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Study: Majority of shoppers favor ‘next-gen’ payments

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Consumers are ready to leave paper-based checks behind.

In fact, 80% of Americans are in support of "futuristic" payments technologies and currencies, including tools like sensor fingerprinting, facial recognition, retinal scanning and voice control, as well as currencies like bitcoin. This was according to research from Viewpost, a B2B network provider for invoicing, payments and cash management.

A mobile-based future is definitely on shoppers' minds, with 52% saying they believe that payments between companies and customers will be exchanged via mobile app. Even previously maligned technologies like bitcoin are seeing acceptance, as some 21% of consumers see it as a viable currency within the next 10 years.

Other notable findings include:

Sensor fingerprinting: 50% of Americans believe fingerprint technology will be used for authentication to pay and receive payments over the next 10 years

Facial recognition: 35% see facial recognition as a key authentication technology for making payments within the next 10 years, and 32% of Americans trust facial recognition for securing electronic payments.

Retinal scanning and voice control: These advanced biometric methods have gained traction in consumers' consciousness, with some 31% citing retinal scanning as a viable technology for authenticating payments and 18% seeing themselves using voice control to make payments by 2027.

As these innovative solutions gain traction, respondents are growing increasingly unenthusiastic about traditional paper checks. One-third of shoppers think that paper checks will die within five years, and 83% believe they will be completely eliminated within the next 20 years.

Similarly, only 11% of Americans think that companies will bill their customers via paper in the future. Meanwhile, over half of Americans (54%) believe that companies will bill their customers via automatic payments from their bank account or credit card.

"People are willing to embrace a more convenient, frictionless payments future," commented Viewpost CEO Max Eliscu. “Paper invoicing and checks are well on their way out in the consumer setting, and more businesses across the spectrum are beginning to follow suit with transactions among their trading partners."

Electronic invoicing and payments are just the beginning, according to Eliscu. The future of the payments industry "is highly dependent on leveraging innovation like biometrics, data integration, and a growing variety of payment methods to securely drive more volume with visibility, speed and simplicity," he said.

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Specialty retailer steps up unified commerce efforts

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Vitamin World’s commerce and supply chain operations are undergoing a digital transformation.

With an eye on delivering a consistent shopping experience enterprise-wide, the specialty retailer is preparing to integrate its online channel, brick-and-mortar stores and backend supply chain processes. By adopting a unified digital solution that integrates all retail and supply chain processes, the chain will deliver a consistent experience across all channels, and gain a holistic understanding of its customers and day-to-day business operations.

Vitamin World is partnering with Visionet Systems, a consulting firm specializing in unified ERP and e-commerce implementations, which will integrate Microsoft's cloud-based ERP solution. The technology, which is designed to drive flexibility and scalability, is expected to enhance reporting and forecasting, lower operational overheads and improve customer satisfaction, Vitamin World said.

"Providing consistent experience across all sales channels and harvesting deeper understanding of our customers is important to us,” said Michael Madden, CEO of Vitamin World.

“These insights will allow us to align our supply chain with varying con-sumer demand, diversify our assortments and provide an engaging and consistent buying experience for our customers," said Madden. "By adopting a unified, omnichannel retail model across sales and supply chain, Vitamin World will become a leaner, modern and more profitable retail outfit.”

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Study: Social media key to July 4th sales

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Plenty of consumers will be shopping for deals over Independence Day— and they plan to use social media to find them.

Forty-three percent of consumers plan to shop for deals on Independence Day, according to a survey by ChargeItSpot. When asked what resource they will use to hunt down deals and sales, the majority of respondents (37%) said social media, followed by online deal sites (17%) and mobile coupon apps (17%) – meaning in-store shoppers are finding their deals online.

“Our results highlight how important it is for all retailers – even those without a strong ecommerce presence – to invest in social media,” said Douglas Baldasare, CEO and founder of ChargeItSpot. “Even their in-store shoppers are seeking out sales through their social channels.”

Of those shoppers who are taking advantage of 4th of July sales, 22% said they would most likely be purchasing sporting goods. Other categorical responses included respondent interest in sales for BBQ supplies (12%), consumer electronics (9%), outdoor gear (4%), and automotive (3%).

“The 4th of July is a key sale time for retailers,” said Baldasare. “The long holiday weekend gives stores more time to run their sales and provides flexibility for shoppers."

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