The transition from carrying big, clunky wallets to a payment-enabled mobile device is beginning to revolutionize how consumers shop.
Of course, there is no set standard for mobile payments technology quite yet.
Isis and Google are both working on their versions of the mobile wallet using Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, and PayPal is working on a cloud-based mobile payment initiative. Companies like Square and Intuit also help small businesses process payments via their mobile phones, and there are QR code-based payments in the marketplace, like LevelUp, where individuals are assigned their own unique QR code to pay with. In addition, companies like card.io and Jumio allow consumers to make payments by scanning the credit card with your smartphone’s camera.
With that being said, the future looks bright for companies in the mobile payment industry. Here’s why:
- Mobile payments in 2011 topped $558 million in investment, up from $276 million in 2010, according to research firm Rutberg & Company.
- eMarketer projects that 37.5 million U.S. consumers ages 14 and up will make at least one purchase on their mobile phones in 2012.
- eBay predicts it will do $8 billion in mobile gross merchandise volume and $7 billion in mobile total payment volume in 2012.
- PayPal exceeded expectations for 2011, reaching $4 billion in mobile payment volume, and with more than 17 million customers regularly making a purchase through their mobile phone.
- PayPal is also expanding its new mobile wallet trial services to more than 2,000 Home Depot stores across the U.S., allowing consumers to pay for items at checkout via mobile device or through PayPal and exposing thousands of people to mobile payment technology.
The merge of mobile and money has made huge progress in the past year, which means retailers who embrace it will have a leg up on their competitors.
How will mobile commerce benefit the retailers bottom line?
Mobile payments add value and convenience to the consumer. They will also facilitate the implementation of deals and offers through text messaging or apps, which will ultimately drive customer loyalty.
The problem, however, is that consumers still trust their credit card companies and banks to drive mobile payments.
However, KPMG’s fifth annual Consumers and Convergence survey has found that 23% of US consumers are now “very willing” to use their mobile phones as a wallet, and a study by Javelin Strategy & Research and PaymentOne found that 4 out of 5 consumers would spend more online if offered an easier and more secure way to pay.
Without a doubt, mobile is a very personalized channel that businesses can use to directly interact with their customers, and mobile payments help enhance the in-store experience for consumers.
As consumer attitudes about mobile payments start shifting, we will be seeing more and more people ditching their wallets.
People often ask me for my thoughts on the future of technology, specifically as it relates to mobile and mobile marketing. For the answer, we must first look at some top-level trends in technology that are changing the game forever.
The Cloud: The idea that data doesn’t need to be stored solely on an individual device anymore. By putting the data in a readily accessible medium like a web server, it can be accessed virtually anywhere, at any time.
Think for a second about renting movies. You used to have to go down to the store and pick out a DVD that they had in stock, then head home and put it in your player. Now, with the click of a button, virtually ALL movies are instantly available to watch on any number of machines.
Another example, email. Most people have email accounts that are web-based, allowing them to check their email from almost anywhere. Do you remember 10 years ago when you couldn’t check your email because you weren’t on YOUR computer at home?
Convergence: Devices are getting more powerful, and their interconnectivity even more seamless. I can sit at my computer, add a calendar item, then check my phone and it’s already noted there. Technology allows all of my devices to sync up almost instantly.
Personalization: Because of the greater power of these devices, the user experience is getting more intuitive and engaging. By collecting data from the user, and having the technical horsepower to crank through some sophisticated algorithms, a successful marketer can develop a more personalized campaign to build a stronger and more sustainable relationship with that consumer.
So, back to how this impacts the future of mobile and mobile marketing. Consumers are being trained to expect greater accessibility to information, as well as a more sophisticated and engaging experience. Websites are no longer just digital magazine pages – they move, change instantly when clicked, anticipate what your next move is. We as mobile marketers need to understand the expectations of our consumers and deliver them a meaningful experience.
The SMS Masterminds is currently BETA testing a new input device called our Loyalty Touch Pad, which allows consumers to “check in” to their loyalty program each time they visit their favorite retail location. What makes this program engaging is its seamless integration with a text message marketing campaign, mobile websites, Facebook, and more. We can interact with consumers based on their number of check ins, or lack of check in. Imagine, you get a text from your favorite restaurant that says “Hi Alex, it’s been a couple weeks since we’ve seen you. Come in today for 2 for 1 entrees”. What about an automated Facebook post to that consumer if they haven’t been in for a month?
This is an exciting time for mobile marketing, a win-win for marketers and consumers. Watch for some amazing innovations as more dollars get pumped into mobile over the next few years.