Is Sound the NFC Alternative?

The wide-spread use of near-field communication (NFC) technology by many consumers across the globe comes as no surprise. Holding up a smartphone to a scanner at a ballgame or checkout counter, is no doubt, as reflexive for some as tying their shoes or ducking when someone yells, “Fore!” during a day on the golf course. But is it possible that there could be an alternative solution that offers a better user experience than NFC? Is there a more scalable, contactless payment method that offers more reliability and data security?

Let’s take a deep dive into NFC technology to uncover whether the benefits and cost of ownership outweigh the alternative of sound technology.

What is NFC and How is it Used?

Near-field communication has evolved from a quality-of-life feature to something many of us rely on every day. NFC is a short-range wireless technology that allows your smartphone to act as a transit pass or credit card, that quickly transfers data, or instantly pairs with Bluetooth devices like headphones and speakers. Essentially, it enables two devices to communicate wirelessly when they’re close together.

How many times have you left the house, forgetting your wallet or credit card and relied on your smartphone to process payments instead? Convenient, right? Not only can NFC be used to purchase products and services, but it can also be used for the following:

  • Device to Device File Sharing – Want to share a file with a friend? Transfer a file from one device to another seamlessly, like a video or photo.
  • Contact Sharing – Just finished meeting people for the first time?  Hold your smartphone to theirs and instantly have their contact information stored on your device.
  • Ticketing – Forget boarding passes.  Let’s now imagine just walking up to the counter and using your mobile phone to authenticate you before boarding an aircraft.

NFC can certainly help businesses boost sales and provide an added layer of convenience to file sharing and payment transactions, but it also comes with its own set of limitations. Every business has different initiatives when it comes to offering security and convenience to their customer base. Perhaps your initiative is to cut down on long wait-times or enhance the security of contactless payments. While NFC certainly has its benefits, the technology is slightly limited in that any two devices need to practically be touching in order for the transaction to go off without a hitch.  And what customer wants to wait in line, only to finally make it up to the counter and spend several minutes trying to get their phone to scan properly?

How Much Are You Paying for Convenience?

While it may be convenient for consumers to leave their card or wallet at home, is it equally as convenient for them to make several attempts to scan their smartphone (we’ve all been there) until the chip reader accepts payment?  And what about the high cost of ownership for merchants or added expenses for maintenance and the ancillary costs to replace equipment? If one NFC reader or QR code scanner is $500 and you’re a larger-scale merchant who requires a hardware refresh every three years across 100 locations, that expense is…well, it’s a lot!

With sound technology, you can improve payment efficiency by 67% over QR codes and eliminate the large per unit investment of $500 to $1,000 to upgrade to NFC readers. Aside from cost, another limitation to consider is that while NFC may be available in most retail, mobility and ticketing channels within the United States, it is not available in all other countries. What is the alternative for merchants in these countries instead? Additionally, what alternative is available to merchants within the U.S. looking to cut costs and still offer a secure, reliable method of payment?

What is the Alternative Method for Secure Contactless Payments?

NFC is a set modality, whereas sound technology is a non-captive modality that offers the scalability and flexibility to function (variably) from any distance (and from anywhere). For example, in retail, transit and event spaces, smartphone payments and ticketing applications use sound to convert standard speakers and microphones into high-quality receivers and transmitters for secure data transmission. Only necessary data is transmitted to complete on premise transactions, provide identity verification for entry and trigger location-specific marketing to deliver a huge advantage over other existing technologies.

An added bonus to transmitting data over sound that many business leaders have come to realize, is that it helps prevent scams and fraudulent attacks. As with any payment security technology, shortfalls and associated risks always exist. In application, NFC technology is secure, but it is only as secure as the operating system that’s using it. While some operating systems may be “more secure” than others, vulnerabilities in software will always present themselves. However, among the secure payment tools and resources available to most merchants, sound technology is emerging as a leader for the following reasons:

  • Eavesdropping and Interception It is possible that even within the short range transmission of NFC, there could be some form of man-in-the-middle attack. This is where an unauthorized person can eavesdrop and intercept an NFC exchange. This type of attack is also sometimes referred to as radio frequency identification (RFID) skimming, as it can apply to both longer-range RFID as well as NFC-based data exchanges.
  • Replay Attacks – According to NIST, during a session replay attack, the information used to execute one transaction in a session is then “replayed” a second time to defraud a user with a second transaction. Session replay attacks are not unique to NFC, but can still have negative consequences.
  • Malware or Malicious Code can specifically be written to exploit mobile operating systems and applications as a means to easily steal your  information. Hackers can also use malicious code on a consumer’s device or collect information by tapping their device with another NFC device.

The world we live in is changing quickly. Contactless solutions are not going to be perceived as a luxury, but an absolute necessity. Is NFC convenient? Sure! But data over sound technology adds to the user experience by making transactions safer and more reliable. As new social norms centered around social distancing become more and more prevalent, companies will be forced to appeal to new consumer demands and payment alternatives, or risk being deemed as negligent or unsafe.

At LISNR, we offer the only secure, dynamic, non-captive near-field transaction solution for payments and fulfillment at proximity. The benefits of using our sound technology as an alternative payment method to NFC provides merchants with the following:

  • Control – We enable device agnostic transmission and software allowing client control of the experience, transport layer and business model.
  • Security – Flexibility to support encryption, cryptography, key exchange alongside full duplex, multi-channel features. We can enable the most secure transmission method seamlessly.
  • Seamless User Experience – Faster and more seamless checkout experiences enabled with the combination of range and full control over the user experience.
  • Cost Effective – Flexibility to support favorable transaction fees and cost structures in payment experiences due to security and control.

If protecting consumers and securing payment transactions is a top priority for your business, contact us to provide a safe, reliable, alternative method to contactless payments.

Is Sound the QR Code Alternative?

The QR code was designed in 1994 to allow for fast decoding speeds, hence the name Quick Response code. Rising in popularity over the years, demand for barcodes that could store more information, allowed for more variation, and would take up a smaller printing area increased. Today, QR codes are commonly seen on everything from restaurant menus to airline tickets.

Technology is constantly evolving. And it’s up to us to evolve with it.

It’s nothing to transfer data from one device to another through the cloud, Bluetooth, NFC or QR codes but are these the most secure methods? How can you guarantee the data being transferred to your wireless device or smartphone is safe? On a grand scale, how are business executives and IT leaders able to guarantee the security of their devices, employees and customers when data is being transferred?

Benefits of Sound Technology on a Global Scale

Ultrasonic data-over-sound technology offers a vast range of benefits, including offline data transmission, and serves as an alternative to other methods on a global scale. For example, consider an area where the transmission of radio waves is prohibited for security reasons like UK based power plant, EDF Energy. Sound waves are used as an alternative for data transmission and EDF energy uses this technology to communicate with mobile workers in their nuclear power stations and also to connect monitoring sensors in the plant.

Another, more relatable example is the Covid-19 pandemic. The need for contactless transactions and authentication methods arose practically overnight. Many companies turned to QR codes, relying on the ability to allow customers to scan their phones to pay or verify information. But what if there were a simpler or more secure method to collect payment information?

QR codes may be a widely available technology, but many business leaders are realizing that just because something is available for use, doesn’t mean it should be. Risk and usability factors make data-over-sound the better alternative when it comes to security and total cost of ownership.

Why Are More Businesses Turning to Sound?

Perhaps the biggest and most popular reason businesses are turning to sound technology over QR codes is because of the security it provides. Most eCommerce merchants accept payments via digital wallets, direct debit, payment cards and mCommerce mobile payments. 9 out of 10 companies encourage customers to pay via preferred methods like QR codes, to minimize risk of payment fraud. But what if you could reduce risk even further?

Let’s take a look at 2 primary reasons businesses are turning to sound technology:

Security

Over the past few years, scanning a quick response code (QR code) has become a popular way to access paperless menus, carry out contactless transactions and more. Since early 2022, the FBI has warned that fake QR code scams are on the rise. These scams hijack normally safe QR codes and send you to phishing websites that steal your financial information (or worse). 

To avoid scams and fraudulent attacks, many are looking toward the safety and security of transmitting data over sound. For example, in retail, transit and event spaces, smartphone payments and ticketing applications use sound to convert standard speakers and microphones into high-quality receivers and transmitters for secure data transmission. Only necessary data is transmitted to complete on premise transactions, provide identity verification for entry and trigger location-specific marketing to deliver a huge advantage over other existing technologies.

Watch this short Youtube video to learn more about the security advantages of ultrasonic sound technology: https://youtu.be/QfqpAqcmh_0

Total Cost of Ownership

Smartphone NFC and Bluetooth (BLE) transactions require a huge upfront investment, which is why many choose the affordability of QR codes. But QR codes lack safety and security. So what is the alternative?

With sound technology, you can improve payment efficiency by 67 percent over QR codes and eliminate the large per unit investment of $500 to $1,000 to upgrade to NFC readers. 

At LISNR we aim to help buyers and owners determine the  direct and indirect costs of our ultrasonic data-over-sound technology in the retail, transit and event space. We take pride in the ongoing lifecycle of our product by helping merchants, financial service providers and mobility companies improve equipment costs by 33 percent over QR code scanners. Contact us to learn more about how sound can help you improve costs and increase efficiency and security.

Experience LISNR Now

See how LISNR is used for different day to day experiences in payments, retail and mobility or choose to download a FREE trial of the LISNR SDK to implement in your own mobile application.

AutoConnect: The Offline Payment Feature Created by LISNR

Everyday customers are losing patience due to long lines at checkout. Most often these delays are caused by slow moving payment processes. While the shift of cash currency to direct payment from mobile wallets has helped to improve efficiency, the use of unidirectional QR codes to associate the customer’s digital wallet to the merchant POS has created huge lags in processing transactions.

Insert LISNR AutoConnect. Built on LISNR Radius 2.0, AutoConnect is designed to deliver ultra-simple mobile device bi-directional scanning for high efficiency touchless payments, entry authorization and proof-present verification. With features such as Instantaneous scanning from up to 1 meter away, bidirectional offline transmitting and receiving, and the ability to work on all smartphones, speaker-enabled Android tablets, iPads, and mPOS devices, the LISNR AutoConnect feature is a complimentary element to any wallet user interface. 

Implementation at the time of a typical QR code scan allows little to no change for the user process while forcing the minimal amount of screen design effort. Delivering this wallet enhancement ensures a much more efficient user experience without the need for additional training.

The global QR code payment market size was valued at $8.07 billion in 2020, and projected to reach $35.07 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 16.1%. Yet, as rising data breaches and security issues in QR codes payment market hamper the growth of the market, LISNR’s product adoption 40% in the past 12 months has set AutoConnect up for success.

In addition to payment use cases, LISNR Radius 2.0 can be leveraged in scenarios where internet connectivity is limited, as dense populations and rural areas present challenges. Radius 2.0 can address these concerns, often found in the mobility space where passenger onboarding in a timely manner can be disrupted by spotty connectivity. More so, in the event space where thousands of consumers are trying to enter by a specific deadline, LISNR Radius 2.0 can ensure a seamless, frictionless entry experience for consumers and employees alike.

LISNR’s Radius Software Development Kit (SDK) delivers a drop-in solution for simple integration into wallets, currently using QR code. The SDK comes with the LISNR receiver and/or transmitter and the necessary API such that the block can fit alongside of, or completely replace the QR code generator/decoder code. This wallet-ready design minimizes effort while shortening time to deployment to a matter of weeks

LISNR AutoConnect introduces greater range, efficiency and bi-directionality, without the need for a network connection. The net result is an expedited checkout process and greater customer satisfaction, with enhanced merchant loyalty and greater payment flexibility.

About LISNR

LISNR’s proximity solutions ensure secure, seamless and contactless data transfer. Powered by a ubiquitous device & OS platform, LISNR’s non-captive near-field association provides proof-present authentication enabled through proximity tokens. From entry validation to payments and fulfillment, LISNR empowers merchant micro-moments across the customer journey. Headquartered in Cincinnati, LISNR is currently deployed in 8 countries via multiple global partners. LISNR powers transactions and connects the online to offline customer journey globally with the most advanced near Ultrasonic Data Platform. Founded in 2012, LISNR’s major investors include Visa, Intel, Jump Capital, Mercury Fund, R/GA, and Synchrony Financial. To learn more about the LISNR technology visit: www.lisnr.com or email info@lisnr.com.

How is LISNR helping Merchants Attract More Customers with Improved Checkout Experience?

Digital and contactless payments can change the way we use our personal devices and allow consumers to complete transactions almost instantaneously. Consumers want to feel connected to the product they are buying, but also want to stay loyal to the brands they most closely associate with. Merchants are tasked with tackling a digitally transformative world, and LISNR is ready to connect them with their loyal customers. 

Where Current Modalities Fail

The global contactless payment market size was valued at $1.34 trillion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 20.3% from 2021 to 2028. When consumers think of contactless modalities, we often think of QR Code, BLE, or NFC. QR codes are often seen in mobile wallets and mobile applications, such as Venmo, PayPal, or Kroger. Similarly, NFC is dominated by ApplePay and GooglePay. Yet while convenience is often discussed when it comes to QR codes and NFC – user privacy, transactional costs, and imperfect customer expectations are associated with each transaction type.

Apple was recently sued over Apple Pay, in which it was accused of using its market power to fend off its competition of rival payment apps and charging card issuers fees. Apple owns the transaction and keeps the metadata for itself, disallowing its merchants to gain valuable insights on their consumers. 

Meanwhile, consumer-presented QR codes require the image to be perfectly oriented with no line of sight issues, are susceptible to contrast ratios by sunlight and in-store elements, and create an element of fraud. For merchants, the upfront cost required to install, implement and maintain its respective scanners impacts its bottom line and takes up prime real estate on their small countertops. QR codes fail to work in an offline environment, thus forcing longer wait times at payment, the inability to transact in low – to – no internet areas, and the unidirectional flow of QR codes. For consumers, screenshotting their mobile wallets’ QR code introduces an element of financial fraud that no merchant wants to take part of. 

How LISNR takes the Spotlight

It is core to LISNR’s business model that we do not change consumer behavior at time of checkout. LISNR delivers secure proximity solutions over an open counter platform, reducing the total cost of ownership while enabling more customer-driven payment solutions. LISNR’s proximity solutions ensure secure, frictionless and contactless data transfer leveraging non-captive near-field association to enable proof-present authentications through proximity tokens.

With more than 34 million merchants looking to accept contactless payments by 2027, LISNR only relies on the speaker/ microphone infrastructure of consumer devices to transact. While shoppers are looking at their digital wallets to reduce friction, by providing an offline, bi-directional product to merchants and ecosystem leaders, LISNR enables:

  • Increased usage of merchant apps and loyalty programs 
  • 9x reduction of merchants transaction time over QR code
  • Reduction of transaction cycles by 10.5%, minimizing network idle time
  • 28.6% improvement in payment terminal cost 
  • Decreased wait times at checkout which allow cart sizes to increase

As LISNR continues to launch with customers displacing QR codes, we’re simultaneously creating an ecosystem with direct access to nearly 2 million global merchants through our strategic partnerships. As a result of current deployments, we have processed nearly 20 million engagements and over 1 million transactions in the past 6 months. LISNR’s transactional growth is 2x that of the global contactless payment market. 

Merchants are innovative and consumer retention is directly correlated to a positive in-store experience. As the demand for omnichannel experiences increases, LISNR’s value added services enable payment organizations to provide a robust and unique solution for its merchants. For merchants themselves, LISNR enables you to create your own secure, contactless payment experience providing end consumers with more personalized payment options, an improved checkout experience, and significant cost savings to your bottom line. 

To learn more about how LISNR can enable you or your subset of merchants, click here

Why Replace QR Codes With Data Over Sound?

Replace QR code with Data Over Sound

QR Codes’ High-Risk Shortcomings Open the Door to Alternatives

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to contactless transactions and authentication. Doing so not only applies to health concerns but also ease of use. With QR codes, for example, customers can simply scan their phones to pay or verify information, rather than fishing in their wallets for credit cards and deciphering chip readers.

But while many companies are moving to mobile ticketing and payments systems that use QR codes, this method may not be the most secure or efficient. Other options, such as data-over-sound from LISNR, can offer a simpler and more secure transaction than how QR codes are being used today.

In this article, we’ll explore the following:

  •   How are QR Codes being used?
  •   Why do QR codes pose security risks?
  •   What are the usability issues with QR codes
  •   Why use data over sound over QR codes?

 

How are QR Codes being used?

Following their release to the public in 1994, QR codes have been adopted into such uses as launching applications and web pages on mobile devices as well as mobile boarding passes for airlines.

More recently QR codes have made their way into the area of mobile payments. In China, WeChat Pay and Alipay have launched and are expanding QR code-based payments, wherein 2020 85% of payments were made by scanning a QR code . In India Unified Payments Interface (UPI) payments using QR codes generate over 250 million transactions per month.

There has also been an expanded usage into local transit. One example is the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation QR code ticketing that launched in 2018. Riders can buy tickets on their phones and then scan a QR code instead of a physical transit card or inserting a token to enter the gates to ride.

The adoption of QR codes in these markets seemingly has taken off, but companies utilizing this technology are now looking for alternatives due to risk and usability factors. They are finding that the cost of overcoming these issues outweighs the savings of using a widely available technology.

 

Why do QR Codes pose security risks?

While QR codes have their place serving several applications, their adoption into payments and mobile transit ticketing is proving to be a big security risk. These risks are based on the general simplicity and availability of the technology. More specifically QR codes can be created and read by anyone, and duplication is as simple as taking a picture. That simplicity in technology has contributed to $18.5 million in stolen funds from QR code scams internationally in 2020. 

 One of the top QR code scams involves phishing. With phishing, cyber-criminals will present a QR code in a way that makes consumers think that they are scanning a legit code. In actuality, the hacker’s QR code is a sort of “trojan horse” that drives a link to malware through websites or downloads. This type of scam was captured in a recent 2021 article by McAfee.

 As McAfee notes, restaurant owners, for example, might download an app that pretends to generate QR codes but instead steals that owner’s data. “Once a hacker gains access to the restaurant’s customer database, they can use this information to launch phishing scams under the guise of our favorite local eateries,” the article states.

 These QR code scams are on the rise worldwide. In the eastern states of India there were 200,000 QR code fraud cases in 2020. This escalation is driving many companies in the region to seek alternatives to QR code, such as data over sound.

 

What are the usability issues with QR Codes?

In addition to the security risks that QR codes can pose, they also aren’t as easy to use as you might think. In theory, they speed up transactions, but that’s not always the case.

Some of the usability issues with QR codes include:

  •     QR codes currently require close proximity: While QR codes may be contactless, they still require the scanner and the code to be close together. That means social distancing may not be possible when a customer shows their QR code on their phone to check out at a store, for instance. Even when social distancing measures end, it may not always be practical or efficient to require this close distance.
  •     QR codes can be sensitive to light: Factors such as light can make it difficult to read QR codes. That’s why cashiers and ticket agents often have to ask customers to turn up the brightness on their screens to use QR codes.
  •     QR codes can be sensitive to motion: QR codes can also be sensitive to motion, so consumers may struggle to hold their devices still enough for the scanner to read the code right away. Or, the scan might not work on the first try because the mobile device is held at an angle, so it flips the orientation of the QR code right when a scan is about to occur.

 

As a result, QR codes can cause problems such as slow boarding processes and congested lines when used for ticketing. Plus, some transportation agents physically take a consumer’s phone in order to scan the ticket properly, which some passengers are uncomfortable with. These types of issues have prompted some shuttle and bus companies in India and other parts of Asia to turn to other means of ticket collection.

Meanwhile, merchants also run into issues, such as long lines due to slow payment processing. To try to remedy this, some merchants turn to more expensive technology, such as advanced QR scanners. These may work better but offer little differential value toward the overall fintech solution. Plus, expensive QR code scanners can be relatively large and reduce a retailer’s counter space, thereby decreasing their opportunity to place high-value items near the register.

 

Data over sound answers the calling for a more secure, easy-to-use transaction technology

As the name implies, data-over-sound technology works by transmitting sound between devices, which can be either audible or inaudible depending on how it’s used. Data over sound offers several advantages over QR codes, such as:

  •   Greater security: The data sent between devices for data-over-sound transactions can be encrypted and can use proprietary signaling to reduce the risk of duplication. Companies also do not face the same phishing threats, though it’s important to still only work with reputable data-over-sound software companies.
  •   Longer ranges: Depending on the use case, data over sound can work at much greater ranges than QR codes. Some types of data-over-sound technology can be used up to a distance of one foot between devices, while others can be used up to 10 feet and even beyond. That can allow for social distancing while also improving customer experience in non-pandemic times by reducing uncomfortable crowding.
  •   More efficiency: In addition to working at longer ranges than QR codes, data over sound provides more efficiency by being able to handle multiple transactions at once. For example, data over sound could be used to verify the tickets for multiple bus riders at once, thereby speeding up boarding times.
  •   Software-based: Data-over-sound recognition can be added through software and then embedded into mobile apps, websites or other systems. That provides benefits such as how merchants don’t have to give up so much valuable counter space for a physical scanner.

 

Start Leveraging Data-Over-Sound Technology with LISNR

LISNR’s data-over-sound technology helps retail, mobility, and many other types of companies facilitate fast, secure, contactless transactions.

LISNR works with companies like Shuttl, India’s premier office shuttle service, to help keep drivers and riders safe while delivering a fast, reliable boarding process. Testing shows that using LISNR’s data-over-sound technology can reduce boarding times by as much as two seconds per person, which can add up fast.

Retailers also benefit from using LISNR to support contactless payments. In many cases, payment terminal hardware already can support data-over-sound software, making implementation easy and cost-effective.

To see how your company can benefit by switching from QR codes to data over sound, get in touch with our team.

Exploring Contactless Technology: Mobile-to-Mobile

Contactless transactions are here to stay, as they’ve become ingrained in our daily lives. From picking up our groceries at the curb to sending some extra cash to a friend through an app, contactless mobile transactions are quickly becoming our norm.

We are accelerating to a cashless society in which mobile payments are becoming increasingly important. A recent study completed by McKinsey found that over three-quarters of US consumers made a mobile payment of some type in 2019—even before the COVID-19 pandemic. They also found that the most-often-used apps include digital wallets that enable in-store and P2P payments.

What Is Mobile to Mobile?
One of the most common types of contactless technologies is the mobile-to-mobile payment. An example of a widely-accepted use case of mobile-to-mobile is the peer-to-peer (P2P) payment. Using P2P, you can send money or payments to other users via apps like Venmo, PayPal or Cash App. Mobile-to-mobile is also enabled through the use of digital wallets like Apple Pay.

Mobile-to-mobile payments remove the need to carry cash or a wallet full of credit cards. They also “promise” speed and simplicity. Payments are sent using a linked bank account or credit card and then verified using a one-time-pin (OTP), QR code or another authentication tool.

LISNRⓇ: Enabling Seamless & Contactless Mobile-to-Mobile Transactions
We now live in a world where 82% of consumers expect a fast, contactless and seamless checkout experience, no matter where they are. And, unfortunately, solutions like the QR code are oversaturated, cumbersome and not entirely contactless or seamless. They just can’t keep up.

LISNRⓇ enables truly contactless transactions between any two mobile devices anywhere. Our product, LISNRⓇ Point, enables short-range, reliable 1:1 ultrasonic data transfer and authentication (SDK) between devices within three feet and under.

How Does It Work?
The action begins on the customer’s mobile device, called the client device. They open the app and navigate to the LISNRⓇ listening screen. On the backend, the merchant device beacons a unique node ID that the client device receives. Once the payload is received, it’s sent automatically for verification. The entire process happens via ultrasonic technology or data-over-sound.

Point doesn’t require a network and works on all devices. The required micro-communications travel via sound between devices using standard speakers and microphones. The best part? No QR code is ever required.

Move Beyond the QR Code With LISNRⓇ
It’s time to move forward. Give your customers the truly contactless experience they want with LISNRⓇ. To learn more about incorporating mobile-to-mobile payments via our contactless technology, give us a call today at 513-322-8400 or send us a message.

Deliver a Seamless & Contactless Customer Experience With BOPIS

Where do we go from here? 

This is a question a lot of retailers spend their days (and probably their nights) thinking about. It’s no secret that contactless retail is here to stay. So is the need for seamless customer experience. 

How do we bridge the gap between hands-off and hands-on service? Enter order checkout and fulfillment methods such as BOPIS to the rescue.

What Is BOPIS?

BOPIS stands for “buy online, pick-up in store.” A typical BOPIS process begins when a customer makes a purchase from a website or app and then proceeds to the brick-and-mortar store to pick it up, typically on the same day.

According to recent data, nearly 70% of US shoppers have used BOPIS more than once. Furthermore, 50% of shoppers have chosen where to make a purchase based on whether they could pick their order up in-store.

Retailers Taking Advantage of BOPIS Capabilities

Some retailers have offered BOPIS options for a few years now. Others have jumped on the train recently and have become fast leaders in the space.

Target

Target is hailed as an inspiration for many retailers looking to the future. The company currently allows customers to shop for many items online and to then pick them up in-store on the same day via Guest Services. 

As of June, Target added 750 new grocery items to its BOPIS service in 400 stores with plans to keep expanding the offerings to 1,500 stores by the end of the year.

At the end of last year, Target saw their digital sales surge 31%, with their same-day services accounting for 80% of the growth. These services include Drive Up, same-day delivery and BOPIS. Target’s CEO Brian Cornell has also said that the store’s cost of handling online orders dropped 90% using these methods.

Best Buy

Currently, Best Buy offers in-store pick-up and contactless curbside pick-up for any item in-store. Plus, the retailer promises BOPIS pick-up in one hour. As a result of this speed, the retailer continues to see sales growth related to BOPIS offerings.

Nordstrom

Nordstrom currently offers curbside pick-up, as well as in-store pick-up in select stores. This is paying off for the retailer. At the end of last year, half of Nordstrom’s digital sales growth came from order pick-up.

BOPIS Is a Critical Part of Any Omnichannel CX Strategy

Not only does BOPIS offer contactless capabilities, but it also helps deliver the seamless omnichannel experience your customers want. A pandemic doesn’t change our need for convenience and a good experience. In fact, it increases it.

BOPIS has the potential to be a double-edged sword, however. Customers want to shop how they want to shop and when, and they want the same seamless experience regardless of the method they choose. If they need it, they want it and there’s no room for friction.

Is Contactless Checkout an Option With BOPIS?

Let’s address the elephant in the room. In today’s retail environment, “in store” doesn’t necessarily work. Many customers wish to do what it takes to receive their goods without stepping foot into a store. By combining BOPIS capabilities with curbside checkout, it has the potential to be truly contactless—no brick-and-mortar required.

How LISNRⓇ Can Help

To make seamless pick-up and check-out happen in-store or out, you need a frictionless method of customer authentication and payment. Unfortunately, traditional BOPIS processes involve subpar forms of order authentication such as QR codes a customer must scan when they reach a pick-up station.

Not only is this method not hands-free, but it’s chock-full of friction that can ruin the experience. 

LISNRⓇ offers a solution via an ultrasonic (data-over-sound) platform. Using speakers and devices retailers already have, LISNRⓇ enables automatic proximity authentication.

As soon as a customer reaches your pick-up area, authentication occurs automatically. The resulting experience is seamless and completely touch-free.

Take Advantage of Seamless & Contactless BOPIS Capabilities With LISNRⓇ

BOPIS isn’t going away. You can take advantage of seamless BOPIS capabilities with LISNRⓇ. To learn more about BOPIS or LISNR’s person-present solution, send us a message.

Kick In-Store Shopping to the Curb(side): Pickup Is Here to Stay

Millions of consumers are now taking advantage of curbside pickup service to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. It’s a common occurrence these days to open your favorite grocery store’s app and fill up your cart, only to realize the next available curbside pickup time is in two days. 

Curbside pickup involves placing an order, pulling up to a store or restaurant, and having your items loaded in your vehicle, hands-free. Not only is it a much safer alternative to in-store shopping, it’s also convenient, inspiring the service’s growth in popularity.

The Use of Curbside Pickup Is Growing Fast

A recent survey by Gallup found that more Americans have adopted new methods of ordering food and groceries since the pandemic began. Around 36% of consumers used curbside pickup from a store, up from 19% in March. This double-digit growth may come as no surprise. Yet, curbside pickup is only getting started.

How Major Retailers Use Curbside Pickup

Target

Target is a major player in the curbside pickup space, often looked to for inspiration for many retailers taking the plunge. Target is currently on its way to meeting its goal of offering order pickup and drive-up at over 1,500 stores before the 2020 holiday season.

Using the Target app, customers can select “Drive Up” at checkout. The app will alert the customer when their order is ready. Once the customer arrives, they simply park in the designated area, alerting the app they’ve arrived. No signature is required, making this a more seamless experience. 

Walmart

Walmart began its curbside venture grocery-only. Now, due to an increase in online shopping, the retailer allows customers to shop across all departments for curbside pickup. Similar to Target, Walmart customers place their orders by selecting available pickup times, arrive at the store, alert the app and receive their items.

Starbucks

The growth of curbside is also inspiring innovation. Starbucks is taking the idea of pickup to new levels amid the pandemic. While many customers can pick up their coffee via drive-thru and at the curb, the retailer plans to close around 400 sit-down cafes to build 300 pickup-only ones.

Consumers will place their order via mobile app and pick it up from a pickup-only location. The company’s first-ever pickup location in Manhattan also features a screen at the entrance that showcases each order’s status.

Curbside Pickup Isn’t Going Away

Why are retailers pushing to improve their curbside pickup service? For starters, no one knows just how long this pandemic will last. Additionally, consumers have fallen in love with the convenience curbside offers. It isn’t going away.

A recent study by CommerceHub found that 59% of consumers are more likely to use curbside pickup following the coronavirus outbreak. Plus, 75% of those who subscribed to delivery services such as Amazon Prime mentioned they were still likely to opt for curbside delivery once the pandemic subsides.

How LISNR® Can Help

The main point of curbside pickup is to eliminate touch. So how hands-free is your curbside pickup right now? Asking your customers to sign a mobile device or scan a QR code isn’t contactless. It’s also not an effective method of authentication and adds unnecessary friction to your customer’s experience.

LISNR® offers a solution via an ultrasonic (data-over-sound) platform. Using your existing speakers and devices, LISNR® enables proximity verification and contactless transactions.

Via data-over-sound, a customer can pull up to a curbside pickup location and receive immediate authentication. As a result, they encounter a seamless experience while reducing potentially crippling customer service costs due to lack of authentication.

Prepare for the Future of Curbside Pickup With LISNRⓇ

The future of retail is here. How will you adapt? LISNR® can help using our data-over-sound platform. To learn more about the future of curbside pickup or LISNR’s person-present solution, send us a message.

Contactless Checkout: Redefining the Customer Experience

At the beginning of the global pandemic, retailers were forced to source and implement contactless checkout and pick-up options to protect their employees and customers. To secure their bottom line, they moved fast, focusing on simply getting customers the products they needed—nothing more, nothing less.

We believe we’ll never return to what was once normal. This means retailers must continue to evolve to not only deliver the contactless system customers need but the experience they expect.

Will Customers Ever Return to Brick-and-Mortar Stores?

Whether a need to stay safe or a desire to hang on to newfound conveniences, customers are hesitating to return to brick-and-mortar stores. A recent survey by Epsilon found that one in seven consumers aren’t sure what will reassure them to return to retail storefronts.

According to Gallup, approximately 36% of US adults used curbside pick-up from a store, up from 19% in March. Another survey found that 59% of consumers believe they’ll likely use curbside pick-up following the outbreak.

The idea of shoppers visiting storefronts is irrelevant now. The pandemic has ushered in new shopping methods that consumers won’t soon forget. It’s time for retailers to focus on redefining the shopping experience in the new normal.

The Critical Elements of a Solid Contactless Customer Experience

To offer a seamless contactless customer experience, there are a few critical elements retailers must have in place.

 

  • Customer authentication: With customers opting for curbside pick-up, it’s up to retailers to get the right products to the right customer. The only way to make it happen is through contactless authentication. And that doesn’t mean QR codes or ID checks that often fall victim to human error and aren’t all that contactless anyway.
  • Contactless payment: Some retailers such as Sam’s Club have had great success with Scan-and-Go options, which allow customers to do their shopping, pay via mobile and leave the store. Retailers must now take it to the next level, delivering that same contactless payment system at curbside and pick-up.
  • Frictionless loyalty: Customers will expect retailers to deliver on their loyalty promises regardless of how they shop. Plus, without customers coming into the store, retailers must deliver brand interactions in new ways such as via mobile.

 

How LISNR® Can Help

It may seem impossible to do it all. Yet, LISNR® offers a solution via an ultrasonic (data-over-sound) platform. LISNR® enables proximity verification and contactless transactions using your existing speakers and devices.

How does it work? A customer can simply pull up to a curbside pick-up location and be authenticated immediately via sound. Once they receive their order, they simply pay via mobile and authentication occurs again at receipt. There’s zero contact from start to finish—no QR code or ID check required.

LISNR® also enables you to connect with your customers by delivering personalized offers and loyalty rewards directly to your customers’ mobile devices. While you keep your customers happy with a seamless experience, you’ll receive enhanced security and increased revenue in return.

Redefine Your Customer Experience With LISNR®

Smart retailers know that the future of retail is now; don’t get left behind. LISNR® can help. To learn more about the future of retail or LISNR’s person present solution, send us a message.

Contactless Retail Is No Longer Just An Option

Retail Will Never Be the Same

While many see the current contactless environment as something we’ll eventually come back from, it isn’t. The pandemic has taught the retail industry many things. The ability to offer the seamless retail experience consumers have been craving for years might be one of the most important. 

Take it from these retail giants that have taken the current climate in stride, using it to improve the retail experience they deliver to their customers.

Walmart 

Walmart announced in March its no-contact services for payment, pick-up, and delivery in an attempt to protect customers and employees. By scanning a QR code synched with the store’s app, in-store shoppers can make contactless purchases. Customers can also open their trunks and have an employee load their groceries without the need for a signature.

Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club currently uses contactless technology to allow customers to pay from their phones, skipping the checkout line completely. In fact, Scan & Go usage has increased for the company fourfold since the beginning of the pandemic.

These are only two examples of the hundreds of businesses rising to meet the needs of their customers in our new normal. According to a recent study by Mastercard, consumers are increasingly moving toward contactless card adoption. Around 79% of consumers around the globe are now using contactless payments.

Does the Store Even Matter Anymore?

Let us make another bold statement: The idea of shoppers being in the store is irrelevant. In this new phase of retail, companies like Target are converting lanes of parking lots to Order Ahead fulfillment stations. Large-format stores are averaging 30 cars simultaneously for pick-up. Companies such as Starbucks are creating “pick-up only” locations.

This is happening now, and it’s ushering in even more new methods of fulfillment. From groceries being dropped off in your trunk while you work to smart safes on the porch of our homes, we’re only seeing the beginning. It’s time for retail companies to act.

Current Authentication Methods Can’t Meet Contactless Requirements

A retailer’s sole responsibility is to get products into the hands of consumers. In today’s climate, there are many ways to make this happen, including Scan, Pay and Go, BOPIS, and self-check-out. Yet, with so many options available, how do we verify we’re getting the right products to the right customer?

QR code? ID check? Nothing? 

Inefficiencies in contactless food delivery, rideshare, and retail account for more than $10 billion in annual losses. Authentication is critical to avoid serious liabilities in safety and friendly fraud.

LISNR: Person Present. Proven.

Current methods such as QR codes can’t meet new requirements. They involve costly hardware upgrades and certain phones for compatibility. Plus, they leave much to be desired for security and reliability and can also fall victim to human error.

The answer is contactless authentication through near-ultrasonic data transmission. What does this mean? A customer can walk into your retail store and be identified automatically via sound. When they’re ready to leave, they pay via mobile and authentication happens at receipt—no contact required.

Or, a customer can pull up to your drive-thru after being identified via sound at the speaker. They pay, authentication occurs, and they receive their order. 

While your customers benefit from a seamless experience, you receive enhanced security, decreased chargebacks, and increased revenue.

The Future Is Now—Reach Out to LISNR® Today

LISNR® is an advanced, near-ultrasonic, ultra-low power data transmission technology that enables fast, reliable, and secure communication between devices via a speaker and/or microphone. To learn more about the future of retail or LISNR’s person present solution, send us a message.

COVID-19 & The New Normal: Contactless Delivery and Payments

In the past few months, the world has changed dramatically due to the coronavirus, COVID-19. Many of us are now required to stay home, protecting ourselves and others from exposure. As a result, many of our daily tasks such as grocery shopping and ordering takeout must be done online to avoid person-to-person contact.

Contactless = The New Normal

Our new normal requires us to keep our distance. Touching germ-ridden keypads, mobile devices, and terminals must be avoided. Food delivery and payments will require contactless solutions.

Delivery

Food delivery was already a rapidly growing industry before the pandemic. Yet, at the writing of this blog post, food delivery spending is 30% higher than normal. More consumers are opting for delivery due to the closure of many restaurants across the country and to protect themselves.

In terms of contactless solutions within delivery, many food delivery companies allow payment inside their apps before the delivery takes place. Consumers are also selecting “contactless delivery” options within delivery applications that instruct couriers to place deliveries on their doorsteps as a makeshift contactless delivery method.

Delivery isn’t just for food either. Uber recently launched a new service, Uber Connect, allowing consumers to send no-contact packages to loved ones across various cities. Uber Direct works in the same way, allowing consumers to receive orders from retailers for groceries, household items, and more.

Payments

Many consumers now see contactless mobile payments as the normal and safe way to pay. They’re using their mobile device to pay for pick-up and delivery orders. Those that must venture in-store are taking advantage of proximity payment solutions to avoid paying with cash or card.

To keep up with consumers’ demands for safe payment solutions, many companies are changing the way they accept payment. Fast food companies such as Burger King are advertising contactless drive-thru services. And grocery chains like Publix are quickly implementing tap-to-pay systems in-store.

Around 27% of small businesses have seen an increase in the use of services like Apple Pay since the onset of COVID-19. Richard Crone, CEO of Crone Consulting, LLC, expects to see contactless payments increase to 10-20% of transactions at stores and ATMs as the result of the pandemic. It’s also evident that services such as PayPal and Venmo will increase as well. According to a recent Mastercard consumer poll , 51% of Americans are now using a form of contactless payment. Needless to say, the consumer shift to contactless solutions is more apparent now than ever before.

Increased E-Commerce Enhances the Potential for Fraud

Unfortunately, an increase in mobile payment and e-commerce means an increase in the potential for fraud. Data from Fortner points to two areas of increased fraud: delivery and promo abuse.

Shipping and Delivery

Customers who receive a product they wish to return will be unable to due to stay-at-home restrictions. Consumers may also take advantage of you by claiming they didn’t receive their order, the order came late or the order was incorrect.

Unfortunately, this often results in friendly fraud via chargebacks. Consumers will request a chargeback from their credit card company, disputing legitimate charges.

Promo Abuse

Many businesses are using promo codes to attract new customers during this uncertain time. Unfortunately, customers may commit fraud by opening multiple accounts to receive and use one-time promo codes. This can result in serious monetary loss for businesses unaware of these tactics.

Combat Fraud With Contactless Delivery and Payments by LISNR®

LISNR® helps companies prevent friendly fraud via our ultrasonic technology solution. Using sound and software to transmit data, we discourage friendly fraud due to proximity authentication. LISNR® technology reduces friction, helps identify bad actors, and works as a valuable signal for fraud departments.

Contactless delivery and payments won’t be going away anytime soon. It truly is the new normal. With LISNR®, you can future-proof your business while keeping the safety of your customers in mind, without sacrificing your bottom line to fraud. To learn more, send us a message.