Apple Pay coming to the UK is another significant step forward in allowing consumers to pay for food and drink how they want and where they want. Stores like Nandos and Starbucks have been quick to sign up for the in-store service, but the real goldmine for consumers is the ease of use for in-app payments.
Combining Apple Pay with apps that allow you to pay and order through your phone, completely taking the pain out of paying for things. In the past, having to input your card details when you’re paying on the move has been a hassle. By adding an option like this, it gives consumers the opportunity to purchase with a click of a button, helping to alleviate that frustration. In the licensed hospitality industry, we’re seeing more of a demand for new types of payments because speedy service is so important to customers who want to spend as little time queuing at the bar as possible; the quicker they can pay, the quicker they can get back to having a good time. Younger generations are also used to paying for goods and services via apps, making it an obvious way to offer them better overall service.
The hospitality sector needs to take advantage of these kind of opportunities and consider adopting the technology which has payment services like this installed to help save time. Even if speed of service is not their USP, the time saved per customer could be spent improving the service in other ways and creating a better overall experience. Venues will be able to focus more on the positive and valuable elements of service such as staff knowledge and attentiveness, rather than the ‘technicalities’ of the job like taking orders and payments.
Implementing a range of payment services, from contactless to mobile apps, can also improve the overall experience by empowering customers with choice. Offering multiple ways to pay is crucial as, according to Orderella’s ‘Always on Trade’ report, a quarter (24%) of UK consumers go as far as saying they would walk out of a venue if their preferred method of payment wasn’t offered by the operator, and over one in three 18-34 year olds (38%) would walk out of a pub if it didn’t accept their preferred payment choice.
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In an increasingly competitive sector where standards will be set even higher, operators need to be in tune to changing customer demands. This includes the growing use of payment via smartphone or tablet, with 7% of consumers paying for food and drinks in this way. Again, usage peaks among 18-24 year olds (11%) and dips to just 4% among those aged 55 and over. It is likely that this number will rise rapidly, in line with The Payments Council predictions that the majority of transactions will be cashless in 2016, particularly among younger consumers that are already less reliant on cash.
It’s not surprising that younger generations want more from technology in the hospitality industry; they are the ‘always on’ generation. This demand for more convenient ways to pay can’t be ignored if the industry wants to prosper. It’s this younger generation that will be frequenting their doors over the next thirty to forty years on their nights out. Venues must get this group on side or risk losing increasing amounts of business to other venues that will implement the technology.
The issue of cost is always going to be a big factor when a venue owner is deciding whether to invest in new technology for their business. A huge 94% of the owners we surveyed admitted costs would be a barrier for installing new technology. However, with the advances in cloud-based technology, implementing the technology needed for mobile apps, including those with Apple Pay, is much cheaper than installing brand new hardware such as scanners, with a lower upfront cost as well. Furthermore, it removes the pain of processing payments, which is the only part of a sale that doesn’t add value above and beyond the payment.
Apple revolutionises every market it enters and the payments industry is bound to be no different. What licensed hospitality venues must do is research and decide on the best system for them and their customers is. It’s important the operators don’t shut out consumers on this though. The key is to bring customers in on the discussion as they will be the ones using it at the end of the day. With such a crowded market out there, those venues which don’t keep embracing new payments service and giving consumers the choice they crave, could find themselves struggling to keep up with those that do.