The way Canadians shop is changing. Now, more than ever, Canadians are choosing their phones and tablets to go online rather than their computers and the scales are tipping toward a higher volume of online transactions in the retail space.

According to a Moneris prediction, by 2030, only 10% of money spent in Canada will be made via cash purchases. This shift is thanks in part to the growing popularity of digital wallets that allow customers to complete payments with ease. Not only are digital wallets bridging the gap between the physical and digital world, they are transforming the entire customer experience because of their convenience and security.

A recent study from Mastercard Canada revealed 92% of Canadian parents indicated they are looking to get time back in their day. The old-fashioned way of movie-going is rushing to the theatre to line up for tickets. Or meal delivery: Ordering pizza over the phone and rummaging through wallets for enough cash to pay the driver when the food arrives. These experiences highlight the challenge of older payment methods. They eat up time that could be better spent. Modern solutions like Mastercard’s Masterpass help to give precious time back to parents so they can make the family trip to the movies or ordering food a less frenzied experience.

Because digital wallets store debit, credit, prepaid cards and shipping information, they offer the ability to turn checkout into a one-step process. Payment information is stored digitally through the process of tokenization so shoppers experience the same level of security validation they experience with a POS transaction.

As digital wallets gain traction, the one-step payment process will become ubiquitous. Customers will pay the same way each time because it’s predictable and secure, opening up new shopping experiences and leading to new behaviours for Canadians in the marketplace.

Digital wallets combined with quality apps have the power to cross over and make the in-store shopping experience better, offering enhanced experiences consumers previously didn’t even think were possible. Take eating out at a restaurant for example. Most people sit patiently for the server to bring the bill, perhaps waving or pretending to sign a cheque in the air before the server catches on. What if customers could see their bill in real time and pay when they’re ready, instead of waiting on their server? Even splitting the bill with a friend becomes much easier when customers are in the driver’s seat through apps and digital wallets.

This is a reality for guests of The Cheesecake Factory restaurants south of the border through the mobile payment app CakePay. Digital payment solutions like CakePay are an extension of the dining experience. Not to mention, this also opens up time for servers to cater to customer’s unique dining needs. And it’s very simple to use. Guests check in at a given location and the app generates a four-digit code they can track from their phone. When ready to leave, customers have the option to split the bill before checking out without any waiting. The same goes for the UK’s Wagamama restaurant. The Qkr! by Mastercard app allows guests to pay whenever they choose. Not only does this make the dining experience better for customers, it cuts out more than 10 minutes of a non-value-add activity for servers who could better use their time in other ways.

Another example that’s changing the way Canadians are making payments is Honk Mobile, an app that allows users to pay for parking through their mobile phones.  Within seconds, users have the ability to add time to the parking meter and pay. Parking enforcement is able to see a list of license plates from users who have paid, helping people to avoid the cost and inconvenience of parking tickets.

Retail shopping is also improved. Imagine a shopper finds a dress in-store that is perfect but the colour isn’t right. In many cases, store staff would probably offer to hold it at another location, prompting customers to either venture across the city, buy a colour that isn’t right or simply give up. This new era allows shoppers to use the retailer’s app to scan the item, select the correct colour, pay for it and have it shipped to their address.

When they’re done right, new apps, combined with the power and security of digital wallets, can fulfill the promise of a transformed shopping experience.

This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of Direct Marketing. 

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Jason Davies

Jason Davies is vice president and head of digital payments at Mastercard Canada.