Mobile payments are a great idea. The notion of being able to take our mobile devices and use these as wallets in every bit the same way as our actual leather slabs full of cash is a heady one, one that’s increasingly being put to work. Yet mobile payments aren’t being used to their fullest, says PayPal’s chief operating officer Bill Ready, and that’s a point that can be addressed by improving the in-store experience.
Mobile payments don’t have much a problem when it comes to one part of the equation: actually paying for stuff. While there have been some complaints in the recent Europay / Mastercard / Visa (EMV) card switch and the whole dip-or-swipe issue, this is comparatively minor.
Most people didn’t bridle too hard, even in holiday shopping traffic, about the extra couple of seconds lost to dip-or-swipe. However, there are a lot of facets that could be better served by mobile payments, and this is where Ready suggests changes should occur. Things like connecting to a smart parking lot, for example, to tell users where a parking space is available, or a way to check inventory before even walking into the store to make sure the item in place is available. Even self-checkout services to help bypass the long lines at a checkout stand altogether can be a big help.
PayPal is said to be taking up a role in this, working to bring more things like beacons to stores and peer-to-peer (P2P) payment systems to the end user, allowing for more things like paying for babysitting, landscaping and similar services.
Ready describes a concept known as “customer experience,” the complete, start-to-finish process that covers everything a customer would come in contact with, from store décor to after-sales service. Improving the customer experience, on the whole, tends to make customers want to come back for later purchases. Thus, as Ready suggests, improving the customer experience—not just the actual checkout procedure but things like the parking lot and inventory checking notions—improves store performance and keeps customers coming back.
So improving the overall experience is giving retailers some extra hope going forward, and with some help from PayPal, more companies might be able to improve that start-to-finish experience.