More c-stores are looking into frictionless payment options as Amazon raises the bar.
BRP’s 20th annual “POS/Customer Engagement Benchmark Survey” found 63% of consumers use mobile phones while shopping in stores to compare prices, view offers and check inventory. Meanwhile, 49% of retailers list customer mobile experience as a top customer engagement priority.
“C-stores completing their EMV upgrades at the pump can take a large leap forward with mobile payments at the pump to improve the customer experience,” said Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP, a retail-management consulting firm. “Moving towards mobile payments is a low-cost way of offering consumers an experience of being able to pay with their phone and removing the task of finding their credit card and swiping or inserting at the payment terminal.”
Amazon is setting the bar high for frictionless payment with Amazon Go stores—where customers scan an app to enter, select items and exit the store, at which point they are automatically billed. Amazon plans to open 3,000 such checkout-free stores by 2021.
“Frictionless payments, mobile applications and loyalty must all be viewed as a single, holistic solution. Not doing so can significantly jeopardize retailers’ top and bottom lines by impacting total transaction count and units per transaction in the stores,” Kramer said.
Wawa could have added mobile payment to its food ordering kiosks, but that may have deterred impulse purchases as customers walk around the store, he said.
7-Eleven, in November, began piloting Scan & Pay via the 7-Eleven app at 14 stores in the Dallas area, allowing customers to skip the checkout line.
A number of c-stores—including Cruizers, Domino and Enmarket,are turning to Skip, which aspires to beat Amazon at providing frictionless checkout to 3,000 locations. It was scheduled to roll out to 275 locations by the end of first quarter.
Mike Wilson, director of operations, Holmes Oil Co., which operates 27 Cruizers c-stores in North Carolina, explained how it works.
“Once you download the Skip app, create your account, set up your wallet and walk in the store,” Wilson said. “The app notifies store employees that you are in the store on a monitor behind the counter. As you shop, you scan the barcode of the items you pick up and pay at the end. Once your payment is accepted, you walk out.”