As merchants get ready to join retail movers and shakers for this year’s Paris Retail Week, we take a closer look at France’s payments landscape, and the five key trends influencing French merchant POS investment.
France is no stranger to payment innovation. Did you know that the first smart cards were developed here? They were patented by inventor Roland Moreno in 1974 and the first mass use was in 1983 by Télécarte for payment in French payphones. A decade later, all bank cards issued in France came with a chip.
Today, payment tech is still evolving and shaping how merchants make and take a sale.
5 ways consumer preferences are influencing merchant needs in France
1. French people have been quick to embrace all types of card payments
French merchants need their POS to be highly flexible and have secure readers that can accept all the various formats available including smart, contactless prepaid and multi. `Given their history and widescale support from the French government and banks, it’s no surprise that cards are now the number one way to pay at the POS for French consumers. Cards make up 8 out of 10 in-store transactions and represent 37.4% of total transaction volume, ahead of cash (36.6%). Unique to France is the broad availability of multi-functional cards; the most popular combination is debit and charge cards on a single payment card. Prepaid cards are also widespread, with 4.5 million in circulation in 2022. French consumers have also been fast to adopt contactless payments. There are now over 86 million tap-and-go cards with forecasts predicting 112.7 million by 2026.
2. French consumers are turning to mobile for convenience and BNPL to help manage budgets
French retailers want checkout solutions that help them keep checkout options fresh, with the ability to add alternative payments and value-added services that suit their target audiences. French consumers are always eager to try something new including digital wallets. Google Pay is the most popular method, followed by ApplePay. The third most popular is the local French e-wallet Paylib which contains cards supported by Carte Bancaire. Relatively recent trends like BNPL, cryptocurrency, and instant (real-time) payments are also taking off, especially among France’s younger consumers. Demand for more payment choices at the checkout is driving merchant need for wider availability of APIs to help integrate new platforms and rapid payment/POS integration remotely over the cloud.
3. French shoppers enjoy smooth POS experiences especially if they’re fun
In response, French merchants are demanding POS platforms that help them add exciting and interesting content and promotions and use QR codes for payment, content and more. Most French people believe that consumption is synonymous with pleasure. Travel, restaurants, sports, culture and entertainment products and services are important – and they don’t want friction getting in the way. Since COVID, there’s been an increase in the number of QR codes being used especially in hospitality. French smartphone users love their practicality speed and playfulness. Today, about 1 in 5 French people use barcode or QR code scanning applications to obtain information about the products they consume.
4. Good manners matter in France, and so does great service
More French merchants are choosing Android POS devices that free staff to focus on the customer, and that connect with back-office platforms to provide data that aids personalisation and enhances loyalty. Manners mean a lot to French consumers. The first thing they do when entering a shop is to offer a polite greeting. Finding ways to personalise the experience in-store can help drive loyalty and reinforce the brand relationships that encourage them to return. According to KPMG, companies in France investing in customer recognition programs, AI tools and micro-segmentation strategies to truly understand their customers have performed well.
5. French consumers are not afraid of tech
French merchants know this and want to appeal to tech-savvy shoppers and make their sales platforms more efficient by offering interactive experiences, self-service payment and unattended kiosks. Cities like Paris are embracing retail tech in-store. From connected changing rooms, interactive screens, and merry-go-rounds showcasing products, retailers like Lacoste, Etam and Lancôme are using the power of tech to entice shoppers through the doors. Grocers are also going hi-tech with 8 out of 10 big-box stores already offering some type of self-scanning solution. French consumers are also eager to use super-convenient unattended kiosks – like those from French-based KIS, part of the ME Group, whose portfolio of prestigious brands includes Wash.me, Photo.me, Print. me and Feed. me.
French consumers want choice, they also hate friction. The right POS can make or break a sale.
For French merchants, providing the right levels of choice, functionality and features without overwhelming users is a constant balancing act. The POS is at the intersection of payments and experience and plays a valuable role in helping them get it right. Using POS innovation, they can analyse usage patterns and trends, connect processes, smooth journeys and deliver value-rich services.
Paris Retail Week is a great opportunity to explore POS innovation from Castles Technology.
At Castles Technology we’re no stranger to the French market. Our European HQ and customer service centres are based in France. From here we support our world-leading Android POS devices, MPOS and unattended solutions, payments software and cloud services.
Find out how we can help you respond to the needs of your customers, whatever your retail sector and wherever your market.