The contact-free payment market has been on the rise in recent years, with nearly a quarter of millennials having used Apple Pay at least once. And, like so many other things, the pandemic sped up its adoption; in fact, the market is expected to reach $52 billion by 2027. This means that, largely, credit cards as they are today could become somewhat obsolete.
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And if businesses – both retailers and beyond – want to ensure sales and boost their bottom lines, they’re going to have to incorporate these new technologies into their back-ends quickly. The holiday season is a good time to capitalize, and the months leading up to it are crucial. Although the holiday season for technologists is a time of “code freeze” and non-production changes, there are steps that every organization can take to improve the small, yet meaningful, facets of their business.
How to Prepare for Contact-Free Payments This Holiday Season
Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind in order to ensure your company is prepared ahead of the holidays (and beyond!):
Research and prepare for incorporation of a chat commerce platform that allows both payment and two-way communications in 2022.
Naturally, the platform will need to be integrated into your pre-existing infrastructure and thereby extending it from in-person to chat payments. Our recent study found that 82% of millennials are looking to make purchases via apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, so those platforms are particularly relevant when considering adding payment solutions. Second, many customers prefer the option to communicate with brands via SMS, which includes opting in and out of sales, requesting updates on shipping, and beyond.
Sync up with your dev and IT teams.
Of course, before integrating a payment platform into your back-end, both developer and IT teams should be informed. Moving forward, your IT team will need to have access to all resources offered by the provider and be available to discuss any potential data security regulations and concerns. Of course, customer security and safety are the most importance and should be addressed throughout the entire process. Once the integration is complete, the cybersecurity component should then be communicated thoroughly and frequently to customers (see tip #4).
Prep your sales and customer service teams.
This kind of enhanced technology changes the game for sales and customer service teams by streamlining their customer data, while adding a layer of complexity in their options to support. A contact-free option for payments, combined with two-way communication, provides a dramatically improved commerce experience for the customer, but also the service rep – they will now be able to solve payment questions and transactions directly and be more in-the-know on any potential issues that may arise.
Communicate the plan to your customers.
A customer support integration without customer awareness isn’t helpful. Your company should be using marketing spend to meet customers where they are and inform them of the update. If possible, provide promotions to encourage participation; and, on the flip side, also provide an easy way for them to opt-out. Again, quality customer service is all about options for each and every consumer, not just Millennials. Ultimately, a tailored approach will increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty across the board.
Set your revenue goal and timeline early (and high).
As we all know, some of the biggest hurdles to tech overhauls are conversations around return on investment (ROI).
Luckily, the past year and numerous research reports show us that this is the way of the future (if not the now), and return on investment will be significant, if not incremental. While a timeline on ROI may be hard to solidify, it’s a fact the next five years are slated to see a drastic increase in contact-free payments and omnichannel communications.
The above steps are arguably the five most important for contact-free payment integration – and the ones that will ensure your entire infrastructure, employee base, and customers are informed and ready to adopt the change. Incorporating this technology will prove valuable from a revenue perspective and how your customers interact with you and view your brand.
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