Internet giant Google’s foray into the world of mobile payments could be the catalyst that sees retailers upgrade their electronic point-of-sale (EPoS) terminals, an industry expert argues.
‘Google Wallet’ allows customers to buy goods in store via their smartphones by simply tapping their handset on a reader, and should speed up and make easier the process of paying.
Having trialled the service since May this year, Google Wallet is set to be available worldwide at the end of this month but Scott Storey, Managing Director of technology solutions firm CTS Retail, argues that many firms are currently not capable of accepting payments made this way.
Storey said: “The introduction of Google Wallet will mean that many retailers will have to seriously look at their provision.
“It is an inevitable part of retail evolution. In the same way that we have moved from the audio cassette to CDs, to Digital download with music, I can see the migration of payment methods from cash to cheque, to debit /credit cards and now the latest technology - mobile phones with applications such as Google Wallet.”
Contactless payments have been available for a few months in the UK, at stores such as Wilkinsons, McDonalds and Tesco, but many have still needed to upgrade their in-store technology in order to support the solution.
This is because retailers tend to upgrade their EPoS systems only every five to seven years, and in these financially uncertain times there are risks attached to trying new things.
With Google Wallet and other potential mobile near field communication (NFC) systems joining contactless solutions onto the payments market however, Storey thinks an increasing number of retailers will want to review their EPoS capabilities.
“The modern consumer wants a complete, simple, stress free shopping experience regardless of channel, so I believe that we will see a slow adoption of this technology driven by consumer demand,” Storey added.
“It is inevitable that retailers will need to adopt this technology as NFC gets increasingly sophisticated and attractive to the modern technology savvy consumer, the only question is how long retailers can put it off before it starts to impact their sales.”