Bay Area Consumers Prefer Touch-Free Transactions
Across the Bay Area, small business owners have adapted to the “new shopping normal” with impressive speed and creativity. Parking spaces have transformed into “Parklets,” essentially creating outdoor pop-up shopping bazaars. Restaurateurs metamorphosed traditional in-house dining to outside heated dining pods, expansive online orders grew to include wine, beer, and spirits that diners easily purchase. Stores, from groceries to nurseries to independent boutiques, implemented curbside pick-up, and, like many restaurants, touch-free pick-up and delivery.
As we settle into a new year, it is very likely we will continue to use these once innovative small business practices as a permanent part of future commerce. Why? These many adaptations have increased customer convenience, safety, and familiarity with independent small businesses within the community. Even after we move back inside to dine and browse for a special garment or home supply, touch-free transactions will remain the way we do business and pay for our products and services.
While time will tell if pop-up sidewalk dining terraces and curbside pickup from the hardware store will become standard practice, touch-free payments appear here to stay. We were already well on our way to replacing wallets with our smartphones, and not just because many smartphone cases come with credit cardholders. Touch-free payments make a lot of sense for everyday purchasing, adding personal security and increasing convenience for our busy on-the-go lifestyles. Whether we’re grabbing a coffee and scone or picking up next season’s bulbs to plant, using touch-free payments allows us to limit our physical contact and spend less time in lines and at cash registers.
Consumers have also become used to less physical contact. A PayPal survey found that 70% of respondents said they found the possibility of making payments using their smartphones appealing. Paper receipts
have also become old news, as PayPal allow merchants to send detailed invoices from a quick latte
pick-me-up at the neighborhood bakery to a monthly prescription at the drugstore via email or direct message to the consumer.
As customers, we’ve come to prefer touch-free interactions. For business owners, a touch-free payment system provides more efficient accounting and significantly increases the transaction speed resulting in more potential sales.
Parklets, Curbside Pick-Up, and Touch-Free Transactions Will Outlast Pandemic
The QR code is another reason why touch-free
purchasing is likely here to stay. These coded boxes have become so ubiquitous “QRCODES” recently appeared in the
New York Times crossword puzzle. The clue: “Things scanned nowadays.” We haven’t seen this significant a change in how we conduct in-person financial transactions since Diner’s Club introduced the first consumer credit card in the 1950s.
The passage of a plastic card from consumer to clerk, checkout person, or waiter has swiftly gone the way of fumbling for dollar bills to pay for clothes, groceries, or dinner.
Appears Here to Stay
Customers presently analyze the shopping environment as closely as they scrutinize red-tag sale items and seasonal discounts. For good reason, many consumers will only visit stores and eat at restaurants that adhere to social distancing mandates and mask-wearing protocols. Touch-free purchasing using QR codes has become the go-to factor in a shopper or diner’s decision to frequent an establishment. With many restaurants “Scan. Pay. Go.” is now as familiar as an appetizer, entrée, and dessert, whether we are seated at an outside table or collecting our dinner curbside after placing an online order. Repeat customers, who trust these safety protocols, are especially important to small businesses and independent restaurants.
Merchants can download a QR code directly from the PayPal app, print it out, or display it on a smart device. There is no need for additional hardware, software, or a card reader. A smartphone is all it takes.
Implementing the QR code payment system works easily whether the business is a national brand or an independently-owned boutique. With PayPal QR Codes, shoppers simply open their PayPal app, scan the QR code posted at the register or on a sales associate’s handheld device, enter the price, press “Send” and go. The customer’s receipt is automatically generated without any paper or plastic exchanging hands. Businesses that use PayPal can offer quick, simple payments to more than 361 million active customers just by generating a custom QR code. And they can do it without any additional hardware, software, or card readers.
It’s hard to imagine in-store shopping that involves cluttered showrooms and long cash register queues again. The use of QR codes and touch-free payment portals like PayPal not only keep contact at a minimum, they have increased efficiency and financial security for both the shopper and the shopkeeper. Knowing we can move swiftly through the line without contact and pay using a greater choice of methods means we are more likely to return to
a specific store and spend more when we are there.
PayPal and Venmo QR codes offer our customers a secure and touch-free way to complete their purchase with a payment brand they know and trust.
— Jon Roberts, Executive Vice President
and Chief Operating Officer at CVS Health.
Creating or expanding online offerings is another way that owners of independent boutiques, bookshops, and mercantile have catered to their regular customers and expanded their online consumer presence. Already trusted for touch-free and online purchasing, PayPal has created an e-commerce website including page templates, shipping options, and built-in PayPal payment features. Shop owners can also reach new customers via the social media component, a key way to tap into global e-commerce sales that topped $3.5 billion in sales by the end of 2019.
Why Touch-Free Payments Have Gone from Trend to the Norm
Widespread adoption of social distancing protocols, implementation of vaccines, and other safety measures suggest a brighter future is on the horizon. We’ll also come to appreciate 2020 when we rallied for each other and in our neighborhoods by supporting small businesses to make it through challenging times. These independent owners of clothing boutiques, specialty stores, and restaurants have worked tirelessly to offer a safe place that breeds familiarity, a most-welcome respite from the many hours we spend in our domestic bubbles.
Business owner’s efforts to create a positive shopping environment by expanding an online catalog, increasing take-out options, and creating a touch-free purchasing environment not only appeal to their customers, it allows these businesses to employ others as well. If you own or manage an independent establishment, visit the PayPal small business website to learn more about PayPal QR Codes and how PayPal works with you for now and in the future.