- Publix has confirmed plans to launch a new mobile payment system that will allow customers to pay for groceries using the Publix app on their smartphones, The Ledger first reported.
- Mobile payment is currently being rolled out in phases for customers with Apple devices, and the company plans to expand into Android. Publix has been piloting a mobile pay feature at 14 stores in Virginia, a spokesperson told The Ledger.
- Publix did not respond to Grocery Dive's request for comment, and the company declined to provide specifics to The Ledger on when the new mobile payment option will be available.
Publix has a strong, loyal consumer base, particularly in its home state of Florida, but with growing competition, the retailer will need to address every possible advantage it has to maintain its role among top players in the industry. Without accepting mobile payment, Publix risks falling behind with shoppers who want a more convenient shopping experience.
Other major retailers have launched their own mobile payment platforms including Walmart, which was at the forefront of the trend when it developed Walmart Pay in 2015. Target debuted its mobile payment app in 2017, and Kroger introduced Kroger Pay just a few months ago. Many other grocers who don't have their own mobile pay feature accept Apple Pay or some form of mobile payment.
Grocers have been focused on improving their loyalty programs and digital coupon offerings through their apps, which can help bring customers into stores. Adding a mobile payment feature allows Publix to provide another incentive for customers to use its app and offers them an easier way to shop and pay.
The ability to pay on their phone can also speed things up at the checkout line. According to a study from eMarketer, long checkout lines are extremely frustrating to consumers and while most will just use self-checkout instead, 32% will choose to shop online. The study also found that 24% will shop at a completely different chain, 23% will purchase fewer items to go through express checkout and 11% will completely abandon their purchase.
Most customers are already familiar with mobile payment systems due to the popularity of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay and PayPal, which many retailers like Target and Hy-Vee have integrated into their payment systems. According to Juniper Research, about 2.1 billion consumers around the world used mobile wallets for payments in 2018, and that number is expected to continue to grow.