Breakfast waffle… Shopping still a contact sport

breafastwaffle2 Breakfast waffle... Shopping still a contact sportThis week’s Liverpool Daily Post column from Ben Hatton looks at the role of digital technology in the offline shopping experience.

“Shopping should be fun, even at Christmas time.

Brands and retailers invest heavily in advertising to lure us to their websites and into their stores.

Yet the reality on the High Street is often miserable. We still find ourselves facing lengthy queues at checkouts – because so few retailers offer contactless methods of making payment.

According to ICM Research, of 26 major name stores surveyed by mystery shoppers, only 11 offered contactless payment and just three visibly promoted it. This is despite the fact “wave and pay” facilities offer significantly reduced transaction and queuing times.

Some 80% of people were aware of contactless payment, with 18% reporting they knew they had a contactless card.

Of the 11 stores offering contactless payment, only three were actively promoting it while only two, Marks & Spencer and EAT, had signage at checkouts.

The problem is compounded by a lack of staff training: only half of sales assistants knew their store took contactless payments.

Another study, by eDigitalResearch, suggests awareness of contactless mobile payments has doubled since May, with 33% of consumers having seen a contactless point of sale in-store.

Retailing should be about making life easier for busy consumers. Brands know that, but the message needs to spread to the high street.

Until it does, Christmas shopping and the New Year Sales will continue to resemble rugby scrums rather than the season of goodwill.”

Ben’s last Breakfast Waffle of the year will appear here on Friday 21 December.

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