The Future of Shopping and Payments in a Post-Pandemic World

Dining out and brick-and-mortar shopping have been two of America’s most treasured pastimes. However, the current COVID-19 pandemic has altered the shopping landscape, with one of the biggest changes being how customers actually pay for the things they want to buy.

Although this transformation is still evolving, below are some payment trends that may likely stick around for a while.

1. Dining out

The restaurant industry continues to struggle, with many businesses either shut down permanently or working under capacity limitations. If your own restaurant is still open, it is important to consider offering payment options that limit direct contact between staff and customers. 

Popular options include:

  • Online ordering and payment solutions (along the lines of eCommerce – but for food)
  • Phone orders and payments accepted using a Virtual Terminal
  • Curbside pickup or delivery using point of sale (POS) solutions with contactless payment technology

2. Grocery shopping

With fewer restaurant visits, more folks are cooking at home. Thus, supermarkets have fared remarkably well during the pandemic. If you operate a grocery store, here are a couple things to keep in mind:

  • Consumers are making fewer trips to the store – choosing to load up their grocery carts instead
  • This translates to higher-than-average ticket sizes – so be sure to promote your sales aggressively

Most grocery stores still accept cash payments, but because COVID-19 can live on paper surfaces for up to four days, installing contactless POS machines is a wise investment for any supermarket.1 Also, if your customers ever buy food through federal assistance programs like SNAP, it’s worth exploring how PIN on Glass (PoG) technology can help them order and pay for food online using Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) funds.

3. Fashion, entertainment, and travel

No surprise here: All three of these industries have taken a major hit during the pandemic:

  • Entertainment venues rarely qualify as “essential” services
  • Lockdown restrictions make it harder to travel freely
  • With less social interaction and more remote working and learning situations, there are fewer opportunities to “dress up” 

No one knows when these industries will rebound, but businesses that move more of their operations (and payment options) online may see an uptick in sales moving forward.

4. Gas stations

In-car payments systems aren’t entirely new, being quite common on toll roads. But this innovative technology is starting to trend upwards at places such as gas stations – where drivers simply fill up, tap their dashboard for payment, and drive off. Incidentally, there’s a good bet that in-car payment technology will also appear at more restaurants, retail stores, and supermarkets as they continue to embrace curbside pickup options.

Conclusion

The payments landscape is changing rapidly, but with a contactless POS system and online ordering capabilities, you should be set up to accept a vast majority of payment types.

For a more comprehensive look at shopping and payment trends in a post-pandemic world, be sure to download the free infographic below.

Dori Bright is Senior Vice President of Marketing Intelligence and Small Business Market Development at Fiserv, a leading global provider of eCommerce payment processing and financial technology solutions, helping businesses connect with customers through physical, digital, and mobile payment experiences that drive commerce.

1 “The Future of Cash Transactions in Question Amid COVID-19,” Governing, 29 April 2020

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Brian Farrell is a coach, helping clients achieve their personal and professional goals. He's also the creator of the "QA2 Method". For more about Brian, visit bfarrell.com