A recent Cardbeat report from Auriemma Consulting Group reported that “contactless credit cards that allow cardholders to wave-&-pay at checkout terminals fitted with contactless technology sensors is not yet the smash-hit that industry leaders had expected.” The report also suggested that “consumers have indicated that contactless technology is not an easy sell. In light of the credit crunch, and increasing insecurity about the risk of identity theft, consumers need additional encouragement to acquire a new card – even if it features a compelling new technology.”
Other highlights from the report included that only 3% of the population is familiar with contactless technology & that 23% of consumers interviewed would not use contactless cards due to concerns with identity theft.
Like any new technology that is introduced, education about that technology is needed. Granted we do live in a digital age & IT gadgets are popping up everywhere; however, you can’t expect consumers to gravitate to your product if they don’t understand how to use it & more importantly if they are scared to use it.
Contactless payments offer a significant convenience factor for the consumer. Not only are they able to process their payments quicker, they are also able to reduce the amount of “stuff” that they have to carry with them on a daily basis. As this contactless payment solution finds its way to mobile phones — trust me, it’s coming — such a product will be even more attractive to the consumer.
I was in a big box office supply store a couple of weeks ago when I spotted a contactless payment setup at the check-out counter. I asked the clerk behind the counter how often customers use the contactless payment service. She said that in the 6-months that she worked at the store she has only had 2 to 3 customers use it & every time it’s been used something went wrong & she ended up manually typing in credit card information.
I know a bit about the solution that was deployed in this store & I doubt that the system wasn’t working. I believe it was the clerk (the retailer) that didn’t know what she was doing that was causing the problem. This example makes matters even worse. The consumer obviously had the education about the product & decided to adopt that product, but when clerks at stores for example don’t know anything about the product or how to support your product it does the consumer no good to use it. So not only is consumer education important, but education to those that are providing & servicing new products need to be educated.
Regardless of how great your product is & even if it does provide a solution to a problem, do *not* expect overnight success unless your market & the market distributing your product is well educated on the product you are offering.