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Innovations in mobile commerce sphere driving growth in 2013

Mar 25, 2013 Dave King

The payments sphere is in constant flux thanks to how quickly technology advances today. It wasn't too long ago that cash and checks were the sole options for consumers, and now mobile is one of the fastest-developing segments of in the payments realm. Some experts believe that 2013 will be the year that these transactions take hold, and their success is likely to be driven by a few major factors.

Impulse buys pay off
According to Wired Magazine, the way people are shopping is changing thanks to connected payment technologies. Impulse commerce, which the magazine said occurs when someone buys an item in a very short period of time, is becoming a popular option for busy consumers. While, traditionally, these purchases have only happened at the register, they can now occur online as well. An individual who just remembered he or she is almost out of cereal, for example, is now able to log into a mobile grocery store app and order more in less than a minute. This convenience has become an integral part of modern life, and merchants can support on the fly decision-making by developing better mobile commerce tools.

Wired pointed out that everyone benefits from impulse commerce. Ticket vending service StubHub experienced 500 percent growth in 2011 year over year in its mobile sales, and these increases may be attributable to impulse buys. Using the company's apps, fans are better able to clue in to last-minute deals, and are thus more inclined to buy when they may not have done so otherwise.

Mobile payments as an engagement tool
Merchants may wish to invest in constructing better loyalty apps that give consumers more incentive to impulse shop. Wired explained that mobile commerce allows businesses to engage with their patrons in new ways. For instance, a movie advertising company released an app to allow filmgoers to take quizzes during previews. Users could answer questions that appeared on the big screen with their smartphones, and earning points translated into deals on concessions, tickets and more. Not only would those using the program feel more engaged while waiting for their movie to start, they may also be more likely to buy tickets, even on a whim, for theaters that support the app.

Peripherals help more businesses offer electronic payments
Developing apps isn't the only way that companies can take advantage of the mobile commerce boom. Online Media Daily wrote that one of the major sources of current growth in the industry is in technologies that harness existing transactional infrastructure. Merchants looking to break into this field can use peripheral tools to enable mobile payments at the credit card terminal. The source cited a Gartner study, which estimated that around 35 million U.S. merchants who do not currently accept mobile transactions could do so by simply purchasing peripherals to turn a smartphone or tablet in a card reader.

Taking precautions
Of course, while mobile payments users should enjoy the newfound freedom that comes with using this technology, they should also be cautious and make solid decisions. Before connecting a credit card to an electronic payment tool, customers should do their research to determine if the companies they are working with have not only achieved compliance with PCI regulations, but that they have gone above and beyond to offer additional protections, including advanced authentication options.

While it may not be immediately apparent, vendors have a large stake in their patrons' credit health, which unsafe mobile payments technologies can jeopardize. In many cases, a poor consumer credit report can have an effect on families' purchasing decisions. Fraud related to electronic payments has the potential to damage consumer credit data, and when this indicator suffers, people tend to spend less or are rendered unable to make certain transactions. For businesses, this translates into reduced revenues. In order to make mobile payments work for them, merchants need to dedicate time and resources to data security.