Voice of the Industry

Converging payment channels: how mobile, social media and bricks-and-mortar connect

Thursday 30 June 2022 08:46 CET | Editor: Andra Constantinovici | Voice of the industry

Simon Buchwaldt-Nissen from Nets Merchant Services takes a page out of Nets’ Payments Outlook 2022 and explains the latest trends moving the payment industry forward at the moment

Today’s consumers know they can exercise more power in the retail space and merchants need to be prepared to adapt to the challenges ahead. The retail space is evolving rapidly, with the proliferation of digital channels, social media and mobile all playing a huge part in the consumer payment experience. 

But that doesn’t mean that brick-and-mortar is dead. In fact, expectations are higher than ever to deliver an enhanced experience that can complement retailers’ online strategy. And to do that, data insights on customer behaviour is crucial. Let’s dive into these emerging trends to find out how merchants can raise their game to meet rising expectations. 

Payments on par with products

Retail is moving towards a reality where consumers and merchants interact without distinguishing between channels. The customer cares about a seamless experience, not whether the interaction is in a brick-and-mortar store, on a merchant’s social media page, or browsing its webstore. 

Experience is king, and consumers expect to be able to pay whatever value, in whatever way suits them, at all times. This is a critical factor in conversion: 80% of consumers say that the shopping experience is just as important as the product. Merchants risk losing customers if the payment experience is poor, even if the product they are selling is desirable.

Undoubtedly, retail tomorrow will revolve around a digital core – more on that later – but that does not mean that brick-and-mortar stores are irrelevant. Rather than downscaling physical outlets, merchants can reimagine stores to provide an opportunity for deeper bonds with customers, delivered through enhanced customer experiences. 

‘SoftPOS’ systems, which turn a smartphone into a payment acceptance device, are entering the market. This can be seen as a turning point in the transition from ‘point-of-sale’ (POS) to ‘point-of-interaction’ (POI) in store, where payment does not have a designated location. The ability to take a payment anywhere in store removes the customer friction of standing in line to pay at the cash register. It also frees up staff to help customers around the store and take payment without delay. 

Payment experiences on social media

Although all channels are important and work together to create a holistic customer journey, social media is expected continue driving retail growth. Around 75% of the total European population has a presence on social media, and a large proportion of those are active daily users. This can be a double-edged sword, as the immense potential offers a clear opportunity to reach and interact with customers, yet brands also face fierce competition for consumers’ limited attention. 

Yet commerce via social media is certainly growing. Some merchants are now integrating products directly into Instagram profiles to promote specific products and use-cases. This enables users to create wish lists, save posts for inspiration and interact directly with their favourite brands. Ensuring an increasingly integrated shopping experience, where consumers do not leave the platform to finalise purchases, could provide a big conversion boost to merchants. 

Payments in your pocket

The payment form factor has evolved over years, from cash to cheque to card, and now mobile payments are taking over. European smartphone penetration is among the highest in the world, at around 95% in 2021 and expected to grow to around 99% by 2024. In addition to enhancing convenience and security, the mobile evolution brings infinite payment opportunities. It also already enjoys a high level of consumer trust, as so many of us are wedded to our phones, using them for almost any possible feature you can imagine. 

Mobile POS payments (billion EUR)

Value of mobile wallet payments at physical stores (source: Statista)

Digital data on consumer journeys

Merchants around Europe are introducing apps that bring a direct interaction channel to the consumer, and importantly, increase merchant control over the customer journey. As part of this, apps with integrated payment functionalities will become increasingly common. Merchants can gain valuable extra data insights on customer behaviour, while customers get access to personalised offers and a streamlined shopping experience. These embedded payments are a powerful driver of retail growth and present a natural opportunity for expansion.

A key enabler for growth is the ability to seamlessly identify the consumer and to provide a service that utilises their digital activity too. There are multiple ways merchants can do this, such as with biometrics, QR codes or app check-ins. It’s important not to be afraid to experiment with new technology and merchants are recognising they can create intriguing and immersive customer experiences by combining data from in-store and online shopping. 

This data will be key in enabling payments to ‘just happen’, rather than be a cumbersome process that consumers need to think about. By unlocking the power of joined-up digital payments, merchants can maximise data to deliver consumers a seamless experience, wherever and however they choose to shop. 


About Simon Buchwaldt-Nissen

Simon Buchwaldt-Nissen is Head of Strategy and Transformation, MS Product & Engineering at NetsSimon Buchwaldt-Nissen is Head of Strategy and Transformation, MS Product & Engineering at Nets. Simon has been working for Nets since 2014. He specialises in strategy, innovation and transformation, with strong business acumen and more than 15 years of experience in the area. The majority of Simon’s work is within growth-oriented projects/customers, seeking the nexus between technical ability and commercial opportunity.

About Nets

Nets company executive talks about softPOSBelieving in simplicity and security as the foundation for growth and progress, Nets powers payment solutions for an easier tomorrow for banks, businesses and consumers across Europe. Nets is a part of Nexi Group - a leading European PayTech. For more information please see: www.nexigroup.com 

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Keywords: SoftPOS, mobile payments, contactless payments, ecommerce, ecommerce platform
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: Nets
Countries: Europe
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce


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