Home > Technology > News > It is digital play all the way in times of pandemic

Coffee bar chain Barista has installed Dotpe’s Scan-Order-Pay solution at its Gurugram outlets, allowing customers to access the menu by scanning a quick response (QR) code placed outside the takeaway window so they won’t have to grab a physical menu.

After the order is placed, customers can pay on the phone using one of the mobile wallets. When the order is ready the customer is pinged on WhatsApp.

Businesses are embracing scan and pay technology with add-ons like an option to browse the menu on the mobile browser.

Covid-19-led fears of touching surfaces in public place are expected to give a huge boost to mobile phone-based contactless payments. Many customers wouldn’t even want to swipe or tap their credit or debit cards on payment machines.

According to a May study by Capgemini, based on a survey from April, over 82 % of Indian consumers will prefer touchless interaction during the pandemic. Almost 90% of Indian consumers are comfortable using their mobile phones for payments, especially for in-store purchases.

After the pandemic, 48% will prefer touchless interactions. The study found that touchless interfaces have become integral to the customer experience in a health-and-safety conscious world.

In terms of traction seen on digital platforms, most of the payment during covid-19 revolved around essentials, groceries and money transfers made to friends and family members.

“We used to do 15 to 16 lakh transactions a day before covid-19, and we are at about 7.5-8 lakh transactions a day now," said Ashneer Grover, co-founder and CEO, BharatPe.

Grover explained that the company was getting these numbers at a time when only merchants selling essential products were open. BharatPe also onboards new merchants through offline means only, so they haven’t added any new merchants since the lockdowns. That means the company is getting more business from a smaller number of merchants.

“This gives us confidence that when the food and beverage segment comes online, we should be able to do 50% higher (numbers) both volume wise and value wise," he added. During the lockdown, the average ticket size has grown up to 70%, from 300 to 500, as customers shop more for essentials

Another mobile payments platforms PhonePe has seen a significant spike in transactions for specific use cases like money transfers, mobile recharges, and bill payments. Payment for essential supplies such as groceries, medicines and food has also seen a big spike on PhonePe’s Switch platform.

“Use cases like recharges and bill payments have seen a significant spike. We are seeing an over 50% increase in transactions on recharges," said Karthik Raghupathy, VP Strategy & Business Development, PhonePe.

Security remains a key concern around any form of digital payments. To enable the industry provide a more secure payment mechanism to merchants and customers, early this month, PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) published a new data security standard for solutions that enable merchants to accept contactless payments using a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) mobile device over near-field communication (NFC).

Rajat Agrawal, COO, Barista Coffee Company, feels, due to the pandemic normal rules of engagement at cafe level have changed literally overnight with contactless delivery now a fundamental requirement.

With the lockdown getting lifted in green and orange zones, retail, travel and hospitality industry will start opening up gradually. Raghupathy points out, “this will coincide with the revival of consumer sentiment over the next few months. Given the enhanced awareness around covid-19, we will see a fundamental shift in the way consumers pay post the lockdown with contactless payments becoming more ubiquitous."

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