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Monday, January 28, 2019

Target adds NFC, expands checkout options

Target Corp. disclosed it will add more payments options to its POS systems at more than 1,800 locations across the United States. According to payments analysts, this is part of a larger trend of brick-and-mortar retailers implementing near field communication (NFC) protocols at the POS.

A recent study by Statista shows that NFC adoption has grown year-over-year, from 16.4 million proximity mobile payment users in 2014 to 55 million in 2018. Researchers now project usage will continue to climb, reaching 74.9 million in 2022. NFC payment card readers enable merchants to accept contactless cards as well as a variety of mobile wallets, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay, analysts noted.

NFC can simplify and accelerate POS checkouts, which would alleviate a major consumer issue, according to Gavin Bisdee, vice president of global marketing at Zynstra, which specializes in software for retailers. Noting that slow transaction times lead to frustrated customers and abandoned shopping carts, Bisdee commended Target for offering more convenient ways to pay that increase speed and reduce friction at the POS.

"It's important for retailers to eliminate the headache that comes with long checkout lines in the store by offering more flexible and convenient checkout options for shoppers, enabling a digital transformation of both the customer and employee experience," he said.

Michael Jaszczyk, CEO at GK Software USA, added, "It's great to see retail leaders like Target making payment easier and faster for their customers. While checkout-free stores are grabbing headlines, it's incremental steps like this that have an immediate and powerful impact on promoting a frictionless customer experience."

NFC adoption is not a radical departure from existing processes, but a key step toward eliminating pain points while providing a simple path to implementation, Jaszczyk noted.

Simple implementation

Many existing POS terminals are already equipped with NFC, a technology introduced in the early 2000s that uses small antennas to facilitate close-range communications between devices. NFC readers and credit cards are marked with a universal symbol of an antenna surrounded by radio waves. The readers, used at such retailers as CVS, Walgreens, Whole Foods and Office Depot, can be activated with a tap of NFC-enabled credit cards, smartphones or connected devices, including smart watches and other wearable technology.

"Smartphone payment options like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay or using contactless cards make it simple to make a transaction with just a tap," said Casey Gannon, vice president of marketing at Shopgate. "By taking advantage of these easy and convenient payment options, Target continues to be among the elite retailers who are setting the standard for retailer experiences."

Gannon additionally noted that by providing convenience and simplicity, Target is making shopping easier for its busy customers. "With digital wallets, shoppers can store personal and payment information on their devices, making it an attractive and useful feature for retailers and shoppers alike," she said. end of article

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