If you’re over the age of 20, you’ve likely used a credit card, counted change and maybe even written a check. But is all that about to change?
Mobile payment hasn’t become the de facto method of financial transactions just yet, but it is projected to overtake those archaic checkbooks and bank notes you’ve been lugging around.
Three types of mobile payments dominate the marketplace today: m-commerce (uses a mobile browser and online wallets), m-payments (uses mobile apps), and m-wallets (replaces your entire wallet). Furthermore, consumers can access several forms of transaction on their mobile devices, including scannable barcodes, mobile coupons and self-checkout.
But are consumers ready to wholeheartedly adopt the latest in mobile payment technology? Adults who are unbanked, for instance, may face a barrier to mobile transactions — there are currently 17 million unbanked adults in the U.S. But many smartphone users welcome the convenience of mobile payments (87% in the UK), while others worry about the privacy factor (79% in Asia). Still, 49% of consumers in the U.S. found shopping on a smartphone awkward.
Then again, many people found paper checks awkward and credit cards confusing the first time around.
Where do you fall in the mobile payment debate? What kinds of transactions do you handle on your smartphone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The world could be a dramatically different place by 2020. In only eight short years, cash and credit may be gone from our daily experience. In their place? Mobile payment platforms that will simplify and expedite how we pay for goods and services.
“As adoption of advanced mobile devices such as smartphones has exploded in recent years,” a new Pew study reads, “consumers have grown increasingly comfortable using their phones to transfer money, purchase goods, and engage in other types of financial transactions.”
Recent Pew Internet surveys find that one in ten Americans have used their cell phone to make a charitable contribution by text message, that more than one-third of smartphone owners have used their phones to do online banking services like paying bills or checking a balance, and that 46% of apps users have purchased an app using a mobile device.
Incredibly, some sixty-five percent of the technology experts surveyed by Pew believe that mobile wallets will be fully trusted and adopted by consumers to such a degree that they will replace cash and credit by the close of the decade.
Just as loyal coffee enthusiasts can’t get enough Starbucks, the folks at Starbucks can’t seem to get enough of anything related to mobile.
From mobile apps to mobile payment platforms, Starbucks is on the vanguard of mCommerce advancements that may soon be far more pervasive throughout the retail space than they presently are.
According to new details that have come to light this week, Starbucks has already processed more than 42 million mobile payments. That’s not bad considering that the program just began last year.
In December 2011, Starbucks revealed that it had processed 26 million mobile payments. Adoption continues to grow exponentially, the company said.
“You’re going to see us as a company that will push the envelope around mobile pay,” Starbucks chief digital officer Adam Brotman told VentureBeat. “We want to innovate in that area before others catch up.”
“The heart of PayPal is small business,” Peter Karpas, North American VP of customer engagement told Mashable. “The lines between online and offline and mobile are totally blurring for them. This comprehensive revamp of our products allows small businesses to get paid however they do business.”
Labeled Standard, Advanced, and Pro, each tier offers some of the same basic functionality. Payments can be accepted in 25 different currencies from 190 countries, and can be taken from PayPal accounts as well as via credit card or check using PayPal’s new PayPal Here app.
PayPal announced PayPal Here earlier this month. Going up against Square in the mobile payments space, the app offers businesses a card reader so they can accept on-the-spot payments. The app can also accept checks by taking a photo of them, and can be used for invoicing and keeping track of cash payments as well.
Customers who use PayPal can also check in to a business using the traditional PayPal app on their phones, and pay for purchases by simply saying “Put it on PayPal” and having the merchant select his or her name and photo from their own merchant phone or tablet.
The Standard tier of PayPal payments is free for businesses to use. The Advanced tier adds the ability for customers to pay for purchases without leaving your website for $5 per month, and the Pro tier lets you design and host your own checkout pages for full control, as well as accept credit card via phone, fax, and mail.
PayPal checkouts are also optimized now for mobile, so when customers visit a small business’ website to make a purchase, they don’t have to pinch-to-zoom or manipulate the website in order to complete their purchase.
Payments via PayPal were previously called “website payments standard” and “website payments pro,” and as of today PayPal is also dropping the “website” terminology from the name. Comparing it to Apple’s decision to remove “computer” from its named in 2007, Karpas says the company is dropping the website terminology to indicate that the company is moving to accepting payments however you do business.
Let us know what you think about PayPal Payments in the comments.
Best Buy Co. Inc. has found its more valuable customers are ones who don’t just visit the e-commerce site or the bricks-and-mortar store. They also shop using their smartphones and tablets.
How valuable are these customers? The multichannel Best Buy consumer who uses a mobile device makes 15% more e-commerce purchases than the non-mobile consumer, said Chris Moroz, Best Buy associate manager for digital analytics. And, for in-store purchases, the mobile Best Buy consumer is 25% more valuable.
Speaking at the Adobe Digital Summit 2012 in Salt Lake City, Moroz said Best Buy calculated these figures by measuring three sets of data. One was connecting the BestBuy.com visitor data to its database of registered customers. Another was the result of surveys sent to e-commerce visitors who filled their shopping carts, but abandoned the sale. The third was a survey at the point of sale about the consumer’s shopping experience. The data then was screened through digital analytics software from Adobe Systems Inc.
“We found that on any given day a BestBuy.com visitor is more likely to purchase in-store,” Moroz said. Of consumers using a mobile device to visit Best Buy’s m-commerce site, one-fourth were found to make an in-store purchase within two weeks of their visit, he said.
Best Buy, incidentally, fared best in a recent survey by market research firm ClickIQ of the behavior of consumers using smartphones in stores.
To find out what happened after the in-store research was complete, survey respondents were asked to state where they eventually purchased the product they were researching. Best Buy did the best job of retaining the sale. 35% of those that researched at Best Buy ended up purchasing at the Best Buy store with another 14% purchasing at BestBuy.com. However, 21% purchased the product from Amazon.com. The rest did not purchase.
At the conference, Moroz said the next step for Best Buy is to automate much of the data collection process and to get more data about how consumers use Best Buy’s smartphone apps. “The mobile-savvy customer needs to be heard,” he said.
Lynn Lanphier, director, digital analytics, Best Buy Co. Inc., will speak this June at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in Chicago in a session titled “The new age of analytics: Creating a data strategy that leads to increased sales.” And learn more about the Mobile Workshop at IRCE 2012.
Despite criticism, the QR code continues to be a major player in the evolution of mobile commerce.
But while many Fortune 500 advertisers may have embraced the QR code in their marketing efforts, the restaurant industry has proven a relatively late adopter of the technology.
When used to power speedier transactions and provide timely information, the QR code is a useful tool for restaurateurs seeking to augment the customer experience. On takeout menus, dine-in menus and real world advertising, the QR code has a purposeful place in the restaurant experience.
As any supporter of QR codes, near field communication (NFC) chips, or augmented reality will tell you, the key is the destination, not the mode of transportation. It doesn’t matter if information is delivered with zero friction, if the information itself isn’t wanted, it won’t pay off.
Are QR codes just a marketing fad, or can the mobile technology deliver real value for restaurants and consumers at the right place and at the right time? Here are four ways QR codes can be effectively leveraged in a restaurant environment to improving the overall dining experience.
1. Mobile Ordering
Ordering food from a smartphone is incredibly convenient. It is sub-optimal to have to speak to a live person, who is juggling multiple roles in a restaurant, dealing with customers face-to-face and handling several ringing phone lines.
Enter the QR-coded takeout menu. Restaurants realize that the printed takeout menu is still one of the most effective ways to elicit food orders. It’s tangible, colorful, holds a lot of information and is easily shared. Adding a QR code to the menu triggers a mobile ordering experience. That way, restaurants can marry the best of old and new technology and make the traditional takeout menu digitally interactive.
Or prompt a customer to complete a takeout order online, at which point she’ll receive a custom-generated QR code to be scanned at the point-of-sale. The Melt handles orders by generating QR codes that help consumers skip the ordering line.
2. Links to Photos and Social Media
Ever stare at a text-based menu and wonder what a particular dish actually looks like? A QR code strategically placed on a dine-in menu has the ability to take consumers to additional information. The QR code could lead to photos with dish names, to the restaurant’s Yelp listing, or to Twitter and Facebook links to encourage social media sharing.
On takeout menus and any real world advertising, the QR code can trigger links to a wealth of useful information. In this manner, the QR code is not a marketing gimmick, but a bona fide mechanism to provide interested parties with information on which they can act.
The mobile landing page launched by the QR code on a takeout menu could include hours, contact information, a map and directions. Special offers and feedback forms could also be part of the mobile-optimized experience.
Additionally, most QR readers have a history tab that logs previously visited sites, so the information, once scanned, could be referenced later.
3. Different Restaurants, Different QR Code Applications
The QR code can be utilized effectively by a variety of different restaurant types, from fine dining to casual, from fast food to food trucks.
A fine dining establishment might wish to use the QR code in a city guide advertisement, which leads to its online reservations system and photos of the interior of the restaurant.
A fast food restaurant could add the QR code to a table tent ad, leading to a special promotion in exchange for an email address.
And food trucks could affix a QR code to the side of the vehicle to help people skip the line, should they wish to order and pay through their smartphones.
4. A Word About Aesthetics
A common objection to QR codes is that they are ugly and unbefitting of a nicely designed marketing strategy. It is true that the standard out-of-the-box QR code isn’t particularly aesthetically pleasing, but brands can improve the appearance with clever design tricks that ensure scanability and beauty.
By going with a custom-designed QR code, restaurants can represent their style, while also reassuring customers that the restaurant has put some thought into the experience.
As consumer smartphone adoption continues to surge, QR code usage is becoming more sophisticated. In particular, QR codes are transforming from a mere advertising hook to an integral part of mobile infrastructure. From boarding passes to takeout menus, the QR code is becoming less novelty and more utility.
One challenge for restaurants is always staying fresh in the minds of consumers. The restaurant that embraces mobile technology intelligently will demonstrate its cutting-edge commitment to excellent user experience and customer service.
About 30% of mobile phone users spend an average of about 27 minutes each day text messaging, using the telephone and video chatting, according to retailer CultureLabel.com. The company put together an infographic that highlights the bright outlook for the mobile commerce industry, helped along by the massive growth of smartphone adoption.
As CultureLabel looked to expand its own mobile strategy, the company compiled stats to reinforce the need to grow its m-commerce channel. According to its findings displayed in the online art retailer’s infographic, 5.9 billion out of the 7 billion people (87%) worldwide already have mobile phones. Smartphone sales are up 63.1% from 2010, and a whopping 488.5 million devices were sold in 2011.
Meanwhile, one in seven searches are made with a mobile device. More people are accessing social networking sites this way too. In fact, Facebook mobile users have quadrupled in two years from 50 million in 2009 to 200 million in 2011.
The infographic also points out that mobile commerce is expected to experience significant growth by 2015 from the six previous years — jumping 99-fold from $1 billion in sales in 2009 to more than $100 billion
Do you think mobile commerce will every surpass e-commerce? Do you think these channels will ever surpass in-store shopping sales? Let us know in the comments.
Last week, mobile enthusiasts congregated in Barcelona to participate in the annual Mobile World Congress—a celebration of the current state of mobile and its promising future.
The event is comprised of a thought-leadership conference with keynote speakers and panel discussions, a mobile technology exhibition, the Global Mobile Awards, and the newly added mPowered Brands—a program where global marketers and agencies share mobile marketing knowledge.
It’s no surprise that they added this program to the agenda, seeing as though mobile is now a force to be reckoned with in the marketing realm.
mPowered Brands seems like a great opportunity for the marketing professionals lucky enough to be involved. It focuses on accelerating marketers’ use of mobile as a marketing medium and gives professionals across the mobile marketing ecosystem the opportunity to gain practical insight and knowledge from some of the most innovative mobile marketing companies today, such as McCann Worldgroup and Nielsen.
Aside from the mobile marketing component of the event, the keynote speaker series featured a hefty lineup of innovative speakers that hold some degree of clout in the mobile industry. Speakers included Ralph de la Vega, President & CEO of AT&T Mobility, John Donahoe, President and CEO of eBay, and Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, among many others.
Another cool part of the Mobile World Congress is the exhibition, where mobile aficionados can sneak a peek at the new phones, tablets, apps, accessories, and other emerging mobile technologies.
About 1,500 different companies showcased their products, and over 12,500 app developers participated in App Planet, which focused on the latest technology within the apps industry. The App Planet exhibition was hosted by big players like BlackBerry, IBM, IMGA, Nokia, Samsung and WIP.
The event also included forums and seminars related to mobile industry topics such as augmented reality, mobile cloud, mobile security, mobile spam, mobile privacy, and more.
The vast amount of information and insight shared at Mobile World Congress 2012 would certainly be beneficial for mobile professionals across the globe. From what I can gather, the event seemed like a great resource for experts in the mobile industry to educate themselves and share their knowledge and expertise with others.
Research shows that shoppers are mobile–this article featured on eMarketer explains how consumers are turning to mobile to do product research before purchasing items in-store.
While consumer usage of smartphone and tablet devices for shopping purposes is on the rise, the devices’ place in the purchase path is varied. According to several pieces of research by Google, ForeSee Results and Nielsen, shoppers may start in the mobile channel for product research but then purchase in-store. They also may use mobile for product research on the go, then later purchase online on a PC or tablet.
Nielsen’s Q3–Q4 2011 “US Digital Consumer Report” indicates that 29% of smartphone owners use their phone for shopping-related activities. The top mobile shopping activities include in-store price comparisons (38%), browsing products through the mobile web or apps (38%), and reading online product reviews (32%).
A 2011 post-holiday shopping study by Google and Ipsos OTX also depicts consumers using their smartphones at many different points in the purchase path. For instance, 46% of smartphone users who used their mobile device for holiday shopping said they researched an item on their smartphone then went to a store to make their purchase. And 37% said they researched an item on their smartphone then made their purchase online on a computer. Holiday shopping data indicates that no matter the purchase channel, mobile devices are likely to play a role in a mobile user’s purchase process.
The Google study also shows that 41% of smartphone users researched with their mobile device and went on to actually purchase on the smartphone. That data point is higher than in some other mobile commerce studies. For example, a study released in January 2012 by customer experience management firm ForeSee indicates that during the 2011 holiday season only 15% of online shoppers used their phones to make purchases. The phone was most commonly used as a research and price comparison tool. However, Google/Ipsos OTX studied only smartphone owners while ForeSee looked at online shoppers as a whole, a group that includes many feature phone owners as well.
Whether a consumer makes a purchase via mobile or elsewhere, Google’s industry director for retail, Todd Pollak, told eMarketer that retailers need to improve the way they connect the mobile experience with the in-store or web-based shopping experience.
“You would think retailers would be hugely invested in ensuring you’d have an optimized experience on the mobile device, as well as trying to understand how people use it,” he said. “But consumers are way ahead of retailers in terms of their investment in mobile and how that plays into the purchase process.”
Although the path to purchase may appear unclear as consumers conduct the shopping process across multiple channels, Pollak encouraged mobile marketers to think about factors such as a consumer’s distance from a store and the days and times when mobile usage spikes. For example, tablet usage peaks during after-work hours and smartphone usage spikes during weekend days. Connecting and strategizing based on those statistics will help mobile marketers provide more targeted and personalized campaigns akin to the marketing experiences consumers are accustomed to on the web.
Mobile bar codes are increasingly gaining momentum and companies such as Toys R Us and Glamour are placing them on billboards and walls – providing consumers another way to shop their favorite products.
Although the technology is still emerging, it certainly has the opportunity to change the way consumers shop. Brands and marketers are beginning to see the potential of mobile bar codes and are using them in their marketing strategies.
“The immediacy of being able to purchase something you see advertised in a magazine or other out-of-home signage allows consumers to conveniently purchase the product on-the-spot, without having to search or step foot into a store,” said Nicole Skogg, CEO of SpyderLynk, New York .
“We believe that the use of mobile bar codes overall, especially mcommerce-enabled bar codes, will continue to grow as consumers become more familiar with the technology,” she said. “Adoption rates will also continue to grow as marketers think more strategically about the use of bar codes and become more focused on delivering value.
“Well-executed, mobile bar codes drive consumer consideration and help position a brand as relevant and enticing. Poorly executed mobile bar codes, at best, serve to frustrate consumers and, at worst, are ignored all together.”
On the go shopping
Last year, Toys R Us rolled out a virtual store that let consumers scan QR codes featured on billboards and shop the company’s 2011 Hot Toy List.
On-the-go commuters and travelers in the New York metro area were encouraged to take part in the initiative. The billboards were located in John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and nearly 40 NJ Transit Stations feature the showcased items (see story).
Most recently, Glamour unveiled its Apothecary Wall that features products from Unilever and Juicy Couture.
The Apothecary Wall has SpyderLynk Snaptags next to each product. Users are encouraged to download Glamour’s Friends & Fans iPhone app to scan the mobile bar code and buy the featured product right then and there.
“Placement is critical to success in adoption rates,” Ms. Skogg said. “One of our key messages to our clients is that the placement of a mobile bar code will drive usage.
“Engaged media such as magazines, email, online and street teams at events will drive higher response rates than passive media such as event displays and out-of-home signage like a billboard – which is typically passed by rather than viewed from a closer proximity while standing still, making it difficult for consumers to engage,” she said. “There are much more creative ways to deploy bar codes with the Apothecary Wall being an excellent example.
“Glamour’s innovative use of the Apothecary Wall allowed them to extend the reach of the magazine, while making it fun for consumers to shop on-the-spot. By recreating a shopping isle with a 2D design, the Apothecary Wall was intuitive, approachable and easy for consumers to interact with.”
There is an increase in the sophistication of mobile bar codes and their implementation compared to last year.
Brands and marketers are incorporating mobile bar codes across their entire marketing mix.
This comprehensive approach to mobile is giving marketers the ability to model, segment and better target consumers.
Mobile commerce-enabled mobile bar codes give retailers the opportunity to extend the reach of their bricks-and-mortar retail outlets.
“We are beginning to see mobile bar codes have an impact on the retail experience however, there is still much consumer education and awareness needed for mobile bar codes to really change the way consumers shop,” said Laura Marriott, CEO of NeoMedia Technologies, Boulder, CO.
“Many major global brands and retailers, such as Calvin Klein, McDonalds, Macy’s and Target, have helped to increase this awareness by taking advantage of the ability mobile bar codes provide to bring engagement and interactivity to a consumer’s experience with a brand,” she said.
“By simply scanning the mobile bar code, consumers can instantly access an unlimited amount of data on the brand and product of interest – from product information and reviews to special offers – but further integration with a brand or retailer’s existing loyalty, CRM or couponing implementations will also help to drive consumer uptake.”
According to Ms. Marriott, mobile bar codes provide an easy, instant means to connect with the brand.
“I believe we will see significant uptake of these services,” Ms. Marriott said. “Mobile bar codes still have a bit of the newness factor and are fun to engage with, which definitely also helps to drive interactions.
“And making the shopping experience even more accessible to consumers via mobile bar codes, is definitely a winning combination,” she said. “We do expect to see these types of initiatives becoming more commonplace in the next year, which will help consumers become more comfortable with using their mobile to scan and buy on the go.
“In 2012 we should expect to see a rise in mobile bar code scanning implementations resulting in greater consumer participation, expanded loyalty initiatives and an overall enhanced consumer experience when in-store – much more than a simple resolution to a Web URL. Coupled with this, we expect to see hardware solutions in retail support mobile bar code scanning on a much wider basis in 2012.”
Mobile bar codes make shoppers more intelligent wherever they may be.
Consumers access more relevant content based on what their specific interests.
Additionally, with mobile bar codes shoppers can now access product reviews and price comparisons via their mobile device. This allows them to make more informed decisions on the spot when making a purchase.
“We do see some customers getting more comfortable buying products on their mobile devices, but we are not at the mass adoption level yet,” said Mike Wehrs, CEO of Scanbuy, New York. “Thousands of people made purchases through our app over the holidays as they were scanning UPC codes from products, but there are many ways for retailers to harness that activity.
“Virtual shops are a growing phenomenon which can really enable someone to buy from anywhere,” he said.