Leave your wallet and cards at home in the future
How does the application work? Tomorrow’s customer no longer needs to carry a heavy wallet but instead installs a digital wallet via an app on his/her smartphone for example. Wallets can be loaded with bitcoins that can be purchased at marketplaces like Bitcoin.de for instance.
The sales person in the brick-and-mortar store enters the amount into the POS during the checkout process. Self-service is the preferred mode in online retail. A QR code appears after clicking the "Pay with Bitcoin" button. It is scanned and confirmed with a PIN code. Done. All you need is an Internet connection.
Retailers jump on the Bitcoin bandwagon
Avocado Store, a German marketplace for eco fashion and a green lifestyle, has also joined the fray. The store uses a payment provider that converts the coins and sends Euros to the business account. Mimi Sewalski Managing Director of the Avocado Store says: "80 percent of our Bitcoin users are men and loyal customers. In addition, this particular customer group exhibits significantly lower return rates and is tech-savvy." Keller cautions those who hastily conclude that Bitcoin will tremendously boost their sales. "The fact that a retailer offers bitcoins doesn’t automatically mean that everybody takes advantage of this opportunity. The percentage achieved with bitcoins is typically under one percent. "This is also true for the Avocado Store. However, Ms. Selwalski still believes it is an advantage to offer bitcoins as a payment method. "We signal that we are on the cutting edge of technology and appeal to a different target group. This also resulted in an additional unintended PR effect. We received many interview requests and customer replies with positive feedback. As a startup in Hamburg, we also piqued the interest of potential new associates."
Not just for tech insiders
Those who integrate Bitcoin via payment providers require no additional infrastructure. The solutions are compatible with most store systems. The online currencies can be easily integrated into existing payment terminals or tablets, even in brick-and-mortar retail. It is also possible to directly accept bitcoins without payment providers converting them into Euros beforehand. However, Keller points out that "speculative gains are taxable when you do your own accounting with Bitcoin. Reporting might involve complex accounting. At present, it definitely makes sense to involve a payment provider and avoid the issue of currency speculation."
It will be interesting to see whether Bitcoin will gain momentum as a payment method or remains hype or whether another cryptocurrency will come out on top in the end. Maybe we are on the cusp of a revolutionary paradigm shift in the retail sector.