Jul 17, 2013 Dave King
Gaining a competitive edge is more difficult now than ever before for many enterprises. As more advanced technologies are introduced into this business world, companies must quickly and effectively adapt to change or risk becoming obsolete. For many firms, one area that is receiving significant attention is how to implement more modern and convenient payment technologies to provide customers with a more pleasant experience, thus driving loyalty and boosting revenue.
Thanks to emerging mobile transaction tools, consumers can link their credit, debit and ACH cards to a variety of apps and digital wallets to enjoy a simpler, more intuitive purchasing process. Many people around the world are already taking advantage of these options, leveraging their smartphones to buy the items they need quickly and easily. If businesses clue in to these desires and work toward harnessing this enthusiasm, they may see the impact on their bottom lines.
Adoption speeding up
According to V3.co.uk, even credit card companies are jumping on board with mobile payments. Visa in particular has been a strong advocate of these solutions, which was recently reconfirmed at a conference the news source attended. At the event, Visa stated that by the end of 2013, there will be more than 50 million contactless payments made each month across Europe. Adoption rates are being driven by an influx of phones that are enabled for near field communications (NFC), such as models from Samsung, which also come with tools such as Visa's PayWave technologies and Mobile Wallet services. One thing that may be holding many consumers around the globe back from making more purchases with their smartphones is the fact that they lack the right electronics for doing so.
"From our perspective, mobile is of enormous importance. By 2020, half our volume in Europe will be generated by a mobile phone," Sandra Alzetta, Visa head of mobile business, said at the conference, V3 reported. "Obviously we love plastic and it's worked very well for us but we have this focus on mobile because it means our customers have a device in their hands that is always on them and is personal to them."
Barriers to break
However, even as many European consumers appear to be keen on adopting mobile payments, a significant portion of American consumers are still hesitant to join this trend. This is a major challenge that companies in all industries will have to face as they attempt to deploy mobile apps and other technologies to improve the customer experience and better their overall results. Business 2 Community noted that there are several reasons that Americans still haven't fully embraced mobile, including the fact that many organizations have been slow to optimize the buying experience, a Gartner study cited by the source found. But on an optimistic note, Gartner emphasized that ecommerce was similarly slow to start, so the current reluctance can be overcome if companies work toward fulfilling clients' needs.
Another issue is that, in Intuit's estimation, America has been slow to get on the mobile payments bandwagon because the nation is so developed. Because consumers across the country have access to many effective banking systems, this makes them less likely to quickly adopt new financial solutions. Meanwhile, Intuit said that developing countries are faster to make use of mobile commerce because they lack those resources.
Additionally, security has proven to be a persistent worry. Americans are afraid that if their smartphones are lost, stolen or hacked, they may experience numerous repercussions, such as damage to their consumer credit scores. If a criminal were to gain access to an individual's sensitive data, they may be able to take out a fraudulent line of credit, and these problems can be costly and time-consuming to resolve.
There is a huge potential for mobile payments to drive loyalty and revenue for American businesses. However, success will depend on leaders' willingness to go the extra mile and deploy tools that offer clear added value and security.