Digital Payments in the Store of the Future

By ZOE TAN

Three lessons from the forefront of digital payment 

Singapore is universally acknowledged as one of the world’s smartest cities. It ranked first in the world for technology and innovation on the IESE Cities in Motion Index in 2019, for example, and fifth overall on the influential Global Power City Index in the same year. 

For anyone interested in the future of retail, Singapore is a glimpse of what’s to come. The most successful smart shopping solutions here both meet a real need and deliver a great customer experience. Here are three lessons we can learn from Singapore’s retail leading edge. 

Maximize omnichannel integration

Customers of today want the freedom to research, shop, and pay for products and services across multiple channels. They are finding what they need on a mobile device, going to their desktop to complete the purchase online, and returning it in the physical store. 

Consequently, an omnichannel solution is crucial, as it offers a single global platform to provide a seamless payment experience that unties the offline and online worlds, driving increased payment acceptance and global revenue while reducing the merchants’ costs. 

Make full use of automation 

Convenience and speed of service are important to consumers today. Automating the payment processes allows the customer lead the purchase journey and mitigates any pinch points along it. With digital accounts payable solutions, it’s possible to fully automate processes like invoices and payments across online and mobile devices anywhere in the world, making businesses less dependent on physical and manual interactions between people. 

This approach is ideal for businesses like supermarkets, boutiques, and even restaurants that want to provide a self-service shopping experience in a digitally controlled environment.

Deliver a customized experience

A personalized shopping experience helps build a long-term relationship with the customer. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) tools, including chatbots, smart stores, and personalized shopping tools, where  brands can use their payments data to gain real insights into customer preferences. In turn, these can support personalized special offers, recommendations, and reminders that make life easier for customers and earn their loyalty. 

Businesses that can replicate these three factors will gain immediate benefits, even more so with rising interest in contact-free transactions and in-store digital payment due to the global spread of COVID-19. As social distancing guidelines continue to change people’s attitudes to customer service, we can expect fast and easy mobile payments and AI-enabled personalization to come together to make shopping a safer and more enjoyable prospect for customers.

Case Study: Bringing the forecourt to the forefront of digital payments automation

Singapore’s first fuel payment app, introduced by the Caltex brand in September 2018, shows us how the above works.

The CaltexGO app lets users pay for fuel at a Caltex station right from their mobile phone. The result of a year of development by Chevron Singapore in partnership with VISA International and Global Payments Inc., the app addresses customers’ desire for a faster and simpler way to refuel. 

Around 60% of Caltex customers used CaltexGO in its first year of operation, with the volume of transactions on the platform increasing 6 times (600%) once the initial three-month trial period was complete.

The secret to CaltexGO’s success is that it meets a real customer need and delivers a great customer experience by harnessing integration, automation and customization.

1. Integration: More than 90% of Singaporeans have a smartphone, and the driving public is used to using their phones for navigation and access to up-to-the-minute information on traffic conditions and parking availability. CaltexGO leveraged this familiarity to imbue an offline chore with online capabilities, including location-based search and frictionless payment.

2. Automation: Chevron Singapore recognized that refueling was a chore often avoided by drivers due to many different reasons; the biggest of which: long queues. The answer was to automate the payment process for faster service, allowing customers to skip the queues for fuel payment via the CaltexGO app while also automatically earning rewards points, applying relevant discounts and receiving an electronic receipt. 

3. Customization: While streamlining the refueling process, CaltexGO also provides opportunities for Caltex to deliver a more personalized shopping experience. This currently includes exclusive fuel offers and rewards, or even user-specific in-store promotions set to be added in the near future. 

About the Author

Based in Singapore, Zoe is currently the Country Head in Singapore of Global Payments Asia Pacific. She possesses 20 years of extensive Business Development and Management experiences gleaned mainly from the Card Payment (both credit and debit cards) industry; she is a strong believer in mobile payment adoption in this age of digital transformation.

globalpaymentsinc.com

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