Digital Integration Booming Amid COVID-19

With Australia’s population hyper-aware of how their behaviour may put them at risk of COVID-19, the country’s retail sector is experiencing a wave of digital transformation. Whilst digital ordering and payment technologies have been around for some and seeing a steady increase in adoption rates, the recent health crisis has pushed forward this change and caused a boom in usage.

Many businesses are informing consumers that their preference is tap-and-pay in an effort to avoid the contact required by cash payments, resulting in Australian’s making 800 million card transactions a month as of March 2020. In fact, Australia has become the largest user of contactless payments globally, with 83% of point-of-sale card transactions being contactless according to the Reserve Bank of Australia. It’s clear that the country has been heading in this direction for some time, but the circumstances resulting from COVID-19 have meant businesses and consumers are truly embracing the no-contact movement.

The logical next step is the integration of digital payment technologies, which often go hand in hand with digital ordering platforms. This may come in the form of McDonald’s kiosks which eliminate the need for face-to-face interactions, or it could be a virtual platform such as KFC’s click-and-collect app. As these facilities become more popular, suppliers are racing to product savvy point-of-sale systems and software to support the demand.

On the consumer front, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay all offer digital wallet technologies which allow people to make payments using their phones and smart watches. Such services are now used by 10.8% of Australian’s. In this space, there are several trends emerging to ensure security and reduce the chance of theft or fraud. Biometric authentication is one of the most popular options and includes methods such as fingerprinting and facial recognition.

Longer standing digital payment providers such as PayPal are also getting involved, with many online and app-based ordering systems prompting consumers to connect their PayPal account for easy one-touch payment. This is part of the appeal of food delivery services such as Uber Eats where consumers can have food delivered completely contact-free with only a couple of clicks.

However, it is not only retailers that can benefit from adopting such digital technologies. Third-party providers are also taking a share of the market with a steep rise in the use of apps which allow users to send and receive money from friends. All you need to do it connect your credit card, bank account or PayPal and then you can use these apps to split the bill, send a gift or even manage rent payments among house-mates.

COVID-19 and the new health-conscious consumer landscape is certainly fast-tracking the adoption of digital technologies in both small and large business alike. However, we expect to see new and innovative ordering and payment technologies continuing to rise in popularity is both consumers and business owners seek convenience and efficiency.

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