make purchases and security are the primary barriers to the adoption of the mobile wallet. Integrating loyalty programs and other add-on feature promise to increase the use of mobile wallets. In-app, P2P, and in-browser payment capabilities will also fuel US adoption- a strategy that’s been successful in China.

"Mobile wallets offer benefits to all stakeholders: enhanced security features, faster checkout, and loyalty integration."
Which platform should I use?

Point-of-sale systems are aplenty and figuring out which one is best for your business takes a little strategy. Likely, you’ve installed EMV-enabled terminals provided by your bank. (EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa.) Many EMV-compliant POS terminals also support near field communication (NFC) technology so that your business can accept mobile wallets, like Apple Pay. We will highlight a few options with the help of our friends at NerdWallet based on your potential business needs.

Low cost of entry/Versatility: Square

  • Flat 2.75% processing fee per swipe
  • Free mobile card reader at sign-up
  • MV-compliant
  • For $99, larger businesses can get the Square Stand which uses an iPad to become a cash register. A cash drawer, receipt printer, and cash drawer may be connected.

Square also lets you accept payments offline; accept cash, checks and gift cards; send receipts; and track inventory. The online Square Dashboard lets you see sales reports, manage employees’ timesheets and send invoices. Square works with iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, and integrates with QuickBooks, Xero and other apps.

In store and online purchase acceptance: Shopify

  • Three pricing levels
  • Free mobile magnetic stripe reader
  • Great for online and brick-and-mortar stores
  • Build and customize your online store easily with templates
  • Integrates with your shipping carrier and QuickBooks, MailChimp, Amazon, and social media platforms

Accepting in-person payments is a snap with Shopify’s free card reader that plugs into the headphone jack of your iPhone or iPad and works with the free app. Shopify offers hardware to customize your setup.

Brick-and-mortar operations/Larger, multi-location businesses: Revel

  • Multiple processing options
  • Customizable hardware and software
  • Pricing depends on business type, terminals needed, and transaction volume
  • Integrates with QuickBooks and PayPal

Revel offers advanced capabilities like labor management to keep tabs on employees automatically. Scheduling, payroll, and performance analysis make managing your staff a wee bit easier. Inventory control lets you monitor inventory in real time so you’re never left short of the stuff your customers want most. To assess your business’ needs, you’ll need to talk to a Revel live representative or take a few minutes with an online chat rep.

Will my customers use mobile payment? 4 reasons they will.

While mobile payment adoption lags way behind Europe and Asia, US customers are warming up to the idea. Here are ways to encourage the transition and reasons why it’s inevitable:

1. Mobile pay trumps plastic for security

The good news is that mobile payment is actually more secure than using a credit/debit card. Most apps utilize a token system where a unique bar code is generated per transaction instead of transmitting the card number into the ozone. With Apple Pay, authorization requires the consumer’s fingerprint for extra protection.

2. You’ve integrated payment into your mobile app

If your customers can pay you with your mobile app, that’s one less step they have to take in the shopping experience. The big guys like Apple, Android and Samsung are making the process quick and easy by offering open APIs.

3. Your customer loyalty program is synced with mobile payment

Eliminating the need to scan a loyalty card clustered up with 15 others on a key chain will make your customers happy. Creating a mobile-only rewards program will go one step further in encouraging digital wallets.

4. You let them know you accept mobile payments

Paying with a digital wallet isn’t available at all retailers. Create signs and train your employees to let your customers know that you’re one of the cool stores that does.

Bottom line? Go with the mobile payment platform that works best for your business and don’t ignore the trend. While adoption in the US is ramping up at a slower pace than overseas, mobile payment is not going away. Implementing acceptance of mobile wallets and integrating a point-of-sale system is relatively low cost and will only benefit your business in the long run.

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