New Forms of Payment
05.1.2015
Owain Roberts in Consumer Insights Series, Retail, Retail Banking

Image © Tim Griffith

There is a transformation underway, and not just in how we shop but in how we pay for the items we buy.

Smartphones and tablets offer previously unfathomable levels of flexibility and convenience for consumers tired of relying credit cards and cash to complete transactions. At the same time, businesses are connecting with shoppers via social media and other forms of electronic communication, methods of engagement that add a much needed level of personal touch while simultaneously reducing overhead costs. From a design perspective, eliminating the traditional points of sale—like the counter with a cash register—opens up new design possibilities. But as brands leverage the power of technology and embrace new ways of transacting business with pressed-for-time customers, they must remember that getting consumers to trust electronic payment methods can be a delicate proposition—even the most tech-savvy consumers need a nudge in the right direction before they adopt new habits.

At the same time, banking itself is undergoing profound changes. No longer confined to the neighborhood branch, banking has become a series of rote activities conducted at various times throughout the day via smart devices. A smart phone is like a bank branch in the pocket of the user. This new reality is freeing bank branches to break down the physical walls, which have traditionally stood for safety and separated banks from the communities they serve, so they can embrace patrons in more dynamic and engaging manners.

In each of these instances, design is helping to eradicate traditional methods of transacting business—the cash register, the teller window—so that we can rethink how retail outlets and banks can be more inviting, communal, and fun.

Owain Roberts
Owain Roberts is a firmwide Retail Practice Area Leader and design director in Gensler’s London office. With a clear understanding that consumers see design as a single idea, not a series of separate elements, he encourages a seamless relationship between graphic design and environmental design to create complete retail experiences. His broad range of experience in environmental design covers both retail and commercial interiors and also branding exercises for high profile projects. Contact him at owain_roberts@gensler.com.
Article originally appeared on architecture and design (http://www.gensleron.com/).
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