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Elevating In-Store Payments: How To Do It with QR Codes


As technology takes hold in most facets of our day-to-day lives, how we pay is changing. Cash is no longer king, and our physical cards are left at home half the time. So what’s next? We’ve touched on the future of retail and how QR codes can reshape in-store payments. But for this article, we’ll marry each subject and dive deeper into how in-store QR transactions can deliver a flawless customer experience.

Carry on reading to uncover:

  • What customer experience is and why it matters
  • In-store payments and how QR code payments improve them
  • Advice on adding QR code payments to your business
  • What the future holds for payments

Defining the customer experience

Need a little more background before we take the plunge? No problem. Customer experience (or CX) is defined by a person’s research, buying and usage journey. And yes, it could relate to any product or service purchased in-store or online. It doesn’t take a retail guru to understand that however a purchase is made, consumers crave a seamless experience! 

The main elements of customer experience are brand, product, price and service. Businesses are responsible for putting the consumer first and delivering a feelgood feeling, whether fitting a new roof or serving up steak frites. Let’s draw from everyday life to highlight exactly what we say here. You’re too early for the office and want to stop by a coffee shop to do some emails. Let’s see how the in-store customer experience could unfold…

Environment: If the shop looks well-kept and inviting outside, we’re off to a great start.

Inviting: It’s got to be warm, comfortable, and well-lit inside too. You’ll want to be staff happy to see you, rather than busy having their own conversations.

Free Wi-Fi: If a customer has come to work, they’ll be looking for free internet, not a passive-aggressive ‘no laptop’ sign.

Quick and efficient service: If that massive queue isn’t reducing, then maybe not.

Service: Staff need to be able to run through the menu, ask for any allergies and offer plant milk options.

Sustainability: 55% of UK consumers say living sustainably is important and try to make sustainable choices. If the store uses too much plastic, this may annoy mindful customers.

Quality products: Customers will want coffee that meets expectations. If they forgot the hazelnut syrup, then there could be tears.

Loyalty rewards: This customer could become a regular if they can collect points on each purchase. They might lose a little paper card. A QR code in their digital wallet, however…

The significance of in-store payments in 2023

Let’s consider some key payment statistics. Statista said debit cards made 47% of POS transactions in the United Kingdom in 2022. Banknotes or coins comprised only 10% of brick-and-mortar payments that same year. We’re not saying you go completely cashless, but this pudding proves consumer habits are changing.

Traditional cash and card payments also come with customer experience pitfalls. For example, a barbershop in a small town can’t afford steep card fees, so they only accept cards. Fair enough, but with bank branches closing rapidly, there’s a spanner in the works. This town doesn’t have a bank, and the closest cash machine is over a mile away. It’s all peachy if the customer has cash, but what if they don’t? Their experience takes a hit, and they might not have a card reader to make a bank transfer. It’s essentially not the carefree haircut experience they were looking for. If they’re a first-time customer, they might not return. 

That’s why our good friend, the QR code, is becoming a payment godsend. The predicament above is eased with services like ours, which offer a quick scan and tap to pay without cash, cards or bank details. What about that painfully long queue in the coffee shop? It’s drastically reduced when customers have the option of contactless and digital shopping, stopping them from walking back out of the door.

How in-store QR code payments could help

If you’re running a business and feel like our underprepared barber above, QR code payments are a great way to change the game. The section should hopefully offer a better path to experience-enhancing in-store payments. But the key benefits of our QR code payments are:

Absolute convenience: Payments are made in the customer’s smartphone bank app. With no bank details to share and funds instantly debited, there isn’t a better payment experience.

Instant payments: The customer pays instantly and has an up-to-date statement. Your business cash flow also gets a boost with instant settlement at a maximum of 0.6% per successful transaction. Forget waiting days for your funds to clear – this happens in seconds.

Bank-level security: The customer’s banking app confirms the payment with a face or fingerprint scan. Funds can’t be released without confirming identity, meaning chargebacks and other fraudulent payments are stopped.

A ton of extra features: From printing codes on bills to leaving a tip, there isn’t much QR codes can’t do to improve customer experience!

How to use QR code payments

From hospitality to beauty and beyond, QR code payments are becoming a logical choice for businesses of all sizes. They provide an incredibly convenient way to access secure digital transactions without much more than a smartphone. If you’re ready to leap into fast, fair and secure payments, here’s how to get started…

Choose a QR code provider and create an account: Several POS and hospitality systems offer QR codes tailored to the industry. They often come with lower fees than traditional payment methods. Consider integrations and ask other hospitality operators for recommendations. We want you to choose Atoa, though! 

Setup and launch: Whether you opt for a full-blown installation or a simple app setup, ensuring it runs smoothly is the most important thing. Test payments end-to-end on various devices to guarantee the best customer experience. Make sure your staff have had enough training to keep customers happy. 

Display your codes: Your provider should give you printable QR codes like stickers for your tables or treatment rooms. Fast-moving takeaway setup? Some integrations also offer on-screen kiosk ordering, which could be your perfect match. Communicate with customers about this new payment method and share the benefits and security features.

Accept payments anywhere: QR codes can also be a fast, cost-effective, and secure way to pay, reducing fees and waiting times. Using Atoa? Make the most of this feature by adding employees to take payments.

Hot tip: If guests enjoy their experience, they might leave a tip. Atoa has a tip feature built into its payment flow, which lets you choose from preset amounts or set your own.

Want to visualise it? Watch this simple step-by-step QR code bill payment video to better understand how easy it is.

Other ways QR codes can improve in-store payments

And they don’t just deliver lightning-fast payments. QR codes are like Pringles: you can’t stop once you pop. As they’re very handy vessels for transmitting information, here are a few other ways QR codes could improve your customer experience:

Booking appointments with QR stickers

If your salon is closed and a customer walks by, a QR code sticker on the door is a great way to let them book an appointment around the clock. They feel happy to have secured an appointment, and your business doesn’t miss out on funds.

End-to-end QR code orders

As well as paying, customers can order food and drink using QR code menus placed on the table. This saves them from waiting for staff, and they can check the menu to order whenever they’re ready. This is a game-changer for big bookings and peak service times. A big bonus is that your staff spend less time on orders and payments!

Take your customers places…

Not jet-setting, unfortunately. QR codes are a great gateway from printed material to digital places, like your website, social media, or Google Maps listing. Anything that needs hyperlinking…because as often as you try to press a printed link, it won’t open! This helps customers quickly find the information they need and leave reviews and feedback, which is instrumental for everyone. 

Digital loyalty, rewards and coupons

Customers want their loyalty noted and love a little discount from you. We’ll lean on Statista for more insight here. A UK and US survey found that in 2022, 81% of retail staff believed that the most important in-store features to increase consumer loyalty were access to mobile apps and using QR codes to check prices and stock. A further 77% found digital rewards and coupons central to consumer loyalty. Give the people what they want and let that in-store experience flourish.

The takeaway

And there you have it – a short but snappy guide to improving the in-store experience with QR code payments. Better shopping, more enjoyable coffees or quicker payments you’re after – this barcode has it all. Every scan and tap to pay is a step toward a more connected and effortless shopping experience.

If you’re eager to elevate your in-store payments and provide customers with a seamless, lightning-fast experience, why not check us out? We’re not just about payments; we’re about creating an in-store feeling that keeps your customers returning for more.

Ready to unlock the potential of QR codes and take your customer journey to new levels? Dive into the future of in-store transactions by downloading Atoa now! We’ll give you 14 days of totally free transactions to get you started…

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