Check out of a store – brick and mortar or digital – these days and chances are you’ll be offered a choice of payment types that would have blown your mind ten years ago. When it comes to payment types the range of options has increased dramatically in recent years, as technology has advanced, and shoppers have demanded ever faster, easier and more secure ways of paying for their goods
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Here we explore how the payments landscape looks as we enter 2022. We examine why staying ahead of the payment types game is essential for retailers, and how integration is the key to reducing friction and increasing sales.
The range of payment types for shoppers has never been greater – gone are the days of the triumvirate of cash, cheque or card (with some retailers actually ceasing to take cash at all). Today’s most popular options include:
By Now Pay Later
BNPL does what it says – allows shoppers to take the goods home, but not have to pay until a later date (in contrast to lay-by/layaway, where the goods stay in the store until the final payment is made).
The BNPL payment type is very popular, particularly with Gen Z and Millennials – in Britain, 37% of all shoppers have used a BNPL service, a figures that rises to 42% in 16-to-24 year-olds. During the pandemic, 52% of BNPL users increased their usage of the service.
Research predicts that the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) market will increase by 39% per annum, reaching a dizzying $995 billion by 2026, making it the fastest growing payment type.
Electronic money is a digital alternative to cash, and can be stored on a server, in a payment network like PayPal or on a pre-paid debit card. This payment type grew from the need for a secure way to provide payments to third parties without disclosing bank details. PayPal in particular is very widely used, and has grown from 84 million users in 2010 to 392 million in the first quarter of 2021. Electronic money is the payment instrument that enables e-wallets – such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Microsoft Wallet and Alipay. E-wallets are the electronic service where users store their electronic money – and access it via their phones, or increasingly via wearable technology such as a smart watches, e-bracelets and NFC payment rings.
Credit cards are still a very widespread payment type, particularly amongst older shoppers. But since contactless payments were introduced, the average transaction size on cards has gone down dramatically. The rise of BNPL has eaten into credit card usage, which has been further eroded by high interest rates, the uncertainties of the pandemic and a lack of customer satisfaction with the card issuers.
Why payment choice is important
Being able to use their preferred payment type is an important influencing factor in a shopper’s decision to use a retailer. For example, 9.5 million shoppers in the UK said that they avoided buying from retailers that don’t offer BNPL options at the checkout.
Offering a range of payment types has been shown to speed up the online purchase process, and lower cart abandonment rates.
One size never fits all in retail, and a range of payment types helps retail stores attract a wider demographic of shoppers – from the Gen X credit card lovers to the Gen Zs who want to BNPL
Integration – the final piece of the puzzle
So we’ve discussed the key payment types available and why it’s important to give shoppers a choice, but that’s not the end of the story. The final piece of the payments puzzle is eliminating friction, by ensuring that all payment types are fully integrated with the in retailer pos or ecommerce solutions checkout. As I wrote in ‘Frictionless – is it the new omnichannel’, ‘Friction is, simply put, anything that causes frustration to customers, or causes the sale to be lost altogether. It can be a small delay or ‘snag’, a few extra keystrokes, or an extra step or two in a process. It detracts from the customer experience.’
The way to ensure frictionless checkout, in a brick and mortar or online store, is full integration between your payment types and providers and the retail software. It’s essential that retail POS systems, ecommerce solutions, loyalty programs and returns processes all support, and fully integrate multiple payment type options.
Choice – the ultimate drawcard
When it comes to the goods they stock, retailers want to offer choice, because they know it attracts more customers, and increases sales. Exactly the same principle applies to payment types – customers demand choice and a retailer’s decisions on payment types can have a big impact on customer experience and the size of their spend.