Consumers are changing their preferences and priorities when it comes to shopping, not just in terms of product but in the way they purchase. Concerns over hygiene and social distancing have encouraged retailers to adopt new measures such as contactless payments, in order to keep consumers comfortable. To accommodate this need, Lightspeed has introduced new features to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) keep up.
“Retailers are currently undergoing major digital transformations to their businesses in order to adapt to consumer shopping habits during COVID-19,” said Dax Dasilva, founder and CEO at Lightspeed. “A defining factor for the success of these merchants right now is if they have the appropriate tools that will keep revenue moving, make their operations more efficient, and provide a positive experience for shoppers.”
Some measures require less digital infrastructure than others. For instance, if a retailer already has a “buy online, pickup in store” protocol, then introducing curbside pickup is mostly a shifting of logistics. But mobile payments need a supporting technology system that can be freely moved around by associates and one that is easy and efficient to use, so that consumers can adopt the new method quickly.
Lightspeed aims to provide this for users in the form of its Mobile Tap and Digital Wallet features. Mobile Tap is a hardware solution that easily connects to an iPad and uses Bluetooth to turn it into a contactless payment terminal. Purchases can be completed with a single tap, both in-store and curbside, allowing for minimal physical interaction between customer and associate.
The Digital Wallet feature is particularly designed for mobile, in line with the increasing growth in this sales channel. (According to a PYMNT 2020 Remote Payments study, 72% of consumers are now shopping on mobile.) By enabling consumers to pay with their digital wallets, such as Google Pay or Apple Pay, Lightspeed hopes to improve the speed of conversion and establish a one-click checkout for a greater range of consumers.
“Contactless payment strategies make consumers feel safe and comfortable,” said Dasilva. “Retailers are therefore pivoting with curbside pickup, made possible through Lightspeed’s Mobile Tap technology. For online shopping, Digital Wallet is designed with a seamless, one-click option for consumers who know what they want and are eager to checkout without hassle.”
The third item in Lightspeed’s new rollout is an analytics hub, designed to help retailers make strategy decisions by giving insight into sales, inventory and employee performance. Previous Lightspeed releases that have launched during the pandemic have enabled SMBs to preview their online store before opening and display multi-location inventory to consumers.
While this emphasis on digital success is something that SMBs have been exploring since the pandemic required brick-and-mortar to close, experts believe that this will be a permanent shift and therefore worth an investment in infrastructure. The wide-scale growth in contactless payments is a particular focus point, with Mastercard reporting a 40% spike in such transactions in Q1 of 2020.
“Our priority as we look to the future of retail is to enable our customers to adapt quickly to the dramatic and rapid changes in consumer behaviour over the past few months,” said Dasilva. “The SMBs that Lightspeed powers are innovating quickly because they are equipped with tools that help them remain agile, stay connected with their customers, and future-proof their businesses.”