Apr 10, 2013 Dave King
Retail executives have a lot to think about when it comes to sustaining a competitive edge. Among other responsibilities, they have to keep their businesses well-staffed and with inventory on the shelves, and as technology advances, more complex tasks are added to their plates. Payments may be one of a business' most important concerns - if consumers can't make purchases reliably, the chances that the company will succeed are slim to none. Now, mobile payments have been added to the transaction methods that enterprises have to be prepared to support, and many seem to be doing so enthusiastically.
Investing in mobile payments is a popular choice
According to Mobile Commerce Daily, a survey of 200 retail executives conducted by mobile technologies firm Artisan found that 56 percent of these individuals plan to increase their spending on mobile innovations. Among the respondents, 49 percent believed that mobile payments are set to experience more growth in 2013 than online payments. Seventy-one percent forecast that within the next one to three years, apps will be retailers' primary means of communication with their clientele.
"Marketers are expecting significant mobile commerce growth in 2013 and are therefore investing more in mobile, particularly native apps," Bob Moul, CEO of Artisan, Philadelphia, told the source. "This means that to stay competitive, marketers must ensure that they are providing an exceptional native app experience for their customers."
Moul added that mobile payments give retailers and marketing experts the opportunity to gain deep knowledge into consumers' behaviors, wants and needs. On one hand, this intelligence can be used to improve the apps themselves, but on the other, it can be utilized for more holistic improvement as well. Businesses will be able to easily tell what products are most popular, determine what kind of deals are bringing in new customers and identify patterns concerning when and how their patrons shop. This data can be leveraged to offer targeted promotions, stock more effectively and more.
In order to enjoy these benefits, Artisan found that that many retailers will likely be focusing developing native mobile apps, which 72 percent of those polled cited as one of their top priorities for 2013. Moul noted that strong app offerings address the changing way consumers shop. Increasingly, patrons do not simply enter a store, browse and choose an item - instead, they use their mobile phones both in store and at home to inform their purchase decisions. Sometimes, this may mean looking for a discount, and other times individuals may choose to shop around for the best deals or search for locations that have a specific item in stock. For retailers to continue to be competitive with stores that offer these capabilities, they need to develop their own useful apps and mobile loyalty programs.
But are mobile payments secure?
One aspect of mobile payments that should be a concern for retailers is security. Many consumers are cautious about trusting these technologies completely with their financial data, and these worries may be warranted. The American-Statesman pointed out that a recent NQ Mobile study found more than 65,000 malware threats were released in 2012 alone, a number that increased from just 24,000 in 2011. The source pointed out that while some experts are already confident their systems can offer adequate protection, others believe they are becoming the most popular target for hackers. If unauthorized individuals gain access to consumers' credit card information, this could wreak havoc on consumer credit reports.
Damage to patrons' consumer credit data has a ripple effect on the businesses at which they shop. Not only are individuals with poor credit less likely to spend in some cases, but they are also likely to be cautious of stores whose apps they were using at the time of the incident. Loss of reputation can be devastating to a business, so investing in the best mobile security technologies is key to protecting companies and their customers.