2016 – The year the e-wallet will take off

Payment market predictions for the year ahead
Peter Moore, CEO Lolly

The anticipation and launch of Apple Pay was one of the most prominent payment stories in the media this year but, as it was with contactless, the actual adoption trends have not caught up with the hype.

Evolving payment schemes

This year’s cap on interchange charges for processing card transactions have helped to protect merchants and consumers in the short-term, but have translated to ever-shrinking margins for the banks.  Moore believes it is only a matter of time until banks find new ways of profiting from payment schemes and that they will likely start charging consumers a fee for card, and even e-wallet services, as a result. We may see a rise in cash payments as this balance is redressed, but I have no doubt we’ll see big players in the e-wallet industry rising to the occasion to develop a solution – especially the ones that already specialise in direct to bank transactions.

Speaking of e-wallet and the full customer experience  2016 is the year we’ll see these offerings really take off. That doesn’t mean everyone will suddenly be paying for everything with their smartphone, although these transactions are on the up  we’ll see even more of them. The real value of e-wallet apps is the data that they link into.

We’ll see retailers tapping into this wealth of data to build better relationships with their customers through personalised promotions and on-the-spot loyalty offers.  This type of activity will increase as we see new technologies converge and become commercialized.

Even more impactful is linking consumer’s e-wallet seamlessly to other data Clouds. A good example of this is nutritional information and allergens of the products they are buying through the e-wallet , so a customer with a nut allergy will be alerted at the till if they are buying a brownie with nuts, for example.

We can achieve this level of data sharing now from a technology perspective, but still need to jump the political and consumer safety hurdles of data privacy. The benefits to the consumer outweigh the risks, however, and I predict we’ll starting seeing more data-driven transactions in the latter half of 2016.

Integrating apps with EPoS

Thanks to the proliferation of the Cloud, we are now more capable than ever of building flexible systems without sacrificing security and robustness.

Next year we will see more retailers and hospitality providers adopting bi-modal IT to enable a secure ‘back-end’, keeping systems up and running safely whilst working alongside increasingly agile and flexible systems. This combined approach creates an environment that allows vendors to integrate EPoS technology with third party and in-store apps, providing a more interactive experience for consumers both on and offline.

With the help of bi-modal IT, we will see things like smartphone apps for interactive food order forms rather than just static menus, upping takeaway sales for a local curry house, for example. Or retailers obtaining more visibility into traffic data, allowing them to balance staffing levels against busiest times in-store – creating an improved experience for shoppers.

Bi-modal IT also supports interactive location-based technology like iBeacons, which can alert consumers to relevant offers and products via their smartphones when they approach specific displays, creating a richer shopping experience tailored to what each customer is looking for.

Technology will continue to power innovation in the payments sector in 2016 and beyond.  We’ll see more disparate systems working together to improve efficiency and enhance the overall experience for customers and opportunities for vendors.

 

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