Mobile Payment Industry Innovations Driving Online, In-Store Sales

cashless payment transaction

Digital wallets are fast becoming consumers’ preferred way to pay, both in and out of the store. According to industry reports, almost two-thirds of U.S. smartphone users will use a mobile wallet app to transact monthly in 2024, up from half in 2021.

The future of mobile payments also intersects with the rapid growth of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Integrating these technologies into mobile payment systems can revolutionize cross-border transactions, reduce transaction fees, and increase transparency.

Mobile payment options have emerged as a pivotal innovation, especially for e-commerce. They provide convenience, security, and versatility that have transformed how businesses conduct transactions.

However, this process will only continue to work where customers have an easy and safe way to complete their transactions. Unless banks and vendors agree to universal payment solutions, the impetus driving mobile e-comm payments could fizzle out.

The key to mobile payment sustainability hinges on both shopper approval and merchant support for the platform. Should merchants resist or feel uncomfortable with the system they must adopt, even if shoppers approve, the efficiency and completion rate of transactions could still suffer.

Another influencing factor is the growing popularity of mobile shopping apps that offer a superior user experience compared to mobile websites or progressive web apps (PWAs), enabling retailers to deepen customer relationships, strengthen brand loyalty, and drive transformational return on investment opportunities, according to Lawrence Snapp, CEO of AI-powered app developer Bryj.

“The consumer mindset around the use of mobile payments is changing rapidly. Consumers are increasingly adopting and using mobile pay, whether it be for in-store or in-app purchases,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Pushing the Mobile Payments Craze

Two things started the adoption of mobile payments with consumers. One is the lack of physical shopping availability throughout the pandemic. The second was perhaps a lingering dislike for always having to carry cash. Mobile payments solved that issue for many shoppers.

To adapt to changing consumer demands, some physical store retailers jumped on board to get ahead of a potential new curve by installing physical terminals that gave customers more flexibility in how they paid for purchases.

For example, one accommodation pointed capture cameras toward the counter to quickly grab digital wallet bar codes. However, that strategy proved less useful for all physical store vendors.

Other hurdles required more involved solutions, such as absorbing the cost of upgrading to newer mobile payment platforms. An even bigger issue was ensuring that whatever systems vendors adopted complied with payment card industry (PCI) requirements.

A big push in transitioning to mobile payment schemes was the opportunity of Buy Now, Pay Later, or BNPL, which sprouted during Covid-19.

“This growing demand for mobile payments is the result of continued growth in mobile e-commerce. According to Statista, mobile e-commerce sales reached $2.2 trillion in 2023, accounting for 60% of all e-commerce sales globally,” offered Snapp.

Better ID Security Already Exists

As the world becomes increasingly digital, banking, shopping, and other forms of buying access are all becoming integrated into mobile devices. Money watchers predict that digital IDs will represent the majority of presented identity documents within five years.

Retailers must prepare for a significant period of change over the next 24 months, as there will be a shift in both business and consumer preferences towards mobile ID verification, according to Andrey Stanovnov, co-founder and CTO at IDScan.

E-commerce brands are expected to seek effective methods for validating mobile IDs. This effort aims to reduce risks associated with selling age-restricted products and to enhance fraud prevention measures overall.

IDScan’s platform for combatting digital fraud is one way retailers can ensure new mobile payment methods remain safe and secure, with a security protocol that standardizes mobile IDs to enable contactless data transfer.

“Every jurisdiction is building credentials in its own way, but all of them adhere to the same overall security features that ensure no customer data is ever at risk during the acceptance or verification process,” Stanovnov observed.

In today’s e-commerce workflow, consumer identity is being verified at some point during the buying process. A retailer will use an API to query the digital wallet where the ID is held to confirm identity.

“Ideally, this process happens rapidly, with a single click from the end user, allowing them to proceed through the transaction with minimal interruption, improving user experience and impacting checkout rates,” he explained.

More POS On-the-Spot Coming to Stores

Over the last 12 months, better banking support improved point-of-sale (POS) rendering for in-store payment convenience that mimicked the e-commerce trend. Customers also quickly adapted to tap-to-pay with credit cards and mobile wallets.

According to reports from fintech watchers, as last year’s shopping season closed out, half of the shoppers relied on contactless payment methods. Industry pundits suggest that BNPL companies will introduce new options to attract new users. That trend could force the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to regulate those services more effectively.

Mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) is a new option consumers can expect to see in place this year. These additions should get positive responses from both retailers and consumers in terms of better customer experiences.

Convenient for both buyers and sellers, mPOS consists of software and portable hardware that processes the vendor’s transactions, targeting retailers rather than customers. This setup offers both parties convenience, reliability, and speedy store exiting.

The mPOS system calculates sales totals, processes payments, tracks inventory, and collects business data, much like a traditional cash register and some existing payment platforms. Customers should be able to use any tablet, smartphone, or dedicated wireless device as a checkout point.

A big gain for store owners is that the process makes e-comm payments portable and wireless. It accepts digital wallet payments and Click to Pay through near-field communication (NFC).

Scan Free Transactions May Get a New Debut

Scan-free checkouts were a much-heralded innovation — until it wasn’t. Scan-free replacement for checkout registers in physical stores was a potentially good idea. However, consumer pushback and mounting revenue losses for vendors from faulty scanning or shopper conniving brought a rapid rethinking of the process.

Both merchants and shoppers are butting heads over self-check logistics, missed scans on products, and a growing distrust or desire to avoid such honor system transactions.

A return to human-operated check-out scanning lines is not desirable. The goal of eliminating that process is underway in some big box stores.

The new solution is RFID-based automatic scanning powered by AI-powered sensors. RFID sensors within the cart or overhead enter products shoppers place in their carts.

Where implemented, upon entering a store, shoppers show their membership or payment card. The purchases are automatically added to the shoppers’ accounts. When finished shopping, the consumer merely walks out the door without waiting in any checkout line.

More Payment Trends Amid Morphing Shopper Attitudes

The e-commerce sector will also continue to see the growth of familiar trends such as financing options, buy-now-pay-later schemes, and buy-online-pick-up-in-store methods. However, the significant advancement lies in the enhanced ability to verify customer identities remotely, Stanovnov observed.

“This development is set to accelerate these trends more securely than ever before,” he said.

Recent years have significantly shifted shoppers’ behavior towards mobile-centric solutions. Stanovnov sees a noticeable acceleration in the adoption of mobile payments, mobile identity verification, and mobile shopping.

“This trend is not just a tech-savvy youth phenomenon; it’s pervasive across all age groups,” he offered.

A telling example is Louisiana, the first state to launch a mobile ID, where over 70% of adults have installed the mobile ID app. This statistic reflects a strong consumer preference for digital consolidation, highlighting a widespread and growing comfort with mobile technology in everyday transactions, explained Stanovnov.

“The future of retail is mobile. From mobile checkout to virtual fitting rooms powered by AI and augmented reality, retailers are discovering new ways to blend physical and digital experiences and meet customers’ evolving demands,” noted Bryj’s Snapp.

Jack M. Germain

Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open-source technologies. He is an esteemed reviewer of Linux distros and other open-source software. In addition, Jack extensively covers business technology and privacy issues, as well as developments in e-commerce and consumer electronics. Email Jack.

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