Street Fight’s May Theme: Payment Power

This post is the latest in our “Payment Power” series. It’s our editorial focus for the month of May.


Over the past month, we at Street Fight have focused on privacy and location targeting, among other influential topics in local media, advertising, and commerce. This is part of our ongoing theme of the month program. 

This month, we change focus to payment innovations with a theme we’re calling Payment Power. Most digital marketing aims, however indirectly, to drive transactions. But what a transaction looks like is rapidly evolving today, and that’s true not just of the technologies that power the point of sale but also of the way brands and retailers are leveraging the point of sale itself to increase revenue, collect data, and differentiate themselves from the competition. The upshot is that payments are powerful, and this month, we investigate the innovations driving that power.

Payment innovations

Wallets

Some of the payment innovations hitting the market involve the physical way customers transact for goods. One major player here is mobile wallets such as Apple and Google Pay, which provide more consumer choice and added security at checkout. (Credit cards, a decades-old technology, are not much more vulnerable to breaches.) Mobile wallets are also part of a broader move toward contactless payments, which soared during the pandemic as customers looked for epidemiologically secure ways to pay.

Pick-up

Some payment innovations are less about the technology we use to transact and more about the process of how we obtain goods. Here, we’re thinking of buy-online, pick-up-in-store, or BOPIS, as well as curbside pickup. These, too, took off amid COVID, but they’re likely here to stay. One reason for that is that they’re simply convenient — consumers avoid checkout lines and get to pay the way they want, possibly boosting loyalty or attachment to the retailers that offer this technology. But that’s not all. Consider that BOPIS also offers the possibility of cross-selling when customers go in-store to pick up what they’ve already ordered online. And curbside pickup, especially during the pandemic, became a selling point, as consumers shied away from stores behind the times.

Cashierless stores

One type of transaction sea change that we’ve covered at length in Street Fight is the advent of cashierless stores. Amazon is leading the way in the US with its Go stores, though Standard Cognition is democratizing the technology and recently hit a $1 billion valuation on the back of a $150m investment round. 

Flexible payments

Finally, there are companies transforming the timeline of purchases. So-called flexible payment, or after-pay solutions such as Affirm, Klarna, and Afterpay allow customers to divvy up the price of a transaction into several installments. This could boost cart sizes and lure customers who might not otherwise wade into pricier stores.

How will all of the above play out in the remainder of 2021? We’ll tackle this question throughout the month. So look out for the tag “Payment Power.” We’ll label posts so you can discover them daily or actively browse them. Coverage will include our own daily reporting as well as analytical dives from our growing network of columnists and contributors.

Speaking of which, we’ll take this chance to remind you about our editorial contributor program. If you have unique perspectives, we’d love to hear from you. We’ll prioritize submissions that make concrete assertions about the future of the industries we cover, especially the monthly theme.

We’ve also begun a new ritual in 2021. Each month, we’ll be aggregating comments from thought leaders that align with the monthly theme (like this). If you’re a location intelligence expert or enthusiast, we’d love to include your voice in the chorus. 

Reach out to us with suggestions for monthly themes, opportunities to contribute, or to amplify your brand messaging alongside this thematic coverage. This includes Street Fight’s new Thought Leaders program.

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