Last week I impressed my wife.
Now, this isn’t normally enough to warrant a blog post, it does happen reasonably regularly (I hope). The reason it is significant is that I impressed, maybe astounded, her whilst out shopping. And it was something that has been the norm in my head for quite a while. In fact I was a little surprised at how un-mainstream the act I committed was.
All I did was pay via contactless payment.
For a few minutes after I felt like David Blaine. I had performed the ultimate magic trick. Forget freezing myself in a block office or levitating, I had managed to get out of a shop ten seconds earlier than I would have done previously. Questions were thrown at me – “How did you pay for that so quickly?”, “I didn’t see you enter your PIN”, “Are you sure we’re not stealing this?”, “Was the card machine broken?”
Surely everyone knows about and understands contactless? I hear about it regularly. Granted I work in Retail Technology but still I thought it was commonplace. This got my mind thinking back to the transaction in question. I wasn’t prompted to use contactless and there was no information around the payment device telling me I could. “Put your card in the machine” was how the instruction was given to me by the store staff.
Not a week goes by without a story in Retail Week about a new retailer adopting contactless payment. A few weeks ago Boots became the latest major high street player to deploy. This is becoming mainstream technology. The question now is how do we kick start the contactless revolution? Is there enough there to make me use it every time. I’m well trained in putting my card in and entering my PIN. I try and use contactless whenever I can but more often than not I remember too late and my card is already inserted.
If I ultimately think why I chose to use contactless I can put it down to the fact that I saw the model number of the PED, knew it supported contactless and just did it. That’s not very mainstream is it?
The next shop we came to on our shopping trip also offered contactless so I decided the time was right to reveal the secret of my success. Facing the risk of being kicked out of the magic circle, I peeled back the curtain and explained all.
“Remember that advert where the man was going down the big waterslide (or was it a roller coaster)?” this was going well. “How do you think he paid so quickly?”
I placed my card on the screen, the four lights turned green and the receipt popped out. In this shop it wasn’t my wife that was confused but the shop assistant – “Did you enter your PIN ? You need to enter your PIN”.
I then explained to her about what I had done. My magician status restored.
The trouble is that since all this happened I have started to notice the scare stories about contactless. From people stealing card details as they walk by me or being charged multiple times if I stand too close to a counter, it is being painted as a bad thing and a sure-fire way to lose your money. The very fact you are on this site reading this blog tells me you know these stories are nonsense. For most “normal” people I really think this is the perception of contactless. People thought 4 digit numbers were less secure than a signature. Now they have to get used to the ide that just waving (holding against a screen) a bit of plastic is more secure than a PIN. They need to be educated and it has to start with the in-store experience.
I’ve made a start. Whenever I don’t get prompted to use it in a shop I will rectify the situation. Apparently shopping with me is “no fun anymore”. I’ve never seen someone adopt contactless as a philosophy as quickly as my wife does on a shopping trip together. Unfortunately I’m not talking about card payments.
Posted by Mark Denton, Head of Solution Consulting, BT Expedite
Why go mobile? That’s the question many retailers are wrestling with at the moment and there are many watching the trendsetters for evidence of ROI. As someone who has led a successful in-store mobile pilot project, Brian Scott from Pets at Home shared his experiences at the Retail Unleashed event held recently in BT Tower…
Brian explained that mobile is all about cutting the umbilical cord from the back office to liberate colleagues. For Pets, this wasn’t possible before, because the technology hadn’t reached a point where they could genuinely replicate and improve paper processes digitally.
Video: Brian Scott of Pets at Home shares his mobile experience and describes the benefits of liberating in-store colleagues [3m 26s]
Wrong said FRED
That’s not to say it was all plain sailing. The retailer’s first move into mobile – a pre-pilot project called FRED (Fish Record Entry Device) – was an eye-opening experience for everyone involved, and a huge amount was learned from it. One thing which was clear to Brian – and that we see across the board with our client mobile initiatives – is that to be successful, Pets at Home needed the involvement of enthusiastic, critical colleagues from day one.
Why? Because they’re the ones using the devices and facing the customers. In fact, Brian’s store colleagues ultimately came up with creative additional in-store applications for their new mobile tool that, when added together, made a terrific impact – not just through soft benefits, but on the ROI.
PetPad – Pets Unleashed
All of that shaped the roll-out and success of the new ‘PetPad’; an interactive, integrated iPad mini with digital forms, fun creative in the spirit of the Pets Brand, guided processes and prompts. With standard digital processes and instant access to centrally stored customer and loyalty VIP data, it allows the pet form data and customer basket to be captured away from the till, throughout the customer journey in the store, and has proved a real game changer.
Brian’s top tips for mobile success? Choose a partner who feels as passionately about your business and what you are trying to achieve, as you do. Involve your frontline colleagues at every stage. And be brave. Go in for what you need, don’t do it half-heartedly, because mobile can be truly transformational.
Thank you Brian, Kevin and Pets’ wider team for such a great project.
Posted by Tanya Bowen, Director Customer Engagement , BT Expedite