Contactless payment and Augmented Reality: CX aids during COVID
During the past year, brick and mortar retailers have struggled with encouraging people to visit their stores while keeping them as safe from COVID-19 as possible.
In addition to limiting the number of shoppers inside and enforcing mask-wearing mandates, contactless payments and augmented reality have suddenly seen significant growth as aids to shoppers’ experience in stores.
According to the “Visa Back to Business Study – 2021 Outlook,” 56% of consumers have used contactless payments whenever possible in the past three months, making it the biggest shift in terms of shopping habits during the pandemic.
This past June, only 20% of SMBs had offered contactless payments; a few short months later, 39% have started to accept new digital forms of payments.
And a vast majority — 74% — expect consumers to prefer contactless payments once a vaccine is widely available.
In fact, the study found that 65% of consumers said that post-vaccine they are likely to continue to use contactless payments at least as much as they are currently.
Those numbers skew by generation: Millennials are the most likely to embrace contactless payments.
However, all age demographics seem to have a level of interest in contactless payments, perhaps due to the sanitary nature of the system.
Because of its wide acceptance—61% of Boomers have expressed a preference for contactless, according to Visa—it is likely here to stay.
With consumers preferring to avoid contact even briefly during the payment process, it’s no surprise that dressing rooms are standing empty or even locked.
However, shoppers who try on clothing are much more likely to buy, so some retailers have replaced their shuttered fitting rooms with virtual ones.
In-store, shoppers can stand in front of a camera and see themselves on a large screen. They then select different products for their virtual self to model, allowing themselves to see exactly how they’d look in the selected outfit without having to try on a single piece.
Those mirrors could one day be linked to social media, which will provide an enriched interactive experience.
For retailers with an online presence, adding a dressing room widget to their websites allows customers to upload a single photo to instantly see themselves in selected clothing.
Using augmented reality to facilitate virtual try-ons also helps retailers reduce return rates.
As they head into 2021, retailers will be further developing those types of technology solutions, which helped get them through the pandemic.
Strategies that include contactless payments and AR will find expanded uses as the economy reopens in the second half of the year.