(This article originally appeared in the Ask the Expert series on www.drapersonline.com, September 2013)
Fashion retailers with high street presence need to stay ahead of the game in the technology stakes. Online purchasing gets easier with time so a great way of keeping customers engaged in-store is by making the most of new pay technologies. But with a £20 spending limit on contactless bank cards, how can fashion retailers benefit?
In Oasis, Warehouse, Coast and Karen Millen stores, customers can now pay with a PayPal app on their mobiles. Shoppers download the app and make it secure with a four digit PIN. When they want to pay, they simply take their items to the till to be scanned, log into the app and the cashier scans the barcode that appears on the mobile screen. The payment is charged to the customer’s PayPal account and there’s no need for any cards, cash, PIN etc.
This technology isn’t as expensive as many retailers might expect – PayPal have already developed the app and the customer brings one element of the process in the form of their mobile.
Retailers can reach shoppers both in-store and through their advertisements with QR codes. Including a QR code on a poster means consumers can scan the code and be taken straight to that item on the retailer’s website, where they can proceed to purchase the product, bypassing any queues altogether and in many cases without having to even enter the store.
American Express cardholders can now purchase with a tweet. Customers have to sync their card with their Twitter account and can take up offers from participating merchants by tweeting the given purchase hashtag, then re-tweeting the confirmation tweet from Amex within 15 minutes of receiving it. Currently, customers can only buy items that are part of the Twitter sale, found in the American Express ‘favourites’ page on Twitter.
What else is new?
PayPal have also launched a new app that allows shoppers to use their mobile phones to make payments by ‘checking in’ to a restaurant or shop through their first name and picture. Richmond High Street in London is one of the first to use ‘pay with your face’ technology in the UK.
The app maps nearby shops and restaurants that accept this payment method and the customer uses the app to ‘check in’ to one. When checked in, the customer’s name and profile photo appear on the shop’s payment system. To purchase, the customer goes to the till point and the cashier simply clicks on their photo to take payment, meaning shoppers don’t need to worry about having cards, cash or change on them.
In its own way, this payment method is a more personal customer experience. The cashier has to register their customer’s name and face, rather than waiting for them to simply input their PIN. As pay technology moves away from traditional methods, the aim for retailers should be to reduce queue time and make transactions a simpler and better experience for their customers.
In a report published earlier this month, called the Grimsey Review, former Wickes and Focus DIY boss Bill Grimsey calls on major retailers, central government and local authorities to revolutionise the high street with sophisticated technology that will engage ‘busy’ consumers. The review imagines a high street where a shopper can let retailers access their email and phone identity to be targeted with local and personalised deals – another time saving technology. This is also in line with QR code technology, so retailers can engage a potentially passive market and reduce the time customers spend queuing in stores.
How can we help?
At Michael Page, our clients get the benefit of partnering with a recruitment agency that can offer multi-discipline expertise. If you’re looking to expand your capabilities in this area you can work with our buying and merchandising team as well as our fashion design and development, technology and digital businesses for a joint solution to ensure you’re at the forefront of retail developments.
Fashion is changing. Get in touch with one of the Michael Page Fashion team to find out more and stay ahead of the game.