How Shoppers Will Be Paying for Groceries in 2020 and Beyond

Gina Acosta
Executive Editor
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How Shoppers Will Be Paying for Groceries in 2020 and Beyond
Currently, three out of five U.S. smartphone users surveyed have a mobile wallet, according to Blackhawk Network

New research on shopper preferences for payment methods shows how food retailers can drive growth by closing the physical and digital gap. 

Currently, three out of five U.S. smartphone users surveyed have a mobile wallet, according to Blackhawk Network. Yet as of October 2018, only one in two restaurants and retailers accepted mobile payments. In-store use of mobile wallets has seen slower adoption in the United States versus other parts of the world, largely due to the legacy hardware and traditional checkout terminals that many retailers are still using.

While it would be a significant investment to implement new payment systems, it's time for retailers to leverage the big growth opportunity in meeting the demands of today's consumers who are looking for a seamless payment experience.

"Mobile wallet adoption is on the rise and can generate nearly $190 billion in transaction value in the U.S. by 20211, but there is still a disconnect between digital payments and in-store point of sale," said Blackhawk Network CEO and President Talbott Roche, a four-time Top Women in Grocery nominee, who presented these findings during NRF 2020: Retail's Big Show in New York. "We have seen incredible success stories in other markets like Asia, and the global share of mobile wallet market size is projected to reach almost $3 trillion by 2022. U.S. retailers have a huge chance for engagement and for driving greater footfall in their stores by leveraging omnichannel payments experiences and better acknowledging the digital shopper."

Blackhawk Network conducted new research to explore how U.S. consumers want to pay at POS to provide retailers with greater clarity on how to close the gap of digital and physical shopping experiences. Blackhawk found that the shoppers surveyed are interested in connecting cash and digital payment methods in-store, and that having these options would increase their engagement and spend with retailers.

Findings include:

  • Six in 10 shoppers surveyed said they would like to pay for things in-store by applying points they've earned in their loyalty programs, using their smartphones
  • Nearly half of shoppers (47%) surveyed reported that they would be more likely to join a loyalty program if they could use their points to pay for things
  • Seven in 10 shoppers surveyed said that they're interested in adding cash to an app or digital wallet, such as iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, Uber and PayPal, while in-store
  • If shoppers were able to add funds to a digital wallet in-store, 68% of those surveyed reported that they would shop in the store more often than they normally would, and 57% said that they would spend more money at the store than they normally would

These findings are good news for retailers: Investing in new payment methods that marry cash, loyalty and digital at the point of sale can increase shopper engagement and improve wallet share.  

Pleasanton, Calif.-based Blackhawk Network, formerly a division of Safeway, has been a pioneer in bringing together disparate payment and shopping experiences — i.e., the creation of the Gift Card Mall at grocery. 

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