Retail Winners Focus On Consumers And Reducing Exposure To Credit Cards

  • March 25, 2013 at 6:35 PM EDT
  • By Fatima D. Lora
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The primary focus for Retail Winners today is the customer, according to a Retail Systems Research (RSR) payments study, titled: Retail Payments: When The Future Becomes Now. Winning retailers consider cost of transactions important, but secondary to the customer experience. They also believe consumers — rather than retailers and solution providers — will dictate how payments will be presented in the future.

RSR identifies Retail Winners as those averaging at least 5% growth in year-over-year comparable store/channel sales, according to the report, and maintain those results “by thinking differently, and doing things differently.”

Key findings from the 2013 benchmark report include:

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  • Store operations seems to be the largest sticking point for payment innovations;
  • The value of payment technology does not translate into budgeted plans for the future; and
  • Uncertainty about the technical future of payments trumps all, even for Retail Winners.


Retail Winners And Payment Methods

“Retail Winners have been on a relentless drive to reduce their exposure to the most expensive transactions — credit cards,” the report indicated. “Winners are less reliant on credit cards today — having shifted purchases more towards debit cards than [their] peers.”

Winners pursue the move from credit card transactions as cost containment and customer experience strategies: “Retail Winners consider every interaction a piece of the customer journey, and payment is no exception,” according to the study. “If they can save some money and introduce some efficiencies while they’re at it — so much the better. Their peers might state the same goals, but the reality is that [Winners’] actions reflect a completely different priority.”

The RSR study revealed, by revenue, the top three organizational inhibitors to implementing payment options

  1. Different payment tools are required for the different channels;
  2. The technology is changing too quickly; and
  3. The industry is still fighting for dominant players.

To overcome these challenges, RSR found that retailers should invest in more comprehensive payment technologies that enable merchants to consolidate payments; solutions that reduce PCI requirements without reducing services to consumers; and a more collaborative payment association that includes all plays — from processors to retailers.

Click here to access a copy of the RSR 2013 benchmark report.

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