44% of retailers to offer contactless payments by next year

According to a new report by MasterCard, 44% of retailers will offer contactless payment technologies in-store and 35% will invest in new mobile and e-commerce technology over the next year.

Key findings from the report reveal the principal factors shaping the industry today:

· The customer is in the driving seat: One in three retailers cited a more empowered customer (32%), alongside increased choice (competition from other retailers – 37%), as amongst the top causes of change in the retail sector in the past five years

· Retailers are ramping up investment in new technology solutions to keep pace with customer demand: in the next year, 44% of retailers will offer contactless payment technologies in-store, voting this the single most important area for short-term investment. More than one in three (35%) will invest in new technologies to enhance e- and m- commerce

· Data allows retailers to put the ‘I’ in I-factor: a personalized service is key to retail success, as retailers vote data the second most important area for short-term investment to retain customer loyalty and grow market share. Forty-one per cent say they will use data to deliver an improved customer experience in the coming year, whilst 38% are increasing customer segmentation and 39% are delivering personalized customer experiences across multiple channels

But the industry feels hostage to the next game-changing technology: 34% believe that some yet unknown technology will be a main driver in changing customer expectations by 2020, hindering confidence in how to invest

· Smaller companies are capitalizing on agility and speed: This feeling of uncertainty rises to 49% in companies with a turnover of €500m or more. Larger retailers are also more likely to cite legacy issues as holding the industry back when it comes to offering the multi-channel opportunities that consumers want: for example, 70% cited speed of adoption across different global market, versus 60% amongst smaller retailers.

· Ian Cheshire, Chief Executive, Kingfisher says: “At the moment, the fast-follower, the small and the nimble, have got more flexibility than the big boys. But the major retailers who are investing heavily in this are becoming more agile too.”