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Four ways future-focused businesses are shaking up the payment experience

As technologies develop and user preferences change, successful companies are evolving to meet the needs of their customers. Find out how.

Businesses must keep evolving to meet the needs of their customers and how they experience their brand’s products or services.

A critical aspect of a company’s evolution is the payment process it provides. A frictionless, safe, and reliable transaction enhances customer satisfaction, giving the merchant the ability to turn that experience into a loyal customer.

With this in mind, we’ve put together four suggestions on payment process strategies that can shake up the customer experience for the better.

1. Contactless payments 

With the expansion of 4G and 5G networks across the world, the adoption rate for smartphones and wearable tech has increased substantially. According to a report by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), 54% of the world’s population now owns a smartphone.

Increased access to new technology has changed how we pay, with many of us buying items simply by tapping our smart device on a POS terminal. Thanks to contactless payment options, we can now pay quickly and securely without digging out our physical wallet.

A US study revealed the importance of offering contactless payment options, with 57% of consumers saying they are more likely to do business with brands that offer contactless. With the trend toward contactless payments gaining momentum, future-focused businesses are delivering the contactless, friction-free payments consumers crave.

2. Flexible and personalized online payments

Paysafe’s annual spending report revealed that consumers expect choice when it comes to how they pay. In fact, 59% of people expect even small businesses to offer alternative payment methods.

This desire for flexibility is highlighted by the growth of buy now, pay later (BNPL) schemes – short-term financing options that let consumers make an upfront payment and pay off the rest of the purchase in instalments. By 2028, the global BNPL market is set to reach a staggering 44.6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

Moreover, many businesses catering to the growing appetite for flexible payment plans report better results. Of over 100 UK merchants surveyed about the impact of offering BNPL on their business, 57% reported an increase in checkout or basket conversion rates, and 53% believe it exposed their brand to new customers.

By acting on this growing demand for flexibility at the checkout, you will delight customers in search of their preferred payment options and increase sales.

3. Digital currencies

Crypto remains one of the most talked about emerging technologies, with cryptocurrency payments forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17 percent between 2022 and 2029.

However, there’s evidence of consumers left frustrated by a lack of merchants accepting crypto payments. In the US, a report found that 16% of Americans have used crypto at least once to pay for goods and services. Yet, 25% of crypto users say limited merchant acceptance has stopped them from paying with crypto more often.

Businesses are increasingly alert to the demand for crypto payments and the possibility that offering them will help them stand out from their rivals. Of 2,000 retail executives polled by Deloitte, 87% agreed that accepting digital currencies gave organizations a competitive advantage.

With more users open to paying with crypto, future-focused businesses are recognizing it as integral to an inclusive payment experience. By accepting digital currencies, they can broaden their appeal and increase their customer base.

4. Subscription plans

The value of the global subscription ecommerce market is expected to reach $904.2 billion by 2026, up from $120.04 billion in 2022, reflecting a remarkable rise in demand for subscriptions.

An interesting case study is Microsoft, which now offers a range of subscription options for its Microsoft 365 software suite.

Previously, users would have to pay for the whole package of programs via a one-time fixed fee.  Now, however, Microsoft lets customers purchase annual subscription plans with various bundles for the applications they desire. This strategy gives the user the flexibility to customize the duration of their plan and how many products they want to consume.

Adopting a subscription-based plan like this can help with customer acquisition efforts because it avoids consumers needing to make a big purchase up front. Instead, an affordable monthly fee is all they need to try your product or service. If it delivers on its promise, they’ll become life-long subscribers.

Key takeaways

Consumer preferences are consistently evolving, so companies that can optimize their payment experience have a stronger chance of successfully retaining customers.

By using strategies like the ones outlined here, companies can get ahead of these trends and offer people their preferred ways to pay.

As the payments world continues to change, companies must embrace these industry innovations by offering consumers a variety of personalized and efficient transaction experiences.