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LAS VEGAS — Mobile payment will definitely be part of the future convenience store landscape, Doug Rodewald, partner at W. Capra Consulting, stated during Sunday’s “Mobile Payment Solutions” educational session at the 2015 NACS Show.
“We are beyond if mobile payment will happen, but when,” he said.
Rodewald stressed that although a minority of c-stores have implemented mobile payment to date, some have been quite successful already. A prominent example is Cumberland Farms Inc., which announced earlier this month its SmartPay mobile app, powered by ZipLine, surpassed $1 billion in gas sold since it launched in January 2013.
“This is proof mobile payment can explode,” said Rodewald.
Before c-store retailers consider offering a mobile payment option, though, they need to hash out an entire mobile commerce solution, relayed speaker Ed Collupy, executive consultant with W. Capra.
“You must consider the customer experience when considering mobile payments,” he said. “Consumers will choose to pay with their phone when there’s a reason to do so.”
Consumers are specifically looking for loyalty points and rewards tied to a retailer’s mobile app. “You need to have an app people will want to go to. Too many [mobile] wallets out there can be overwhelming,” Collupy said.
Creating a mobile payment platform is complex and requires an array of different companies to be involved in order to bring it to fruition. When creating a strategy, he recommended c-store retailers create a solution encompassing both in-store operations and the forecourt.
“Let’s bring the forecourt and in-store experience together instead of thinking of them separately,” Collupy said. “It’s best to have a more comprehensive solution.”
He concluded by looking at how mobile payment could evolve in the future. He predicted that a self-checkout option that charges customers via their smartphones immediately after leaving the store could become quite popular.
“It’s similar to Uber’s model,” he said, referencing the rapidly growing car service program.