3 questions to ... Andreas Stendera, B+S Card Service GmbH
Customers today want their shopping to be convenient and quick. The decisive factor is not only the price, but also especially the shopping experience. What consequences this has for the checkout, explains Andreas Stendera, head of sales at B + S Card Service GmbH.
What are the current challenges the payment process is facing in terms of new technologies and changing customer demands?
Customers want it the easy way. The payment process dictates how happy they are with their shopping experience. And they don’t want to have to worry about how they’re going to pay. This means there are three key requirements for the payment process: it must be fast, secure and convenient. In general customers are buying fewer products, but shopping more often. Long queues can spoil the whole experience. Modern terminals take just three seconds to process a payment, but paying contactless is even quicker when.
The important thing is that the system is robust and efficient. Give customers more than they ask for! For example, offer additional functions such as B+S easy load, which allows customers to top up prepaid cards. Also, new applications such as promo.pos (nominated as 2014 retail product of the year by trade magazine handelsjournal) will make it easier for retailers to execute targeted marketing campaigns at the POS. Appearances matter as well: a customer’s feel-good factor increases if a payment terminal strikes them as being high quality. Make paying a more pleasant experience!
As a card acceptance service provider, what do you think of the potential of mobile payment? Will it catch on in the near future?
Mobile card payment will take off – and will be widely used. In fact, it will already be available in a few German cities this year. From 2015, it will become a hot topic for German retailers, and will take an increasing market share. In particular, younger customers will quickly adopt this new payment method. If a retailer wants to remain attractive to this target group, they must ensure any new terminal is equipped with NFC technology. Over the next five to six years, mobile payment will take a market share of 15 to 20 per cent.
In this respect our European neighbours, such as Poland and the UK, are already one step ahead. But I’m confident we’ll catch them up. The “NFC City Berlin” initiative and its mobile wallet solution is the first step in this direction.
How can retailers make their payment processes fit for the future now?
Any retailer investing in a payment terminal must think of tomorrow’s demands today. A terminal shouldn’t become obsolete too quickly and must be equipped for future developments – whether in terms of technology or regulations. This means it needs to be NFC-enabled now. In addition to all the relevant security standards, it must be ready to meet the legal requirements of the next few years, such as TA 7.1 and TA 8.0. Downloadable software updates can help keep a terminal up to date over many years.
Moreover, in an increasingly international market, offering additional, attractive functions for customers from abroad can give retailers an edge over their competitors. For example, the B+S Tax Free function makes it easy for customers from non-EU countries to get a VAT refund, while the B+S DCC currency conversion function allows them to pay in their home currency. It’s important that retailers are ready for tomorrow’s trends, and keep an eye on their customers’ changing demands.