Tap-to-Pay NFC Alternative

Can Ultrasonic Be An Alternative Solution For Tap-To-Pay When NFC Isn’t Present?

Near Field Communication (NFC) has been a cornerstone technology in the contactless payments landscape in many parts of the world. With an estimated market value of $30.47 billion in 2024, NFC’s rise has primarily depended on mobile payments.

However, NFC’s limitations –  including its reliance on proximity, specialized hardware, NFC-enabled consumer devices, and consistent online connectivity – spotlight the necessity for alternative solutions. The quest for seamless, contactless payment solutions has never been more pressing.

Ultrasonic technology offers a powerful alternative solution to NFC to overcome these challenges, especially in areas with limited or nonexistent NFC infrastructure or inconsistent Internet access. Bolstered by the surge in contactless payment adoption and the heightened hygiene concerns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, data-over-sound has the potential to offer a novel approach to tap-to-pay functionalities and beyond.

So, how exactly does ultrasonic technology stand as a potent NFC alternative for tap-to-pay? Let’s take a look.

TLDR; Key Takeaways

  • Ultrasonic technology provides a secure and efficient alternative to NFC for tap-to-pay transactions.
  • Data-over-sound can function optimally in scenarios where NFC availability is limited or non-existent or consistent online connectivity isn’t possible.
  • Ultrasonic data can be transmitted over greater distances without the Internet, which overcomes NFC’s limitations in global adoption and scenarios for underserved populations.
  • These sound-based solutions mitigate common NFC vulnerabilities and risks like payment processing fraud, eavesdropping, and replay attacks.
  • Ultrasonic payment solutions can transform various devices into payment terminals, broadening the scope for contactless payments beyond current NFC capabilities.

Introduction to NFC and Its Limitations

NFC technology was a breath of fresh air in the world of transactions, turning the tedious task of paying for your coffee into a magic tap-and-go ritual.

But its journey to global superstardom hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns.

Infrastructure headaches and those pesky security bugs have thrown a few wrenches in the works (that’s “spanners” for our UK friends), making the road to widespread retailer adoption a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

History of NFC in Tap-to-Pay Ecosystems

Remember the early 2000s? Y2K fears had just died down, and then boom, NFC came onto the scene, promising to revolutionize how we pay for stuff. It was like suddenly finding a secret passageway in your favorite video game. With its cool inductive coupling trick, NFC technology lets your smartphone and the payment terminal have a private chat, exchanging payment info with a wave or a tap. No more digging for change or swiping cards like it’s 1999.

This was a minor upgrade to our shopping sprees and a giant leap towards the future. 

Mobile payment systems like Apple Pay and Google Wallet jumped on the NFC bandwagon, and before we knew it, tapping to pay was the new norm. From paying faster to adding a layer of security, NFC made the old swipe-and-sign method look like sending a postcard with your bank details written on it.

How NFC Works in Tap-to-Pay

Behind the scenes in a tap-to-pay event, NFC is quite particular about how a transaction occurs. For starters, it requires that the customer’s phone and the store’s terminal are practically touching (technically, within 4 cm). Both devices must know the secret handshake (a.k.a. support NFC) to facilitate the data exchange. 

Since the transaction requires a solid Internet connection to carry the payment through the exchange of data in the digital ether, the transaction is severed if the Internet is insufficient.

Here’s what the NFC process looks like:

At the heart of NFC’s operation is the principle of inductive coupling, which allows two portable devices—such as a smartphone and a payment terminal—to communicate via electromagnetic fields when brought within 4 cm of each other. This proximity requirement triggers a secure exchange of payment information without physical contact, initiating the transaction process. Once the terminal’s signal is activated, the NFC chip within the customer’s device transmits encrypted payment details for processing. This method speeds up transactions and enhances security by minimizing risks associated with the physical handling of payment cards.

The Challenge with NFC Adoption in Retail Environments

Let’s talk about the rollercoaster ride that is NFC adoption in the retail world. While NFC has been a game-changer, making payments quicker and safer, it’s also had its fair share of “But wait, there’s more” moments, reminding us that even the most remarkable tech can have its limits.

Security

First off, the elephant in the room: security. We’ve all heard the stories—lost or stolen contactless cards getting a little too friendly with fraudsters, no PIN or signature needed. It’s like leaving your digital front door unlocked. This glaring issue is making everyone, from your local coffee shop to big retail chains, question if the simplicity of tap-to-pay is worth the gamble.

Instability

And then there’s the issue of NFC’s picky nature. It demands both the shopper’s device and the retailer’s terminal be on the same tech page, not to mention the need for an uninterrupted Internet connection to process payments. Imagine the frustration in areas where the Internet plays hide and seek or communities where the latest gadgets are more of a luxury than a given. The push for a digitized globe revealed NFC’s Achilles’ heel—its limited reach and compatibility issues across different technological landscapes.

Too Impersonal

Retailers are now in a dilemma. In the rush to make everything quick and contactless, we may have missed the mark on connecting with customers personally. Remember the days when a cashier would comment on your choice of snacks? Now, it’s all beep and go. There’s a growing realization that the tech supporting our shopping habits needs to do more than just speed things up. It should also open doors to deeper engagement, like personalized offers that make you feel seen, not just scanned.

In essence, the retail world is on the hunt for a tech superhero who’s secure and speedy and brings a personal touch to the table, reaching every corner of the globe without breaking a sweat. NFC has laid some solid groundwork, no doubt. It’s fast and user-friendly and has introduced the payments space to the possibilities of contactless transmissions. But as we look ahead, we’re craving solutions that can go the extra mile, ensuring no shopper or retailer is left behind in the digital dust.

The Rise of Ultrasonic Technology as an NFC Alternative

Ultrasonic technology has emerged in the last decade as a viable NFC alternative, addressing many of NFC’s limitations related to global adoption, online connectivity, and security loopholes.

Retailers need to consider personalization as a future benefit when looking for tap-to-pay alternatives to NFC. 

For today’s global retailers, the quest for a payment solution that combines the ease of NFC with a more personalized touch has been a bit like searching for a needle in a digital haystack. Ultrasonic technology could just be the magnet they need, offering a way to make every transaction feel less like a routine and more like a tailored experience. 

What Is Ultrasonic Technology?

Ultrasonic technology uses sound waves to transmit data between devices, offering a versatile and secure method for contactless payments without the constraints of NFC’s proximity requirements or Internet connectivity. This tech, also referred to as “data-over-sound,” turns sound into a digital courier, carrying data over airwaves and bypassing traditional barriers like NFC’s need for close contact and constant Internet access. 

Ultrasonic technology operates on a principle that is both simple and sophisticated. By emitting sound waves at frequencies beyond the human audible range, it establishes a secure channel for data transmission. 

Here’s how it works:

RSA Infographic-Ultrasonic Alternative to NFC Solution Provider

This isn’t just theoretical tech magic; big names like Visa, Mastercard, Clear, Google, and many other innovative companies across every retail, merchant, and mobility sector are already harnessing ultrasonic waves to revolutionize how we think about proximity technology. From speeding through transit gates to snagging that latte on a morning run, ultrasonic tech is making its mark as the invisible link in an interconnected world.

Benefits of Ultrasonic Over NFC

Ultrasonic technology doesn’t just sidestep NFC’s hurdles; it leaps over them with the grace of a tech-powered gazelle:

Long-Distance Data Transmission

Where NFC’s reach is a mere handshake away, ultrasonic tone profiles can be configured for close proximity or to travel across rooms, making the “tap” in tap-to-pay more flexible and reliable. 

No Internet? No Problem

This tech doesn’t blink during Internet outages. With ultrasonic waves, transactions flow as smoothly in regions with less advanced technological infrastructures as they do in a bustling city, making digital payments truly borderless.

A Fortress of Security

In a world where digital eavesdroppers lurk around every corner, ultrasonic technology fortifies its walls by supporting the enablement of advanced encryption. This turns every transaction into a secure exchange immune to NFC’s common vulnerabilities, like replay attacks and eavesdropping.

How Ultrasonic Payment Works: A Technical Insight

Significant advancements in ultrasonic technology have aided in security, efficiency, and global adoption in the last decade. As an alternative to NFC, ultrasonic technology is carving out its niche, proving that it can achieve seamless transactions without the traditional hang-ups of close proximity or NFC/Internet dependency.

The Process Behind Ultrasonic Payments

Imagine your customers being able to conduct transactions as effortlessly as sending a text message without worrying about network availability or physical contact with nearby devices. That’s the promise of ultrasonic payments. 

Through the emission of encrypted sound waves from one device to another, ultrasonic payments facilitate secure transactions without physical contact or the need for online connectivity, sidestepping NFC’s main vulnerabilities. Here’s how it works:

  • Ultrasonic payments transmit data using sound waves at frequencies above the human hearing range (typically above 20 kHz). (Note: Most LISNR tones cap out at just under 20kHz in the “near ultrasonic” range, but when a transceiver type uses two Point profiles, the high-end frequency is just over 20kHz.)
  • This process begins when a payment terminal generates an ultrasonic signal encoded with payment information. 
  • This signal is then captured by the microphone of the receiving device, such as a smartphone, where specialized software decodes the information.
  • Data is encoded into these sound waves using sophisticated signal processing methods to secure the payment details during their airborne journey.
  • Once the receiving device decodes this data, it returns the transaction details to the payment terminal, completing the process without needing an Internet connection or NFC’s close proximity requirement.

The technical underpinnings of ultrasonic payments reveal a key advantage: the ability to conduct secure transactions in any setting. This includes environments where traditional digital payments face challenges, such as areas with unreliable Internet service or situations where contactless payments need to be as frictionless as possible. 

Benefits of Ultrasonic Payments in Retail

Ultrasonic technology in retail expands the potential for global payment solutions and offers a unique opportunity to enhance customer experience with the promise of convenience and security.

For retailers, ultrasonic technology can reimagine the customer experience; transactions can occur in the most remote locations or the busiest urban centers without a hitch. The absence of a need for online connectivity or NFC’s proximity limitations opens up new avenues for customer engagement, inventory management, and service delivery, so your business stays ahead of the curve in accessibility and convenience. Let’s dig into a few key benefits of using ultrasonic technology as an alternative to tap-to-pay.

Go Global Without a Hitch

Think of ultrasonic payments as a passport to worldwide sales, minus the jet lag. This tech doesn’t sweat if the Internet goes offline—it can function off the grid. For retailers looking to spread their wings and reach out to customers in far-off places or spots where Wi-Fi is inconsistent, ultrasonic technology can continue facilitating payments.

Make Shopping Snappier

Shopping with ultrasonic payments is like upgrading to the express lane every time. Customers zip through their purchases without getting bogged down by the usual payment drama, especially in bustling spots where every second counts. It’s all about keeping things moving smoothly, making sure shoppers leave with a smile and plans to come back.

No More Personal Space Issues

Forget about having to cozy up to the payment terminal—ultrasonic payments don’t mind a bit of distance. With configurable tone profiles, customers and cashiers don’t have the friction or frustration of making the perfect tap to conduct a payment. It’s a small change that greatly affects how we all think about checking out.

Staying Ahead of the Game

Ditching the need for a solid Internet connection, retailers can offer a level of accessibility and convenience that’s genuinely innovative and reliable. Ultrasonic payment technology smooths the shopping process and plants a flag in the ground, showing that a retailer is all about customer satisfaction.

In short, bringing ultrasonic payments into the retail mix is a game-changer, creating a shopping experience that’s more inclusive, efficient, and just plain cool. It’s about giving retailers and shoppers alike a glimpse into the future of payments—where convenience and connectivity converge to make buying and selling a breeze.

Compatibility and Security Features

We’ve touched on how ultrasonic technology, which offers compatibility with current devices and employs robust security features to protect against common NFC risks, enhances consumer trust in contactless payments. Let’s look closer at the compatibility and security features of data-over-sound.

Universal Compatibility

Ultrasonic technology is like the life of the party in the digital payment sphere, effortlessly connecting with a wide range of consumer devices. It doesn’t matter if your customers use the latest gadgets or cling to older, trusty tech; ultrasonic payments include everyone. This broad compatibility revolutionizes retail, ensuring you can serve every customer with no tech left behind. Hosting this inclusive party means nobody worries about being on the guest list based on the device they carry.

Unbreakable Security

When it comes to security in the digital realm, ultrasonic payments set a high bar. They provide the option to wrap each transaction in layers of sophisticated encryption and tokenization. Keeping data safe can build a genuine trust bond with your customers. They can shop with the assurance that their payment information is shielded from eavesdropping, replay attacks, and fraud. For retailers, this is a pledge of safety and reliability to your customers, enhancing loyalty and trust in your brand.

By harmonizing these capabilities, ultrasonic technology narrates a compelling story for the future of retail. For leaders and innovators in the field, adopting ultrasonic payments signals a commitment to a secure, inclusive, and tailored modality that meets the evolving needs of customers and the market. 

This strategic choice positions you at the forefront of the retail revolution, where transactions are seamless, accessible to all, and fortified against the challenges of the digital age.

How to Implement Ultrasonic Solutions in Retail

For retailers eyeing a switch to ultrasonic payment solutions, the journey is less about overhauling your existing setup and more about making intelligent tweaks. Let’s break down how you can bring this tech into your retail game. 

Steps for Adoption by Retailers

The beauty of ultrasonic tech lies in its low dependency on complex infrastructure. It thrives without a constant Internet connection and stands firm against the security challenges that often shadow NFC transactions. Retailers can integrate ultrasonic payment solutions with minimal infrastructure changes, benefiting from their independence from online connectivity and their resilience against security threats inherent to NFC.

Here are a few areas to consider:

1. Evaluate Your Current Tech Landscape

Take a good look at your existing payment systems. Understanding where you’re starting from helps in planning the integration of ultrasonic solutions with precision. This is where NFC solution providers (and alternative to NFC solution providers) can offer insights into the capabilities of your current setup and suggest enhancements or replacements necessary for ultrasonic technology adoption.

2. Partner with an Ultrasonic Tech Provider

Seek out the mavens in ultrasonic payment technology. These partnerships can provide you with the necessary toolkit and guidance to make the transition smooth. (We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention LISNR as a place to start.) Partnering with an alternative to NFC solution provider like LISNR, which specializes in ultrasonic payment solutions, can facilitate access to innovative technologies not traditionally offered by regular NFC solution providers.

3. Train Your Team

Make sure your staff is up to speed with the new system. A well-informed team can provide better support to customers during the transition, leveraging the expertise of your new tap-to-pay solution provider to maximize the benefits of ultrasonic technology. 

4. Pilot the Technology

Think regionally before rolling out globally. Test the ultrasonic payment system in select locations to gather insights and iron out any kinks before a full-scale rollout. This phased approach is commonly recommended by tap-to-pay solution providers to help assess the technology’s impact and effectiveness in real-world scenarios.

Infrastructure Requirements and Setup

Setting the stage for ultrasonic payments in your retail environment is more straightforward than you think. It primarily involves software updates to enable your systems to process ultrasonic transactions and equip your space with speaker devices capable of sending or receiving ultrasonic signals. 

However, you’ll first need to identify which upgrade path offers the least resistance: changing the process flow or appending existing tech.

Hardware Compatibility

Contact your provider to determine if your validator allows for a microphone and if you have the flexibility to change the data flow. Generally, the PSP provider offers this flow method. If not, you should determine the upgrade path to new gadgets that are ready to send or receive those high-frequency sound waves. 

Software Integration

Once your hardware is solidified, update your tech stack with a data-over-sound SDK like LISNR Radius to decode ultrasonic signals. This software acts as the bridge between the ultrasonic data transmission and your transaction processing system. 

Customer Communication

Let your customers know about the new payment method. Educate them on how it works and its benefits to their shopping experience.

Conclusion: Why Ultrasonic Might Be the Key to Universal Tap-to-Pay

As we zoom out to look at the big picture, it’s clear that ultrasonic technology is shaping up to be the heavyweight champion in the tap-to-pay alternative universe. By tackling NFC’s shortcomings head-on, ultrasonic payments bring to the table the kind of security, accessibility, and global reach that could very well set the new standard for how we transact in the future. 

Imagine a world where paying for your coffee, catching a train, or picking up groceries is as simple and secure as sending a sound wave through the air. That’s the promise of ultrasonic technology.

Predictions for Payment Technologies

Future of Tap to Pay NFC alternativeThe adoption of ultrasonic technology is expected to rise, driven by its advantages in security, range, and independence from Internet connectivity, addressing the critical needs of a global customer base. Its standout features—like military-grade security without the need for an Internet handshake and the ability to shout (well, whisper) payment info across a room without interference—are exactly what the global market needs. 

As retailers and consumers yearn for payment methods that keep pace with our connected yet often unstable online world, ultrasonic tech is now available to answer the call.

The Role of Consumer Preferences in Technology Adoption

Let’s remember the most critical players in this game: the consumers. Their growing demand for safe, sound, and universally accessible payment options is steering the ship of technological innovation in contactless payments and alternatives to NFC. 

Ultrasonic technology, with its unique blend of features, is hitting all the right notes, offering up a solution that could very well redefine the checkout experience. The tides of consumer preferences are shifting into a future where everyone, everywhere, can tap to pay with confidence.

So, here’s to the ultrasonic revolution—a sound wave set to ripple across the world, changing the way we think about tapping to pay, one transaction at a time. The leap towards democratizing digital payments signals a global shift towards more inclusive, secure, and user-friendly payment methods, marking a pivotal moment in the ongoing evolution of how we transact. 

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

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.