A host of emerging technologies are poised to radically personalize consumer experiences. Many retailers are feeling immense pressure to devise the perfect plan for a seamless customer experience—an experience that leverages digitization to provide customers with cross-channel, targeted, real-time product or service information in an effective and seamless way. [Seamless] spoke to Alex Chung, Head APAC, Rambus to find out how retailers enhance the buying experience in the age of digital consumers.
What is a buying experience – and why is it so important?
Despite many e-commerce heavyweights promising a more convenient shopping experience with wider choice and cheaper prices, physical retailers are finding ways to remain competitive in the digital age. But they have to be smart. As the resurgent demand for analog media channels such as vinyl records suggests, there remains a desire for physical experiences within an increasingly digital world. Indeed, the fact that the ecommerce giants have themselves are diversifying into brick-and-mortar stores shows the increasing importance of the ‘experience economy.’ Delivering a complete ‘buying experience’ means increasing convenience and adding value for the consumer. Physical retailers must therefore look to both streamline and enhance the in-store payments process.
How can retailers streamline the in-store check-out experience?
Retailers must recognize that the traditional in-store checkout experience is now incompatible with modern lifestyles. 86% of consumers avoid stores with long queues, and frustration with waiting in line costs retailers billions in revenues each year. One way to reduce friction and deliver a seamless payments experience is to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds with convenient and secure in-aisle payments. And the benefits of in aisle transactions are not limited to consumers. For retailers, in-aisle payments lower overhead costs, drive greater brand engagement and loyalty, and reduce the number of POS terminals required. As an industry, we recognize the power of in-aisle engagement, which is why we prioritized enabling
this for retailers in our recently launched Unified Payments Platform.
How can retailers add value?
To be successful, mobile wallets must be more than a collection of virtual cards. As the success of applications such as Starbucks shows, it is the intelligent, specific deployment of value-added services such as rewards, loyalty points, gift cards and couponing that is key to driving the continued adoption of mobile commerce. Again, there is tremendous value for retailers to engage more deeply with the consumer. With integrated loyalty points and coupons, retailers can easily engage in cross or up-sell opportunities to drive revenues. This, in turn, facilitates direct access to powerful shopping data, enabling the delivery of a highly-personalized shopping experience for the consumer. The introduction of these value-added services, however, cannot be at the expense of simplicity. Our solution enables retailers to digitize credit cards, gift cards, loyalty points and coupons into a single, secure retail wallet. By securely converting and managing various digital values, consumers can pay with a combination of credit, points and coupons all in a single transaction. Quick, simple and convenient.
What about security?
Security concerns are consistently cited as one of the most common barriers to adoption. The mass uptake of mobile payments is dependent on consumers being able to trust that their personal information remains safe. Our solution utilizes tokenization technology to secure the card data that is on file. Tokenization reduces the risk of fraud by replacing traditional primary account numbers (PAN) with unique identifiers called payment tokens, which are essentially worthless if stolen. As well, white box cryptography can be used to secure the application on the device. This level of security will breed confidence, and with confidence comes adoption. Asia-Pacific is at the forefront of mobile payments adoption.
High smartphone penetration and an advanced contactless infrastructure have enabled impressive mobile payments adoption across Asia-Pacific. China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore are the leading markets for mobile payments globally, with over half of connected consumers using their mobile device to pay for goods in-store, and the region accounts for 90% of all NFC-based mobile payments. At Rambus, we are committed to promoting the continued advancement of secure mobile payment services across the region. Our recently-opened offices in Singapore and Melbourne will allows us to provide additional, on-the-ground support to our customers.
At Seamless Asia, Chung will be moderating a very interesting panel discussion with merchants from Walmart, IShippo and Moda Pacifica on “Mobility first: merchant views on the future of mobile payments”.