By Daniel Hunter

UK shoppers are driven by an acute need for speed and will often choose technology over personal interaction, an approach which is fuelling the uptake of new payment methods and transforming the traditional store experience, according to new research from WorldPay, the global leader in payments processing.

The research examined the public’s attitudes to and usage of emerging payment technologies, with a particular focus on shopping habits and behaviours.

Speed is the most important consideration for time poor consumers with one in three often irritated by how long it takes to pay in shops. 20% are concerned about the time it takes to print receipts and even taking cash out of a wallet is ‘too time consuming’ for 1 in 5 (23%). The need for hyperspeed is also dictating shopping choices, for example, 62% would buy more from retailers with a seamless and quick returns process.

Businesses were also ranked according to the public’s views on how quickly they were able to process payments. Supermarkets were ranked the highest of all outlets with 32% of shoppers believing they provided fast payments, outperforming even fast food outlets, with only 1 in 10 of us (11%) describing their payments as ‘fast’. Cafes and restaurants were perceived as the slowest payment outlets for shoppers, with only 6% describing their payments as fast.

The report highlights how consumers are turning to technology transactions to cut out human interaction while shopping. One in five (23%) favour self-service scanners as they ‘don’t have to talk to people’, and 40% like shopping online for the same reason.

However, the popularity of these types of technology, which bypass the traditional face- to -face customer experience, varies considerably with age. Shoppers under 45 years, for example, are more than twice as likely to welcome using self-service kiosks, than those over 45.

“The analysis of shopping attitudes and behaviours mirrors the broader changes happening in society today. Technology has transformed the way we communicate but also generated expectations around the speed of interactions," Ron Kalifa, Deputy Chairman at WorldPay said.

"Consumers are thinking in seconds rather than minutes and as our research showed, a fast shopper is a happy shopper. Retailers should examine all aspects of their interaction with customers in light of these findings, from the speed of their payment processes through to their management of refunds.

"They can also reassess the role that customer service assistants play in the retail environment. Unshackled from purchasing payments, they could provide value to customers through other means, such as greater expertise on the product or service offering or getting customers more engaged with the brand.”

The Omni-Payments research report demonstrated a rise in interest for new payment technologies. 30% would like to use PIN based smartphones, 25% online wallets and 23% SMS payments, whilst a further 12% would be interested in paying through social media.

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