Do you remember the time when cash was king? When card payments were new and not a standard payment method for most customers? In that shift, the merchants had to adapt and change to fulfill their customer needs. When the customer demands to be able to pay with a card you need to adapt to that, or they’ll find a store that is willing to accept it. Looking at it from the other side, a merchant back in the days of this shift had a tremendous advantage against their competitors when adding cards as a payment method.
Fast forward a couple of decades and enter the world of today and we find ourselves once again in a big shift in payments. Online shopping has become huge and has made shoppers aware of the benefits of using even more payment methods. Nowadays shoppers do not only rely on having to fill out their card details but instead use a more adaptable shopping. What we mean by this is that the choice of payment method by shoppers can vary depending on the amount of the purchase, the type of purchase, or even how much they’ve come to love a payment brand and their payment experience. Has it become easier to just click a button now and pay within two weeks upon arrival, for no extra charge? Yes! Have other purchases become easier by just entering your phone number and paying directly via an app? Also yes! The card payments are certainly not dead, not at all, but a big competition has arisen during the e-commerce era.
What does e-commerce have to do with in-store?
Card payments are still by far the most common payment method for any in-store purchase. If you do not offer card-present payments you are most likely going to lose potential customers. That is just a fact and nothing we can argue about. But an interesting angle to this dominance in card payments in-store (for example, in Sweden card payments stands for over 80% if you look at 2020:s numbers for the question “How did you pay for your last purchase in a shop?”) is the fact that shoppers keep saying that their preferred payment method might be card, but not to the same extent as the data shows. The reason for that is of course the lack of other payment methods in-store. While shoppers keep saying that Swish, AfterPay, Klarna, or whatever payment method they have become used to and started cherishing from their online experiences, are their favorite ones the data still suggests that card payments are the only thing to focus on for merchants. That is because the data only show what today looks like, not the demands of tomorrow. When the demands of tomorrow start banging on your door you do not want to be like the merchants back in the days who took forever to adapt from cash to card payments.
The benefits of offering multiple payment options
We can probably go on forever about this. But let us just dig deeper into a few of the benefits, and then we can take a digital coffee to talk about the rest when you are done reading this.
Don’t lose customers
The pace of new technology today is rapid. As a merchant, adapting to that is the key. When COVID-19 hit hard during 2020, one adaptation would’ve been to get yourself an online store to be able to keep selling during lockdowns and turndowns in numbers. When we are looking into a future beyond the lockdowns we are looking for those numbers to come back to the stores, the cafées, restaurants, and every other place where you buy stuff or services. By then the use of alternative payment methods will have increased and you might start losing customers if you do not meet those demands.
Increase number of customers
In the same sense that we talked about above, the risk of losing your customers if you do not meet their demands, you can also start gaining more customers from your competitors by simply offering more and alternative payment methods. If you lose a customer due to their payment method of choice not being present, you will lose them because they know that they can go somewhere else where it is available for them. Don’t be the store they leave for another one but instead become the store they come to because they left another. Adapt, succeed and increase.
Variety is positive
For both existing and new customers, a variety of payment methods will be experienced as positive. The brands that you offer as a payment method will help you build stronger reliability, so you can even look at it as a marketing strategy. Customers will also become more comfortable in their checkout experience if they get the opportunity to use Buy now, pay later alternatives when the bank account balance towards the end of the month is low, or when they are unsure whether to keep the item or not and do not want to pay upfront before they know. The scenarios are endless, regardless of the fact that the offerings of multiple payment methods and the variety it brings to your store will be positive and convenient for your customers.
Another, not yet spoken about benefit, is the fact that a variety of payment methods that you can bring into a SoftPOS (software-based Point of Sale) like a smartphone or tablet, can help you start busting your queues during hectic and busy hours. Imagine having an employee move around in the store and offer your customers to pay without having to queue just by scanning an animated QR code for instant purchases like Swish, checkout with their favorite Buy now, pay later alternative from their own phone, or even just tapping their contactless card on your device for card-present payment. How great would that be? If you are interested in reading more about the tap to phone experience, we’ve written an article just about that »