News & Resources

Mixed signals coming in for mobile payments

Jun 10, 2013 Philip Burgess

Over the past several years, mobile payments have entered the collective conscious of American consumers and retailers alike. Like credit, debit and ACH cards before them, these new electronic transaction technologies have been faced with some challenges as merchants adjust their strategies to effectively leverage them for better bottom lines and greater customer convenience. While many indicators have suggested that mobile options will truly hit the mainstream, adoption may not be accelerating as quickly as expected.

Deployment dragging
According to Mobile Commerce Daily, a recent report from IHL Group found that while retailers still see emerging electronic payment methods as important, they expect to deploy them with less vigor this year than they did in 2012 {something's off} . In fact, 33 percent of retailers claimed they do not have plans to adopt mobile point-of-sale (POS) systems in the near future. The reason for this may be that merchants are coming to realize that enabling mobile transactions is a more involved process than they originally anticipated, especially since it isn't completely replacing traditional POS solutions.

"There has been a lot of hype around mobile completely eliminating POS mostly around some announcements from a few retailers, however, most retailers are taking an approach of utilizing mobile as an add-on to service and not a replacement," Greg Buzek, president of IHL Group, told the news provider. "At the same time retailers are using mobile as a way to rethink their entire omni-channel transaction processing, looking to move to a single business logic regardless of the channel in which the customer chooses to buy."

Buzek continued that another major challenge is that in this process of adopting mobile payments, many companies are faced with the need to rethink how they run their operation. He emphasized that this includes considerations such as how to handle payments, traffic flow and receipts going forward. Additionally, security can be an issue, as improperly implemented mobile payments platforms can open up users to a number of undesirable risks, such as identity theft, which can ultimately lead to damage to their consumer credit reports.

A success story
One reason that companies shouldn't be so quick to count out mobile payments is that many businesses that have implemented them have experienced strong results. In a separate article, Mobile Commerce Daily noted that major beverage chain Jamba Juice is planning on introducing its own branded mobile ordering and payment app following a successful pilot program.

The source explained that Jamba Juice's app, tested at a location in Emeryville, Ca., allowed customers to order and pay for their drinks remotely, even scheduling a pick-up time. This way, they didn't have to wait in line.

Jon Lawrence, director of product marketing at NCR Hospitality - a company helping Jamba Juice develop the payment tool - explained that for restaurateurs, the top priority should be controlling guests' experience. Mobile solutions provide a new way for food service establishments to cater to customer needs and streamline their visit, ensuring that every time they come in, they enjoy themselves. He added that according to the 2013 Restaurant Technology study, 62.2 percent of respondents said that online ordering was important to their business. However, only 31.9 percent had already implemented such solutions.

Customers have many options today, no matter what they're shopping for. For this reason, it is critical that enterprises in all industries consider what they can do to differentiate the experience shoppers get by choosing to be a patron at their establishment. Leveraging mobile payment solutions may be one way to offer the convenience consumers want, as long as leaders carefully deploy them to maximize ease of use and security.