Retailers are under huge threat in the current environment and survival is going to be dependent on how quickly they can adapt to the new world. Shopping centres may well have to reinvent themselves and some are even converting to housing.
A major factor for the reinvented retailer is the simple matter of payments. Many customers are becoming increasingly wary of giving their card details to relatively speaking unknown retailers for, in many instances, one-off purchases. This obviously applies to those customers who have cards and therefore the ability to pay digitally. What about f the 700 million people in Africa who do not have access to such digital payments? How does the reinvented retailer get payment from this mass of customers? They certainly cannot afford to ignore this lucrative segment of the market. As a critical matter of urgency we have to get these financially excluded people into the digital payments loop.
What about the small retailer – many of them unbanked. Not only can they not pay for their stock in trade digitally but they cannot accept digital payments from their customers. Herein lies an enormous opportunity. The challenge is that many of these small retailers and merchants cannot or will not invest in physical hardware i.e. point of sale machines. In today’s world all of these retailers have a cell phone which, when using state of the art secure technology, becomes a virtual point of sale device accepting all payments safely and securely.
This will be the driving force in the new retail era.
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