Less than half of UK high street stores support NFC

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Contactless NFC were being touted as the next big thing, but Juniper recently revised its forecast that the market would be worth $180 billion in 2017 to just $110 billion, which has been attributed to Apple neglecting to add the technology to the iPhone 5.

ICM Research has now conducted a mystery shopping experiment with 26 British high street stores to find that while 11 support the tap-to-pay system, just three of them actually promote the payment method to customers.

The firm says retailers are missing an opportunity to capitalise on customers’ shopping habits as 23% of shoppers haven’t bought an item in the past month because they haven’t had enough cash on them, something a tap of a mobile could potentially solve when cards are forgotten.

80% of retailers now claim to know what contactless payment is, though just 18% of shoppers knew they actually owned a contactless card, while 7% have no idea what the contactless symbol means.

“Retailer investment in contactless payment is essential to drive take up because consumer awareness and appetite already exist. More than half of the stores we visited didn’t even take contactless payment,’ explains Richard Moller in ICM’s retail team.

“In-store promotion is also vital. Of the 11 stores we visited with contactless payment technology, only three were actively promoting it, and only two – Marks & Spencer and EAT – had signage at checkouts. It is important that staff receive training too. Half of the sales assistants we spoke to in-store didn’t know if the shop took contactless payments, and over a quarter gave out the wrong information on payment limits.”

Jamie Belnikoff, associate director at ICM, adds: “There is a huge opportunity for retailers to drive revenues by developing and implementing a successful contactless payments strategy. However, as is often the case with new technology, it takes time to catch on, and there’s work to be done to communicate the advantages of contactless payment.”