Every month, Vantiv and PYMNTS.com team up to deliver the latest news in developer spaces. Here’s the overview of the Developer Tracker published in April 2017.
Tech-driven commerce might conjure up images of eCommerce giants and large national retailers that offer advanced capabilities like curbside pickup, real-time inventory and mobile point of sale (POS) systems. But what about grocery stores? Considering that consumers visit grocery stores an average of 1.6 times per week, they are a prime place to enhance shopping experiences and leverage some of the benefits that advanced commerce technology can provide.
Amazon and Kroger are making headlines with advancements aimed at speeding up the grocery purchase process. But for smaller grocery stores and specialty food and beverage chains, keeping pace with the resources and technology offered by large chains can be difficult.
There are solutions that can help these smaller businesses stay on the cutting edge and compete with the big players in the grocery game. April’s Developer TrackerTM features an interview with Burt Aycock, director of design for ECR Software, a company that develops solutions for smaller grocery and specialty food and beverage merchants. In the interview, Aycock explains how these smaller businesses can use technology to give consumers a taste of the convenience offered by larger chains.
According to a recent report, nearly 50 percent of grocery store shoppers both in the U.S. and around the world make decisions about where to shop based on convenience. And some of the biggest players are using self-service technology to make trips to the store faster, more convenient and safer than ever. Aycock says that smaller chains and stores can invest in technology like self-checkout terminals to satisfy consumers looking for more convenience. He goes on to say that online sales systems can give smaller chains a big boost when it comes to competing with larger national names.
Aycock’s team at ECR recently released an online shopping module, designed to allow smaller stores the ability to accept online orders that can be picked up in-store by consumers, similar to services being offered by large national chains. “That’s really just another POS lane when it comes down to it,” Aycock says of online sales capabilities, noting that much of the same software and code that powers in-store sales can be used for online channels. “It’s really just about bringing that same sales technology from in-store to the cloud and putting a user-friendly interface on it so that consumers can make their purchases online in a simple fashion.”
While consumers may want more convenience and control over their visits to grocery and specialty food stores, they don’t want speed to come at the price of security. “People have a lot of fear and uncertainty about security, so we always look to develop solutions that are obviously stringent and tough but also easy for retailers and consumers to understand and follow through on,” he explains.
But that doesn’t mean security should remove simplicity from transactions, either. It’s a hard balance to strike, Aycock says, but consumers expect digital convenience and safety to go hand in hand.
In order to offer safe transactions without wasting customers’ time, Aycock says that merchants should look for solutions that combine speed with security. That includes biometric and tokenization features that can be embedded directly into a store’s payments system, such as the OneTouch solution, a biometric fingerprint scanner that tokenizes data while cashiers ring up items.
- A cashless Coachella, with help from Square
Organizers of this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival announced that all vendors will accept Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay via Square. Coachella also has a digital partnership with American Express this year where the festival’s app will allow Amex members to link their cards for a chance to win rewards during the festival. Other music festivals have used RFID (radio frequency identification) for payments, where users link their payment cards to wristbands. Lollapalooza, for example, has been using RFID technology since 2014.
- TransferWise turns to chatbots
TransferWise customers will now be able to perform banking and financial transactions via their Facebook accounts. The London-based company announced that it developed a chatbot to help users communicate and complete transactions with businesses. The chatbot is designed to send money to and from the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and Europe from Facebook Messenger. It can also be used to set up exchange rate alerts. Domestic money transfers are already possible on Facebook Messenger, but TransferWise claims that its service will be the first to enable money transfers globally.
- Deutsche Bank offers HCE payments to German customers
Customers of Deutsche Bank in Germany can now make host card emulation–based mobile payments, according to NFC World. Bank executives said in a statement that customers can download the Deutsche Bank mobile app onto their Android smartphones and then use their Mastercard credit or debit cards to make cashless payments worldwide at Mastercard acceptance points. Deutsche Bank has approximately 300,000 customers who have both a Mastercard product and an Android smartphone.