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5 ways payments technology is transforming shopping

February 16, 2017

As a sponsor of National Merchant Day, First Data is excited to help merchants both big and small discover all of the new ways payment technology is evolving for the better. With that in mind, this post will take a look at five ways that payments technology is enabling better, smoother transactions for customers—as well as smarter insights into buying behavior for merchants.

It’s become clear that payments technology is way more important to business success than merely allowing merchants to accept credit cards. In fact, this somewhat innocuous, ‘under-the-hood’ functionality is a surprisingly large differentiator for merchants seeking to provide an outstanding shopping experience for customers. Without further ado, let’s examine the five ways payments technology is transforming shopping—and what that means for you and your business.

1. More convenience

When it comes to shopping, easy is everything. Now, more than ever, customers want to shop how, when, and where they want. So, how do you deal with the ever-expanding expectations of being able to pay using smartphones and mobile devices? You start by choosing payments processing that has the capability to accept technology like Samsung Pay and Apple Pay. Once you’re able to consistently deliver a shopping experience that embraces various customer preferences, you’re well on your way to securing lifelong customers. (More on loyalty in a bit.)

2. More security

With the proliferation of hacking, phishing, and scamming in today’s marketplace, security continues to be of the utmost importance. That’s why it’s so critical for your business to accept EMV chip cards. What’s at stake if you don’t? Card fraud liability, for one. (And, depending on the amount of the transaction, that’s no small matter.) But it goes far beyond just protecting your business from liability. It’s also become equally important you address customers’ growing concerns about the security of their credit card information. Knowing your business has made the transition to this more-secure payment platform is one more reason security-minded customers would choose to do business with you rather than risk it elsewhere.

3. More connection

For most merchants, return customers are the lifeblood of their business. The equation is simple: customer shops store + store rewards customer = happy customer returns. The best way to capitalize on this fact is to ensure you have a loyalty program in place. Luckily, most of today’s smart payment terminals have loyalty programs already built-in, like Clover Rewards. It makes it easy for you to set up a system that helps you treat your customers to the personalized deals and attention they crave. It even lets you customize rewards with a points- or punch-based system and then choose rewards and loyalty levels that match your goals—and your customers’ tastes. Loyalty programs can revolutionize your approach to customer relationship management.

4. More engagement

Much in the same way a loyalty program rewards return customers, a gift card program can be instrumental in helping win new ones. How? They allow someone who might be outside a business’s target audience to come in and do business with a store or shop to give a gift to someone they love. Not only do they attract new customers, but it’s widely understood that customers are more likely than not to spend over and above the value of their gift card. Clover Gift Cards is a simple way to let your business sell digital and plastic gift cards. Again, it’s all about choice in the shopping experience—the more you offer, the more customers you’ll attract and engage.

5. More innovation

As you well know, apps make the world go around. But did you know it can be especially true for merchants? Check out some of these payments innovations and see how they’re transforming the shopping experience.
· Paywiz makes bill-splitting easier for consumers, while retaining individual customer insights and reducing associated headaches for merchants.
· Sezzle is a debit card that rewards like a credit card.
· Happy Returns is fixing the broken e-commerce returns process.
· CoinOut makes cash transactions easier by enabling consumers to save change to their phone—no more fumbling around the cash drawer.

Any one of these by itself could dramatically influence how customers perceive your shopping experience. But combining them leaves you empowered to make your shopping experience as pleasant and as memorable as possible.

As payments technology continues to evolve, it’s important for merchants to stay abreast with the latest and greatest. You’ll deliver more convenience, security, connection, engagement and innovation than you ever thought possible.

[image: Don’t Eat Any Yellow Snow by @wewon31 on flickr]