Covent Garden’s Apple Market stepped into the 21st Century last week as traders accepted digital payments from shoppers for the very first time.

Covent Garden’s Apple Market stepped into the 21st Century last week as traders accepted digital payments from shoppers for the very first time. By using PayPal Here, stall owners can take sales in a new way, accepting everything from cards to digital payments.For retailers, it is yet another reminder that the way people shop is changing forever.

Whether you are a sole trader or a nationwide retailer, providing a ‘smart’ way to shop in-store is front of mind as consumers use cash less. Cash will always exist, but advances in technology mean that people are expecting more and better ways to pay.

Retailers are changing the channels which consumers use, allowing them to purchase goods or services wherever and whenever they want – be it on mobile or in-store, using their credit card or loyalty card. While shopping is expected to be fun; paying is not. Nobody likes waiting for their bill at the restaurant or queuing – we appreciate it when payment happens quickly and easily.

Mobile has had a dramatic impact on consumers’ shopping behaviour and buying patterns – it now plays a critical role in how people shop around, compare prices and decide what and when to buy. Thisbehavioural change is transforming the way retailers function.

One day a supermarket may work like Covent Garden’s Apple Market. Perhaps different points of sale, provided by mobile or tablets will be found at different sections of the store –the bakery or delicatessen – avoiding the need to queue at the till at the end.

Or as our President, David Marcus, said at LeWeb last week: “Stores have become more like showrooms where people can check out products then buy them online. Retailers need to reinvent these spaces. This could be by making them into logistics centres where consumers can buy using their phone and then pick up products in store very quickly or where they can shop in the store and then have products shipped to their house.”

One thing is certain: technology will develop further to transform the shopping experience.

PayPal’s aim is to take out the hassle of payment, whatever device customers are on and wherever they shop. We will know that PayPal has succeeded in this when we make the act of paying as seamless as the decision to buy.

The market traders in Covent Garden may just have entered into the digital era, but we’re already working with high street businesses to simplify the shopping experience and to make ‘pay by mobile’ part of everyday life by 2016.

  • Narik Patel, Director of Mobile Merchant Services, PayPal