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Shoppers give a thumbs/face/fingerprint/retina up to in-store biometrics

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High-street retailers should consider allowing shoppers to authorise in-store payments with part of their body, claims a new report from Worldpay, which reveals the pressure retailers face in meeting the demands of today’s digital shoppers.

Following the launch of the latest iPhone, which comes with facial recognition technology, just under two thirds (63%) of consumers want to be able to use a biometric scan to authorise payments in-store. When it comes to using our body parts to pay, 69% of consumers say they’d be open to using a finger. But respondents are also beginning to come around to the idea of using their face (24%), iris (33%), and voice (18%) to identify themselves at the point of sale.

James Frost, UK CMO, Worldpay, says: “Today’s digitally-driven consumers want the way they shop to be consistent across every channel, including how they identify themselves when making a payment.

“As biometric identification increasingly becomes a standard across smartphone devices, the combination of these two technologies is starting to win the battle for hearts and minds when it comes to simplicity, convenience, and seamlessness across all channels.”

Worldpay claims the growing popularity of smartphone payments and biometrics is part of a wider trend. Its research suggests consumers increasingly expect the same type of experience in-store as they receive from online retailers like Amazon who are setting the benchmark for speed, simplicity and convenience.

Even though today’s smartphone-centric consumers still value the human touch, Worldpay’s new research also shows that modern technology has made today’s consumer far less tolerant of delays in getting what they want.

The report goes on to find that consumers say they want stores to offer options like click and collect in-store. Just don’t make them pay for the privilege. Seventy-six per cent of consumers will abandon a purchase if the store tries to charge extra for click and collect.

Meanwhile, older consumers like to pay a person, but younger consumers would rather payments were automated to speed things up. When it comes to dining out 65% say they’d rather pay a robot than waste time flagging down a waiter.

Consumers are also receptive to targeted offers on their mobile phone whilst they’re browsing in store. Just don’t over-communicate. Respondents say one message is enough, more than this starts to get irritating.

Technologies like mobile point of sale devices, which help cut queues by allowing sales staff to take payments directly on the shop floor from a tablet device, are popular among consumers. But just a third (31%) have seen these devices being used in-store.

Contrary to what one might expect, over 35s are the least loyal when it comes to who they shop with. Younger consumers tend to stay loyal to a brand once they’ve found one they can trust.

Frost adds: “Today’s consumers are arguably more demanding of retailers than at any time in the past. As technology continues to evolve, the pressure on retailers to deliver a consistent, personalised and convenient experience across every channel, will only increase.

“Stores need to find a way to reconnect with consumers. That means deploying technologies which remove bottle-necks, particularly at the point of sale, and freeing staff to get out from behind the till and talk to customers on the shop floor. Retailers that will flourish will be those that strike a balance between personalised service, and seamless convenience.”

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