What’s clear is that customers want mobile payments as well as engaging experiences and there is a direct link between offering these solutions and increased sales.

Market leaders can do more to drive confidence and build smooth and easy purchases, so that consumers can buy and pay for whatever they want, whenever they want it, and wherever they are.

Retailers in North America will agree that the total brand experience is paramount, regardless of whether it’s online or offline. Consumers are looking for products online and buying them in-store, or sometimes they see things in-store and then buy online. The omnichannel shopping experience is becoming extremely relevant.

The Amazon Go concept store, which does not use cashiers, is an example of how payments can be embedded into larger shopping experiences, writes Joe Leija, a general manager of North America at Ingenico ePayments. IMAGE: Bloomberg News

Retailers that facilitate mobile shopping and mobile payments will be best positioned to leverage all touch points and connect with their customers wherever they are. An extensive study by PwC Global in 2016 revealed that in-store shoppers in the U.S. stated that “the most attractive feature to enhance their shopping experience is the ease of checkout.”

The growing uptick in connected devices combined with increasing pressure on brick-and-mortar retailers served as a catalyst for new solutions that combine contactless payments technology with traditional retailers’ need to drive footfall. As a result, payments service providers have begun to develop in-store integrated mobile shopping experiences that have been proven to drive conversion rates up to 4 to 5 times higher than other drive-to-store promotions and solutions.

This is an excellent example of how the mobile and physical worlds are blurring pre-existing borders that connect on and offline experiences. Amazon Go has certainly pushed these boundaries already and merchants as well as consumers should expect to see new innovations and adaptations as the industry evolves further.

It’s no secret that most people only notice their payments when it’s a hassle or something goes wrong. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

What if the checkout process was turned into a fun experience? Research has been indicated for years that gamification increases engagement across verticals and enhances experiences. It seemed only logical to apply this theory to the checkout process as well.

Recently, there have been a number of solutions brought to market that infuse the checkout experience with the excitement that comes with the chance to win rewards. Even better, the gamified checkout process can be adapted for both online and instore transactions, offering games such as a scratch card, a slot machine and a wheel of fortune, all of which give consumers an opportunity to immediately win prizes related to their purchase. It is also an extremely powerful tool to help increase retailers’ social media presence, with consumers encouraged to quickly and easily share their win on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Tests show that by adding gamification, merchants can increase the volume and value of transactions and boost conversion. In addition, making payments fun and giving consumers an opportunity to win something has been shown to increase "stickiness" and grow customer loyalty to your brand, which exactly what merchants need in our hyper-connected world.

There has been a lot of talk recently about the “Payment Moment of Truth, " or that critical moment when a customer has journeyed through the e-commerce environment or the physical store, filled their shopping cart and arrived at the checkout, only a click or swipe away from converting. This is where the magic happens.

Creating the right journey, which includes a positive or fun experience as well as trustworthy payment methods, is vital to bringing the customers to the moment that they are willing to click “buy” or swipe their card and pay.

Joe Leija

Joe Leija

Joe Leija is general manager of North America at Ingenico ePayments.