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Friday, December 1, 2017

EMV sales top mobile on Black Friday 2017

EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) may have reached a tipping point in the United States, according to the 2017 Holiday Payments Index, published by Cayan LLC, a Boston-based technology firm. The report found EMV transactions accounted for 73 percent of Black Friday in-store payments, compared with 18 percent magnetic-stripe cards.

"Despite EMV continuing to be a thorn in consumers' sides, its widespread adoption at the point of sale has successfully moved EMV from a new concept to mainstream," the report authors wrote. "This becomes apparent when you compare its growth to last year, when just 55 percent paid with EMV, and 34 percent paid with magstripe."

Rachel Trueblood, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Cayan, said EMV migration has been strong in the United States, but two years after the 2015 liability shift deadline, it's surprising that U.S. retailers haven't hit the 90 percent mark. "The good news is that retailers with fewer than 100 locations have significantly improved EMV penetration year-over-year," she said. "In 2016, their EMV penetration was only 52 percent compared to 70 percent this year."

By comparison, Trueblood said, mobile payments have yet to "go mainstream," because muscle memory of pulling out a credit card remains very strong. Boosting mobile traffic is a two-way street, dependent on both merchants and consumers, she noted. Consumers need a reason to use mobile payments, such as having rewards, offers and discounts in mobile wallets. Retailers need to let customers know they accept mobile payments.

Leverage holiday traffic

"If you're a retailer, let consumers know that you accept mobile payments, and make sure your staff is trained on how to help consumers, because many of them will be using mobile payments for the first time," Trueblood stated. She offered merchants the following recommendations to leverage holiday traffic:

  • Make it easy for customers to find what they're looking for. The worst thing for a retailer is to have a customer walk out without finding an in-stock item.

  • Provide good signage to help consumers navigate the aisles and locate items quickly.

  • Optimize placement by arranging items in logical locations throughout the store. Create displays of low-priced items for consumers to peruse as they wait in checkout lanes.

  • Staff up to provide adequate assistance and steer customers to requested products.

  • Drive impulse purchases by placing merchants' suggested items and add-ons near complementary items within sight of customers as they shop.

  • Use mobile, line-busting strategies to take the checkout to the customer. "Don't make customers wait in endless lines," Trueblood stated. "There are so many opportunities to line-bust or check customers out in aisle with associate devices. For example, with a mobile POS tablet, associates can ring customers up wherever they are in the store, providing a more efficient and pleasurable shopping experience."

Omnichannel commerce grows

A 2016 study by the International Council of Shopping Centers found that 89 percent of Black Friday shoppers transacted at stores with both brick-and-mortar and ecommerce stores. The study found 80 percent of overall spending occurred in-store, and 18 percent occurred online. Twenty-eight percent of shoppers purchased online and picked up in stores; 64 percent purchased impulse items when they picked up items in stores, the study found.

Trueblood has also seen small and large retailers implement omnichannel strategies and expects the trend to continue. For example, Cayan has worked with retailers to unify the consumer experience across multiple channels. The key to designing effective omnichannel solutions is to provide a continuous, uninterrupted shopping experience, she said.

"Omnichannel was once a pipe-dream for many retailers, but it no longer has to be," she noted. "Consider offering customers the ability to buy online and pick up in store, or buy online and return to store. By bridging the gap between online and in-store commerce, retailers can offer customers a truly seamless experience across channels and between locations, without ever having to worry about payments or managing cardholder data." end of article

Editor's Note:

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

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