It’s no secret to anyone, consumers or merchants, that the future of retail payment systems is largely online and mobile. The convenience and benefits that those types of payment processing bring to the retail industry is hard not to be tempted by, but brick-and-mortar retail isn’t going through quite the “apocalypse” that everyone may believe.
Although convenient and quick, there are some things that brick-and-mortar stores can offer that online or mobile payment processing cannot. For certain things, a tangible shopping experience (not to mention tangible retail payment systems) may be preferable to digital methods. It may not seem like this is the case, but rest assured, retail hasn’t been struck with the apocalypse just yet.
You may have heard of something called the “Amazon Effect” that we’ve mentioned in a previous blog, and you would have to be living under a rock to not notice the powerhouse that Amazon has become in the last several months alone. They are an online force to be reckoned with, but even they are expanding the scope of their business to include a brick-and-mortar presence.
The difference in Amazon’s entrance to brick-and-mortar retail is that they are bringing with their efforts the same seamless retail payment systems that consumers already use online. Though brick-and-mortar is still a newer presence for Amazon and occasional kinks will continue to be worked out, the tap-and-go payment processing that their physical locations offer customers is helping Amazon set an example for other retailers about how to change with the evolving consumer world and avoid running into an apocalypse.
Amazon knows the value of personal connection with customers, as do many businesses, hence the continued presence of brick-and-mortar retail. Although there has been a lot of news about a large wave of shuttering of many well-known stores, this does not mean that the apocalypse is nigh. According to Business Insider, there are actually about 22 businesses, such as Target, Costco, Aldi, and Dollar Tree, that are opening nearly 3,000 new stores even as other brands face more closures. If that isn’t enough to convince businesses to hold off on preparing the retail apocalypse shelter, 5 good reasons from Forbes might help.
1) Sales Boom: As the saying goes, it’s all uphill from here. The sales from retail have increased over 4% in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the first quarter of 2016, and that could continue to increase.
2) Expect the Not-So Unexpected: Most of the problems reported with retail may seem like they are happening quickly, but more often than not, these are slumps and issues that have been developing over a long time. For example, RadioShack and Kmart slumped because of changes in consumer needs over time that were not met, but rather greeted with a sense of stasis on the part of the businesses. Your business can keep an eye out for the signs that may signal a need to adapt and avoid the same fate.
3) When One Door Closes, A Window Opens: As previously mentioned, some retailers may be experiencing closures, but so many more are opening new locations. This not only includes businesses that were already brick-and-mortar but also eCommerce businesses that are expanding as well.
4) People Over Products: While the product or service retailers offer is obviously important, what may be even more important is the customer experience. A good customer experience can be the prime differentiator between different brick-and-mortar stores and different industries. Experience matters more than product because, without a good experience, product remains on the shelves. Companies like Apple and Payline recognize the importance of this.
5) Retro is Still in Style: Malls have faced some harder times in the last few years as businesses develop more online and mobile presences for consumers, but this does not mean that mall retail style is passé. Malls are now putting additions on their existing structures and implementing new technology such as electronic information and payment kiosks to streamline the mall experience, as well as customer perks like lounges and updated food courts to entice consumers.
There is one thing that these 5 good points have in common, and that is they will stay relevant in the fight against the retail apocalypse if, in addition to investing in their customer experiences, businesses spend more time investing in one important component– technology. One of the main reasons that a business can go down is not keeping in time with the changes and evolvements in technology, particularly payment processing technology.
Payline knows that the retail payment systems can cause headaches for businesses, but when you work with us, those headaches will disappear. Whether you are an online business or brick-and-mortar, or maybe even both, we have the easy-to-use payment processing solutions you need to provide a killer payments experience for your customers.
This piece was written by Lauren Minning, Content Specialist for Payline.