Writing for Payment Expert, Sebastian Gollwitzer, Senior Vice President and Head of Merchant Product for EMEA at Fiserv, analyses how point-of-sale payment innovations will transform the customer experience

As we move towards a cashless economy, businesses have an opportunity to provide an exemplary customer experience by putting the needs of the consumer first.

According to a report from UK Finance, cash use declined by around 15% each year from 2017 to 2020, when cash use dropped even more – 35% compared to the previous year – due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time more than half of all payments in the UK were made by card, and the percentage of payments made by contactless cards increased to 27%. 

For consumers, speed and convenience are paramount – and a fundamental way for merchants to excel in this area is to streamline the purchasing process. In the eyes of consumers, mobile devices are now widely seen as payment methods – but this is just a fraction of their full potential. Point-of-sale payment innovations mean that mobile devices are now capable of being a card reader too, acting as a contactless payment terminal without the need for additional hardware. 

The future of point-of-sale payments innovation lies in software, and the benefits are numerous. From improved operational efficiency to higher customer satisfaction, soft-point-of-sale (SoftPoS) technology is helping drive a revolution in payment acceptance and processing. 

For retailers, SoftPoS technology can help slash queues thanks to mobile in-store consultants equipped with a smartphone or tablet ready to take payments. Although it doesn’t take an analyst to deduce that consumers are busy and don’t like to be kept waiting, the sheer gravity of this issue might come as a surprise.

Rethinking the in-store experience

According to a report from Box Technologies and Intel, 86% of UK shoppers avoid stores if they perceive the queue to be too long, while nearly three-quarters (73%) would abandon their purchase if they had to queue for more than five minutes. Not only that, a similar figure (74%) would shop with a competitor if they perceive the queue time to be quicker. 

With seven out of 10 consumers less likely to return to a shop if they had experienced long waits, businesses that fail to address these inefficiencies not only damage brand loyalty, they also risk denting their revenues. 

Several retailers have seen benefits in removing tills and instead enabling their sales associates to be proactive on the shop floor, assisting with customer queries and handling purchases concurrently. One way retailers can do this is by downloading SoftPoS capabilities into a device that also helps them look at stock availability and other common queries that the customer might have. 

The consumer demand for ease 

Many enterprises are only beginning to scratch the surface of SoftPoS capabilities – but with businesses in all sectors looking to secure an edge over the competition, tapping into SoftPoS technology and the benefits it brings is a smart choice. 

Driven by a compelling business need for greater efficiency, speed and convenience, merchants who seek out ways to meet the demands of their customers will be positioned to succeed. 

With continued innovation we’ll see the expansion of SoftPoS technology across more markets and sectors as this revolutionary tool becomes a prolific method of payment acceptance.