QR code technology has been around for years, but it looks like it's time, due to the current demand for touchless solutions, has come. Even before the pandemic, QR code technology adoption was steadily trending upwards. Juniper Research reports that the number of QR code coupons redeemed using mobile wallets totaled about 1.3 billion in 2017 and was expected to grow to 5.3 billion by 2022. However, interest in QR codes in retail saw a definite bump this year as consumers looked for ways to redeem offers, access information, and make payments without contact.
The Simplicity and Effectiveness of QR Codes
For a merchant to accept payments via near-field communication (NFC) mobile wallets or contactless cards takes reconfiguring current payment solutions or, in some cases, deploying new technology – especially for SMB merchants who may have only used a standalone payment terminal. Jennifer Sherman, senior vice president of product at NMI, points out in an interview with Green Sheet, however, that a QR code solution is a simple way for any business to offer contactless payments. “Consumers don’t have to download an app or sign anything to use them,” she says. “They simply use their camera app on their smartphones to scan the QR code, which then takes them to the website and gives consumers access to pay straight from their phones.”
Both merchants and consumers can have the assurance that QR code payments are safe. Because QR code payments direct customers to the same payments page that online shoppers use, it provides the same PCI-compliant security, including authentication solutions, encryption and tokenization. Furthermore, customers are using their smartphones, which have built-in protection to keep data safe from hackers. Also, customers don’t have to enter a PIN in view of other people or make card numbers public to make a payment.
There are numerous use cases for QR codes in retail, hospitality and verticals. For example, this technology enables a consumer to browse a menu on a smartphone, join a loyalty program to receive rewards or make a charitable donation.
Instant Systems, one of NMI’s ISV partners, has developed a solution that allows customers to shop online and then provides them with QR codes they can use at a kiosk to pick up their purchases when they arrive at the store. NMI manages the payment portion of the transaction and securely stores card data for added convenience the next time the customer shops.
Benefits of QR Codes in Retail
Any time your clients deploy a customer-facing solution, you want to help them create the best possible experiences. This is particularly vital now that merchants are trying to rebuild trust so consumers will feel comfortable shopping and dining in person again after shutdowns.
QR codes in retail not only offer fast, efficient, touchless engagements, but they also enhance experiences by eliminating fees the customer would pay with P2P payments such as PayPal or Venmo. Furthermore, the payments page that the QR code directs customers to can be customized to enable split checks at a restaurant or accept variable amounts for donations.
Additionally, consumers are immediately comfortable using QR codes in retail. They’re familiar with the technology—it’s not a new payment method, just a new path to the online payment pages they routinely use.
“QR codes present businesses with an opportunity to adapt to consumers’ contactless preferences, no matter what line of business they are in,” comments Nick Starai, Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder at NMI, to Internet Retailing. “This will empower brick-and-mortar businesses to convert consumers from in-store to online to create a seamless customer experience and streamline the online payment process.”
For assistance in creating seamless customer experiences and secure streamlined payment processes, contact NMI.
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