Retail Therapy

Future of Mobile Payments
21 Jun 2013

Point Of Sale and mobile payments at present do not go hand in hand. Retailers seem to feel that there is perhaps too much technology to consider – cloud wallets, NFC, QR codes et al – to make it viable.


But clearly, with exceptions to the rule such as Starbucks showing, it is not about technological difficulties; it is about finding a solution for the customer, and making the most of an opportunity. Their Starbucks Card Mobile App, which allows customers to load a digital pre-paid card from an existing credit card, has processed more than 20 million mobile payments since roll out.


It allows consumers to pay at the register by waving their mobile at a scanner – just as you do with boarding passes for flights. It is easy for customers to understand and use, and it integrates their loyalty program, making it even more attractive to those inclined to use their mobile phones for transactions.


Banks, mobile network operators and equipment manufacturers are in the forefront of the mobile payments war, but there are great opportunities for retailers to come in under the radar and enjoy great success with point of sale payments. It is going a step beyond the ‘wave and pay’ system currently in place, and would mean the banishing of cash, and in fact the need to carry a wallet at all, as a pre-paid amount could be loaded onto an app, meaning money is secure and budgets adhered to.


Loyalty points for various retail outlets would be added at point of sale – as per the Starbucks model – to ensure that shoppers are attracted to one retailer over another. Apps would also mean the reduction of credit card transaction fees, meaning savings for retailers and consumers both. It also would provide retailers with historical data (once washed) of consumer spending habits and trends – a whole world of new information about their own consumers which previously they would have had to purchase through research companies.


It isn’t pie in the sky territory. It’s here – and it is an opportunity not to be laughed at.


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