The Candid Voice in Retail Technology: Objective Insights, Pragmatic Advice

Retail Payments: When the Future Becomes Now

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In three years' time, retailers expect mobile and digital payments to catapult from almost nothing to a major piece of their payments environment. But they aren't looking to their traditional payment partners to lead them through this maze of payments change — they expect consumer-focused technology companies to take charge. Why would retailers look in this direction? Because they expect that consumers — not retailers, and not even traditional payments providers — will dictate how payments will be presented in the future.

Key Findings:

  • A surprising number of retailers (38%) agree that they are stuck until some solution to rising processing fees is presented to them. But “uncertainty about the technical future of payments” trumps all, even for Winners.
  • A winning Payments behavior is to focus first and foremost on the customer, and then to worry about “everything else”. While Retail Winners are happy enough to optimize internal processes to gain cost savings, their primary focus is on what is right for the customer. Cost is secondary.
  • In the largest organizations, it appears that, even though they are the main believers of a dedicated "Customer Experience" organization, payments does not appear to be a strategic consideration in that experience.
  • Store Operations seems to be the largest sticking point for payment innovations, even topping the list for Winners as an organization requiring more education about payments.
  • Absolutely no payment technology's value translates into budgeted plans for the future. This is a direct result of much of the uncertainty that retailers feel about the future direction that payments will take. Even mobile — the current darling of payments — has at best a moderate group of retailers willing to invest.
This report contains analysis of the business drivers, opportunities, and organizational constraints surrounding new payment systems and practices being used in the retail industry. The report is part of RSR Research's ongoing efforts to provide market intelligence on retail technology trends. To find out more, download the full report.

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Benchmarks March 6, 2013
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