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Don't fall behind when it comes to mobile payments

Jun 10, 2013 Dave King

Don't fall behind when it comes to mobile payments

Today, it's difficult for retailers to deny that their mobile strategies can have a major impact on the success of their business. Now more than ever, consumers want options for how they use their credit, debit and ACH cards, and this includes making payments from their mobile devices. Especially as more companies develop the capability to accept mobile payments, it is critical for enterprises that want to remain competitive to recognize the value of presenting these options to their patrons. If they do so, they stand to increase revenues and widen their reach among consumers.

Get ready, get set

According to Finextra, many organizations are pointing toward the usefulness of mobile transaction technologies for businesses that want to set themselves apart from their peers. The source cited Forrester Research data that found 51 percent of merchants have attempted to implement mobile payments in the past, and this means that these technologies are likely to remain high on companies' priority lists throughout 2013. Whether it's by optimizing their payment tools and websites, aiming to implement innovative features or diving in for the first time, retailers are recognizing the need to step up their game.

But what are the real reasons for doing so? Finextra noted that when businesses integrate mobile payments, they give themselves an opportunity to leverage those technologies for a wide range of benefits. For instance, they may be able to harness the information gained through these electronic transactions to gain better insight into customer behaviors and needs, which can help the enterprise tailor its products and services to reflect consumers' desires. Launching a mobile payment app can give the company a chance to improve their loyalty offerings, which can lead to a greater number of purchases, as well as improve patrons' perceptions of the retailer. And of course, the news provider noted that savings should be another motivation for going mobile, as the tools tend to positively influence operating costs and processing time.

Big potential
For some retailers, though, the mounting data that suggests mobile payments are necessary tools for business advancement still aren't quite convincing. Even if companies might be able to see some advantages, they might wonder if there's enough demand for these tools to justify spending the time and money necessary to launch a mobile payment app. The answer, in short, is likely to be yes - eMarketer forecasts that by 2016, mobile payments will account for $62.24 billion in transactions in the United States.

The source added that the next few years will be characterized by some major consumer behaviors. "Light mobile payment users" will continue to break into the world of on-the-go transactions by making smaller purchases, and in the mean time, the amount of "heavy" users that buy with their devices on a regular basis will increase. Additionally, more people will begin to buy mid-priced items, including gas and meals, via these channels.

However, this shift can't occur until businesses and developers clue in to their needs. EMarketer explained that in order for more individuals to adopt mobile as their new electronic payment method of choice, platforms will need to be convenient enough to warrant repeated use, and shoppers must feel that they are receiving added value by not just reaching into their wallets for their credit, debit or ACH cards. Smartphone companies will have to address battery life issues - if users cannot depend on their gadgets to be ready when they need them, they in turn won't feel confident enough to rely chiefly on mobile payments. Security also remains an issue, as shoppers want to know that their transactions won't place them at undue risk for identity theft and as a result, problems with their consumer credit reports.