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Contactless Shopping Is The Future – Not Because Of COVID

A CES 2021 conference on the future of contactless shopping has revealed the slow decline of physical stores and rise of online retail isn’t just a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Contactless shopping has been trending for several years,” said moderator Laura Heller.

”These types of solutions are being embraced by retailers across the board, and mobile technologies are making contactless experiences for a time when contact can be dangerous, but they also promise for the time that comes next.”

But it’s not only retailers who are embracing contactless shopping technology.

Visa’s global head of buyer and seller solutions Mary Kay Bowman says 78 per cent of customers have changed the way they pay during COVID and two third of customers said they’d switch to a store that offered contactless payments.

“It’s definitely on the customer’s mind,” Bowman said. “And therefore, it’s definitely on our minds.”

In late 2020, Visa offered Tap To Phone, which turns Android smartphones to contactless, tap-to-pay POS terminals without needing any additional hardware. This is now live in 15 countries.

A company called Standard Cognition is also developing ‘autonomous checkout’ for physical retailer stores which users AI-powered computer vision to allow customers to walk in, grab an item, and walk out while being charged a payment.

COO Michael Suswal demonstrated the software via a video at CES 2021 which showed a user could walk in and buy something in just 2.5 seconds.

Meanwhile, Peter Peng, founder and CEO of Jetson AI insists voice is the most effective touchless shopping method.

“We believe voice is more natural,” said Peng, who says ‘voice shopping’ is expected to reach 40 billion dollars in the U.S. by 2022.

“Voice is actually three times faster than any touch mobile interaction. People are more cognizant of screen time, so voice is definitely the new wave of where the next generation consumer is going to spend their time.”

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