4 Signs that Payments and the Internet of Things are Merging Lanes
The Internet of Things is not a radically new concept. In fact, one example we can point to hits home with Banyan, given our history with kiosk and vending.
In the 1980s, scientists at Carnegie-Mellon installed micro-switches inside Coca-Cola vending machines and connected them to send data on how many bottles were in the machine and whether the bottles were cold or not. It wasn’t until nearly three decades later that we saw this concept manifest in many other ways. Today, IoT technology surrounds us in many forms: from personal assistants to connected vehicles and, now, it has come full circle in retail. IoT has become the last mile for enabling omnichannel retailing.
Omnichannel retail is about shopping anywhere and having seamless experiences — including experiences at the checkout counter (if one still exists). Payment technology continues to be critical to any retail strategy. The IoT has matured, both in capacity with the number of connected devices forecasted to grow to nearly 31 billion worldwide in the next two years, and capability through platforms that monitor and manage devices. Merchants can leverage the Internet of Things to fully realize omnichannel retailing by expanding their footprint with unattended checkout technology. Payments sit at the apex of IoT strategies being achieved and at the reinvention of retail.
Here are four reasons we expect payments and the Internet of Things to align.
Consumer expectations driving consistent payment options and experiences
The reinvention of retail starts and stops with the consumer. The millennial group — those between the ages of 18-36 — have spent most of their lives interacting with tech, as much if not more than with humans. They are the DIY, self-service and smart-tech generation. The next generation is all that and completely desensitized to technology as a way of life. Tiny little hands are mastering iPads even before they can walk, and teens are meeting friends in virtual playgrounds.
The bottom line is that the next generation of consumers will expect their payment options to be available and consistent when purchasing through self-service devices like kiosks and unattended devices. They will want to choose how they pay, whether its via swipe, scan or a tap on their smartphone or watch. Merchants will want end-to-end visibility into payments from these IoT endpoints.
Unattended and fully autonomous business models on the rise
I can summarize this in three words – “The Amazon Effect.” The realization of the fully autonomous store is not an aspirational goal in a business plan — it’s already being executed. Furthermore, retailers are battling competition online and down the block. Unattended retail paves the way to reinventing retail and enabling fully autonomous stores that can accelerate growth and reduce costs.
The success of an unattended retail environment requires an IoT platform that sits over top of the connected endpoints and provides real-time visibility into transactions and inventory, as well as the ability to personalize customer experiences with digital signage.
Loyalty programs are requiring tighter integration with payments
Loyalty programs are only a sure thing when they make our lives easier. Keep signup simple, make it last with no limits or restrictions and, above all, don’t let it interrupt my checkout experience. Let me pay how I want and still earn at checkout. As such, linking payments to loyalty will enable a frictionless experience at checkout.
As merchants implement checkout alternatives like click and collect, self-service kiosks will undoubtedly need centralized monitoring that provides visibility into transactions and loyalty.
Payment KPIs are a measure of ROI for unattended retail
Payment Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like the number of transactions, transaction type and amount are essential to monitoring performance and store sales. Through an IoT platform, merchants can have clear visibility and get real-time information on these KPIs for their payment devices, self-serve kiosks and point of sale systems. This not only optimizes operations, but it also allows merchants to measure ROI and protect the investments they’ve made in an unattended retail strategy.
Technology trends often start in separate lanes and over time they begin to cross paths as the industry matures and adoption grows. Just as mobility and cloud have merged in many ways, so too will IoT and payments. Consider how your payments strategy is reinforced by the Internet of Things, or how it is impacted. Conversely, if you’re implementing an IoT strategy in an unattended retail environment, make sure you’re incorporating the payments devices, and you’re leveraging insights to improve operations and store performance further.
Payments are the next big wave of innovation in the Internet of Things. Find out how an IoT platform like Canopy can provide help with device operations in addition to other features such as real-time monitoring and incident management.