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Buying gets urgent for mobile payments users

Apr 01, 2013 Dave King

Buying gets urgent for mobile payments users

Compared to mobile payments technologies, transactional tools such as credit, debit and ACH cards are beginning to seem out of date. While these were once some of the fastest and most convenient ways for people to make purchases, mobile may have them trumped. After all, once consumers have set up a mobile wallet or downloaded certain apps, they have the power to buy whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as a Wi-Fi connection is present. This kind of freedom is unprecedented, and it is altering the way many individuals using mobile payments make decisions. With increased connectivity has come a faster brand of commerce, and if businesses want to stay in the game, they must learn how to harness the potential of new purchase habits.

Wanting it now

While ecommerce via home computers may have been one of the earlier steps toward speedier shopping, mobile has accelerated that even further. According to Mobile Commerce Daily, the main reason that retailers involved in the mobile payments sphere must pay close attention to speed is that what consumers want now, they may not want in just a few minutes. The source gave the timely example of March Madness. Many consumers that may not watch sports any other time of the year often enjoy participating in these events with friends. They become invested in the excitement, and every time a team they like wins, they may consider buying a new piece of related clothing or memorabilia.

This may be a huge opportunity for retailers to increase revenues, but powered by super-convenient mobile technologies and the adrenaline of an exciting event, potential patrons are not going to wait around. The source noted that the purchases made at these specific times are considered impulse buys. In this case, they are precipitated by a specific event and empowered by the ability to make an instant purchase, driving droves of consumers to spend. At a sports venue, this might mean rushing to sales stands, but from an individual's home or a sports bar, it might mean picking up a smartphone.

Google's Mobile Ads blog noted that the window for making a mobile payment is relatively short. In fact, 55 percent of these transactions happen within the span of an hour. Additionally, nearly half - 45 percent - of mobile searches are conducted in order to make a decision, meaning that in the context of mobile commerce, convenience may play a big role in whether a person who is already considering spending money will actually go through with it.

"We see this immediacy effect with mobile because not only are people potentially closer in physical proximity to a purchase, but they're also closer to the crucial decision moments," Ben Chung, product marketing manager of mobile ads, wrote on the blog.

Retailers can make impulse buys, as well as mobile commerce in general, work to their advantage, but without careful consideration, they could miss opportunities. In a similar example, Mobile Commerce Daily noted that when the Baltimore Ravens won the super bowl, placed ads in the broadcast to bring consumers to their store. But when potential buyers logged on, they found that the site hadn't been optimized for mobile. The source explained that 61 percent of device users will leave a site immediately if they can't find what they want, so it's likely the vendor missed out on a large number of sales due to lack of preparation.

Where electronic payments like credit, debit and ACH cards are certainly convenient, using them in on mobile channels allows an even more fast-paced kind of buying. Merchants need to be aware that there are numerous opportunities for them to use the emerging culture of connected impulse buying to increase their profits and keep customers happy, but that if they don't invest in doing mobile payments well, they could lose out.