Mobile Payments Poised to Back New Kind of Window Shopping in 2019

December 14, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

There were a lot of words that gave retailers the cold chills over the last few years. “Amazon” was one of the biggest, with words like “sales tax” and “PCI compliance” coming in as well. One of the greatest retailer bugaboos, meanwhile, was “showrooming”, a practice by which people came into a retail store to look at products, but instead of buying them there, bought them at lower prices online. A new report suggests that this practice may actually invert with 2019, and this could be good news for the physical retailer.

The reports noted some interesting correlated data: first, there was roughly a 58 percent chance that a customer already knew what he or she wanted upon entering a store, and 35 percent of shoppers aged 25 to 34 noted they routinely find new products by smartphone browsing. Better yet, 44 percent of shoppers buying from mass merchants did so on said smartphones.

That might sound like the death knell for physical, but far from it. Increasingly, online-only retailers like Amazon are opening up physical storefronts to take advantage of the immediacy factor, as well as the ability to come physically in contact with the products being sold.

This is also changing retail itself; 56.4 percent of businesses are willing to switch payment services providers if doing so gets them “a better deal,” though that’s subjective to say the least. Moreover, 55.6 percent of businesses will innovate to meet demand for new payment methods from customers, which actually dovetails with an earlier report we got about mobile banking forced to innovate to keep customers.

While online and mobile shopping will never go away, it’s a safe bet that physical retail will likewise never truly fade away. As long as we need to come in contact with a product before we really feel good about buying it—sure, Amazon’s return policies basically let us try any product and return it so quickly it feels like we got to try before buying—there will be a place for physical retail.

The landscape has changed. That we might now see a mix of options, meanwhile, is far from out of line. Mobile, online, and physical all coming together is a future we might well expect to see.