Post COVID-19: The Payment Convenience Customers Still Want
Published April 4, 2021
The USA has been relatively slow to adopt the newer, more secure and more convenient methods of payment that have evolved over the past two decades. The emergence of a global pandemic, however, rapidly increased the rate of adoption of these technologies by consumers, as well as their availability to establishments, through established and emerging companies.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic it was the retailer or establishment who dictated which payment methods they offered. Post COVID-19, whilst it is still going to be the retailers and establishments who decide which payment methods they offer, customers are now much more conscious of the wider variety of payment methods now available to them and they're going to expect them. This is partially due to how COVID-19 spreads and, as a result, many customers may now elect to forego a visit to, or placing an order with, an establishment purely based on the payment options and methods available to them. In other words, staying in touch with customer trends for payments is a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Online and Over-The-Phone Payments Post COVID-19
There has been an accelerated growth of online, telephone, and in-app ordering as a result of the global pandemic and, as we mentioned in a previous post [LINK], this is all here to stay post-pandemic.
Previously, some locations allowed customers to place orders online but they had to pay when they came in to collect their order. Along the same vein, many locations took telephone orders but saved the payment element of the transaction for when the customer came to pick up their order. This is not going to be the way forward for many consumers, who are going to prefer locations which offer them online payments or the option of contact-free payment and pickup, and, thus, are going to make their choices known through where they choose to shop.
The Rise of Tap-and-Go Payments for Contactless Pickup
One payment method which rapidly increased in popularity once venues began opening back up was Tap-and-Go or contactless payments. Whilst this was first used inside venues and was designed to speed up the payment process, many venues have found that it increases overall customer comfort and satisfaction both inside and outside their locations.
Using contactless payments to facilitate contactless orders is where we've seen this payments method really grow in popularity. Offering contactless pickup by providing contactless payment options provides those customers who don't want to enter your venue with peace of mind, and ensure that they'll keep returning because of how their needs are catered to.
The Rise of eWallets
Convenience is up there alongside safety as one of the top reasons why customers are going to want to use a contactless method of payment. It is also worth keeping in mind the wide variety of payment methods now available to the consumer, and those which are increasing in use.
EWallets, principally Apple Pay and Google Pay, for which ActiveMenus offers integration, are becoming more and more widely used by consumers. In 2016 over 90 million unique individuals made payments through eWallets, and the trend was only increasing.
In 2020, with eWallets overtaking cash as a percentage of face-to-face transactions for the first time, we can see that consumers are beginning to transition toward convenience and ease when it comes to payments. Contactless payment methods are forward looking and consumer focused, and restaurants who want to keep their finger on the pulse, especially those frequented by younger consumers, should seriously consider integrating functionality for these payments into their locations.
Customers who have become attached to the convenience of using eWallets, will use them as often as possible and it is permissible to think that the availability of these options will determine where some consumers shop.
Post-Pandemic Payments Focus on Safety and Convenience
Contactless payments are now a double edged sword. Whereas, before, it was quite optional as to whether a venue provided them for the convenience of their customers, now customers are searching for these options with their own safety and wellbeing in mind.
As more people receive payment cards with the ability to make contactless payments expect more consumers to be looking for this option. Also, as more and more customers open up to the newest contactless and hassle free payment option available to them, eWallets, expect many more customers coming through the door wanting to pay with just a tap of their mobile devices.
The pandemic significantly sped up the use of contactless payments, turning them from a novelty into something more than a convenience for the consumer. Just like with forever evolving food trends restaurants need to see this and react to it positively, listening to customers and providing them with what they want.
We're heading into a word where money is moving toward being electronic and being, literally, transferred through the air. Keeping an eye on consumer trends, and keeping up to speed with them in this now very cautious world, can send the right message to your customers and display to them that you are keeping up with the times and listening to their needs.