Wearables must pave the way for faster payments – say shoppers

Almost two thirds of shoppers say the biggest impact wearable technology will have on the in-store customer experience will be speeding up checkouts, a survey for Vista Retail Support has found.

The poll, exploring consumer attitudes to wearable devices such as smartwatches, wristbands and fobs, also found 52% of shoppers believe it would be a "real advantage" not to have to carry a wallet, or remember PINs and passwords.

"Wearable technology is one of the biggest weapons bricks-and-mortar retailers will have in their armoury," said James Pepper, technical director, Vista Retail Support. "Rather than just being a pipe dream, these results show exactly how consumers want to improve the in-store experience. We know that the battle for shoppers is a tough one – and providing a speedier checkout experience is one major way retailers can differentiate themselves from the competition."

However, 70% of those surveyed believe that the new £30 limit on payments using wearable technology is still too low. Only 30% are happy with the current limit which recently came into force. Nearly a third (32%) want the limit lifted to £50, while 16% are in favour of a £100 limit and the same percentage want no limit at all. Only 6% wanted a £40 limit.

"Making wearable technology part of a consumer's shopping experience is not a given," Pepper continued. "To make the most of this opportunity, retailers will have to ensure they have the right infrastructure and at some point, the payment ceiling will have to be lifted, as many shoppers clearly think the current limit is too low."

Asked which types of stores would be most suitable to payment by wearable technology, the overwhelming majority (70%) said supermarkets, followed by coffee shops (66%) and bus stations, railway stations and airports (63%).

Discount or pound shops were seen as least suitable for wearable technology, with only just 25% saying they would pay for goods in this method.

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