As cashierless shopping continues to gain momentum with Amazon Go and its competitors, German payments company Wirecard is partnering with Sprint to develop a similar experience for its clients. Wirecard this month announced it would use Sprint’s Curiosity internet-of-things network to help deliver cashierless checkout and provide retailers with better data on shoppers.
“The goal is to really inform the retailer and their orientation to the customer,” said Kevin Brown, vice president of marketing and strategic partnerships at Wirecard North America. “For the consumer experience, the desired end state is for payments to recede into the background.”
For Wirecard, the Sprint Curiosity platform provides a new distribution channel for its cashierless payment technologies. It also helps Wirecard provide better customer data to retailers looking to provide a customized experience for customers. Instead of solely providing payment data to retailers, Wirecard will be able to combine payment and with in-store shopping behavior data to provide a holistic view of the consumer to retailers.
The Sprint Curiosity network connects to in-store beacons and electronic shelf labels. Shoppers will activate an app, walk into the store, pick up their purchases and leave without having to wait in a checkout line. Instead, the IoT network will charge a saved payment method from the customer’s app.
With the network monitoring where customers go, retailers will be able to provide a customized experience for shoppers. For example, the retailer could send that shopper alerts for products that correspond to their transaction patterns.
Wirecard began rolling out its cashierless checkout product suite this summer, but the company hasn’t disclosed which retailers are using the service. The in-store cameras will monitor customers to prevent theft, and Wirecard’s algorithms can detect abnormal purchase patterns.
“Obviously, we are not Amazon and we don’t want to be an Amazon; we see ourselves as enablers,” Susanne Steidl, chief product officer at Wirecard, told Bank Innovation in August. “With [product] partnerships, we can offer possibilities to retailers, so they can lift themselves up to the same level as Amazon.”
Wirecard helps companies both accept and make payments, including banks. In August, the company launched a mobile app for customers to monitor their account activities. In September, Wirecard partnered with UnionPay to help the Chinese card-issuing giant expand internationally. The company, founded in 1999, has almost 280,000 customers. It processed more than 671 billion transactions last year.
Despite the promise of cashierless shopping, actual delivery of the experience might not be so simple. “From a deployment standpoint, part of the issue is that retrofitting an existing store is super expensive, especially in the grocery and convenience store categories where margins aren’t very high,” Sucharita Kodali, principal analyst at Forrester Research, recently told Bank Innovation. “Right now, the only benefit is it’s delightful from a customer experience standpoint for a few customers — but are they buying more?”
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