In part one of this series, we examined the four major technological pain points that merchants are experiencing today. Part two will provide four tips that merchants can use today to end the confusion and difficulty involved in emerging payment technologies. From determining business value to assessing competition, choosing the right technology for your business will take some time and effort. Like most things in life, having the patience to not rush out for the shiny object will have a major impact on your plan’s ability to sink or swim.
It’s easy to look for the quick fix or flashy platform, but to repeat: do your homework! You should understand clearly the business value that any payment solution delivers. Is the solution a nice to have or is it a must have? Is the company reputable? What is the exact cost involved? Never forget to ask the small questions – especially when it comes to the “big picture”. Before making a final decision have an in-depth understanding of how the solution will improve your business and look at ways it has helped others in similar environments.
Moore’s Law isn’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future. Technology continues to move at an incredible pace and the payments industry has not been left behind. Widespread debit card use really didn’t pick up until the 90s and mobile payments are already looking to send plastic to the recycle bin. On top of selecting a viable solution, merchants should look for services that offer multiple payment options including multi-tender, loyalty, gifting and context aware marketing solutions. The more versatile a solution, the more likely it will survive in the long run.
How is your competition leveraging new technologies? By taking the time to assess the competition – from mom and pops to big boxes, you’ll see new and potentially innovative ways that these businesses are creating and maintaining customer relationships. These recon missions can become invaluable to smart business owners looking to tailor in-store promotions and rewards programs to meet consumer demands and their company’s needs.
At the end of the day, every improvement you make or program you create is for your customers. The ultimate goal of implementing new technology is to convert customers and keep them interested in your products or services over the long haul. Any successful business has a firm understanding of its customers’ needs and wants. A smart business will make sure to test these desires against any new technology or service it plans to add. If a solution is going to positively impact your customers’ experience, it’s something you must consider for sustaining great customer relationships.
It’s much easier for early-adopting consumers to adapt to technological changes. For consumers, features like mobile payments and virtual loyalty programs are all sunshine, rainbows and a great step for mankind. Unfortunately, merchants living on the other side of the coin are faced with making major tech decisions with new competitors and obstacles around every corner. By following these tips, you’ll be in a great position to compete and avoid hurdles along the way.