Although browsing the net for products seems like a sure-fire way to empty your wallet, studies show that when it comes to mobile payment, an increasing number of customers are also using their smart devices to buy products in-person.
Not so long ago, I explained why I believe that mobile payments could present a serious threat to big banks and credit card companies.
With such an assertion being echoed by IT gurus everywhere, it’s no surprise that many financial services providers are trying to buck up their technology to get ahead of the curve and retain their status as the preferred payment channels of customers everywhere.
Now, as mobile payments have become highly utilized by consumers across all demographics, we’re starting to see trends and themes in mobile payment’s application to the domain of retail. One of the more unexpected trends is the high frequency of mobile payments that are actually occurring in stores.
Even as businesses start moving their advertising efforts online, they have to be conscious of the rate at which in-store mobile payments are growing and cater to their customers accordingly — or risk losing out.
The Mobile Payment Data Doesn’t Lie
When online shopping started to take flight, businesses worried that foot traffic at their physical locations would lose out. It seems, however, that more and more customers are participating in “webrooming,” the act of researching products online and purchasing the item in-store.
Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru estimates that “webrooming will result in an estimated $1.8 trillion in sales by 2017,” according to Mobile Payments Today.
So even though people can surf the net from the comfort of their own homes, they still like to try on, inspect, and actually see the product in its tangible form before purchasing it. In this sense, stores have not yet gone out of style. That said, even as the physical act of shopping remains person-to-person, customers are increasingly turning to technology when it’s time to pay.
As Business Insider reports, “We forecast U.S. mobile payment volume to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 172%. Volume will rise to $818 billion by 2019, or just under 15% of total U.S. payment volume.” When they see stats like these, companies have to realize how important it is to be prepared for digital payment applications.
Use the Right Tool
In a follow-up article, Business Insider’s John Heggestuen further examines the impact of mobile payments on consumer behavior. “The sheer number of mobile wallets available or in the works from Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, CurrentC, Google Wallet, and others will drive mobile payment adoption as well,” he writes.
“Adoption will be self-reinforcing — the more consumers and retailers that use or offer mobile in-store payments, the more the behavior will catch on among others.”
Given these and other observed trends, retailers must be prepared to accept digital payment, even after bringing customers into their stores. There are many different types of systems that can be purchased, downloaded, or embedded into an app, according to Mobile Office.
Whether you purchase a Square reader, which scans credit cards and inputs the data into your mobile device, use Paypal, or, as the smart companies will do, build your own payment system like Starbucks, you must be prepared to accept payment in store, at the time of purchase. In this age of digitally-induced immediacy, shrugging your shoulders when a customer pulls out their iPhone just isn’t an option.